Brad says in his review that a sequel can't get a good score by serving up "more of the same." But despite his claims to the contrary, Super Monkey Ball 2 serves up what is essentially the same experience as the first game. Super Monkey Ball 2 doesn't reinvent the concept of rolling monkeys around in balls, and it doesn't have to. The additional 100+ levels and added features are considerably more inventive and challenging than the original, but that was exactly what I was expecting from a solid sequel.
But this goes to prove that developers don't need to be phenomenally original with a sequel to make it a good one. They simply have to identify the parts of the original game that made it good and replicate them while eliminating the frustrating parts. With a solid base like the original Super Monkey Ball to build from, the job is simple. Simply adding additional levels and mini-games that share in the same spirit as the first game is enough to make this sequel worthwhile.
Other than that, Brad's assessment of the main game seemed spot on. His point about the game's "phenomenally difficult" challenge is perhaps an understatement. Even with the unlimited tries afforded by the games story mode, it still took me over ten hours to beat the 100 one-player levels. There's a certain logical disconnection between the insane difficulty and the cutesy, nonsensical story. Perhaps Amusement Visions was trying to target kids whose reflexes grew up, but whose minds never did.
I disagreed with Brad on his assessment of many of the specific mini-games. Some of the mini-games he liked, such as Monkey Baseball, I didn't particularly care for, and some that he hated, such as Monkey Bowling, I absolutely loved. The beauty of Super Monkey Ball 2's secondary mode is the sheer variety of play experiences it provides. With so many different ways to play the game, almost all of which are at least well done technically, there are sure to be three or four that prove to be enjoyable for any group.
While not revolutionary, Super Monkey Ball 2 does everything that is expected of it and more. It improves the experience of the original game by extending it to its logical conclusion. It's too bad that more game developers can't do "more of the same" this well.
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