I’ve decided to take on the unofficial mantle of the gaming journalist who cares the most about Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania. You can all get excited about your Deathloop or Forza Horizon 5, your Dying Light 2 or Halo Infinite, I’ll be over here getting hyped about a game with a monke trapped in a ball, forced to complete intricate puzzles in a set time limit before a narrator shouts at you for being too slow.
SEGA has been making waves recently, announced premium DLC guest characters that’ll be appearing in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, with the likes of Morgana from Persona 5, Suezo from Monster Rancher and Hello Kitty from pretty much everything all confirmed to be stuck inside the little sphere of doom. With all these crossovers, I’ve started thinking: who else would be funny to see in Super Monkey Ball? Here are some suggestions.
Literally, I just want Monkey Ball to rival Smash Bros. at this point.
1. Goro Majima
Definitely more of a personal pick here, but if Kazuma Kiryu can be featured in Super Monkey Ball, then why not Goro Majima? The one-eyed Mad Dog of Shimano, Majima looks like he’d love being launched at high speed while trapped inside of a ball. Plus, it’d put him one step closer to his favourite boy Kiryu. Remember: Majima is everywhere.
Goro Majima’s character design is one of the most iconic in the entire Yakuza series, arguably even better than Kiryu’s, and we’ve all seen how adorable the chibi version of Kiryu is inside a ball. Now I want to see Majima given the same treatment.
I’m cheating a little bit on this one, but Pac-Man could easily fit into the world of Super Monkey Ball. He’s already got the shape, after all. Perhaps the best part of the guest characters is how the bananas switch to match the character being added, and Pac-Man has some potential.
Swap the individual bananas for the little dots he eats, while the bunches (which are called “hands”, apparently) could be Pac Pallets. Once he eats a Pac Pellet, the bananas could become ghosts. So long as he makes the annoying “wakka-wakka” sound the entire time, I’m good.
3. The Prince From Katamari
Again, cheating a little bit, but Katamari is literally a game about rolling, so a crossover between that franchise and Super Monkey Ball seems like an obvious choice. Bonus points for if the King of All Cosmos chastises you for falling off the map or failing to reach the goal in time.
As for how this would be implemented, there’s two options. Either you stick the prince inside the ball in some kind of weird “now you know how the Katamari feels” moment, or you make the ball the Katamari and the Prince is rolling it as usual. Regardless, all the bananas should be replaced with weird objects and people just waiting to be rolled up.
4. Ape Escape Monkey
This idea is too adorable to pass up, honestly. SEGA might not want to get into the realm of console or platform exclusive guest characters (this isn’t Soulcalibur), but if they did, the monkeys from Ape Escape would be a perfect inclusion. Seriously, I’d love to see Ape Escape vs Super Monkey Ball in some weird crossover. Maybe at the Olympic Games, who knows?
The picture of the Ape Escape monkey, running around inside of a ball with the little siren on their head, is just wonderful. I’ve willed the idea into existence and now it needs to happen. Maybe the blue siren turns red when the time gets low, or Ape Escape main character Spike captures you if the time runs out.
5. Master Chief
If we’re doing PlayStation exclusives, we have to offer one for Xbox, and perhaps there’s no bigger mascot than the Master Chief himself. Originally, I would have said “Car” from Forza, just for the visual of a car trapped inside of a massive ball, but Master Chief is probably the less silly pick. Plus, he’s got a game to promote.
As for how he’d play, maybe the ball could take the shape of a plasma grenade, and all the bananas are replaced with grunts. Swap the music to the actual theme, and you’ve just turned Super Monkey Ball into a fever dream version of the Warthog Run from the end of Halo 3. Congratulations, I think.
6. Banjo-Kazooie (or Yooka-Laylee, the non-union equivalent)
While you might think that Banjo-Kazooie is another Xbox exclusive, due to being owned by Rare, his Smash Bros. appearance is proof that Xbox are okay with shipping their characters off to other properties if the opportunity is right. Personally, there’s no better opportunity than sticking that bear and bird in a ball and laughing about it. I mean, it’ll be better than Nuts & Bolts, right?
I can already see it happening. The music for Banjo-Kazooie is practically perfect for a game as eccentric as Super Monkey Ball, and you could just swap the bananas for musical notes. Failing that, Yooka-Laylee would also work, which is just the Banjo-Kazooie you have at home according to your mum.
7. Roblox Character Thingy
There’s no denying that Roblox is one of, if not the biggest game on offer right now, and if we want Super Monkey Ball to be better than Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for crossovers, this would be the pick. Gaming purists Twitter would probably hate it, but still.
Alright, I’ll level with you: I have no idea what this would look like or how to implement it, I just think it’d be funny to hear the “oof” sound every time you fall off the map. If SEGA can’t get Roblox, just throw in Minecraft Steve, and watch him grapple with the existential crisis of seeing a round curve. Actually, that might be funnier.
8. Doomguy & Isabelle
Nintendo, I haven’t forgotten about you, and what better way to represent the brand than by throwing Animal Crossing’s Isabelle into a ball and seeing what happens. Seriously, are they in the balls by choice, or is someone playing a sick, twisted game?
However, the internet fell in love with Isabelle pairing up with Doomguy after AC: New Horizons and DOOM Eternal dropped on the same day, so why not stick them together? The bananas could be a mix of Bells and Cacodemons, which is the kind of tonal whiplash I live for. Roll and tear, until it is done.
9. Mr. X/Nemesis
Circling back to making things look adorable, Resident Evil’s Mr X would be a hilarious option for Super Monkey Ball. Just imagine the way he stomps around in the remake of Resident Evil 2, but now he’s trapped inside of a ball? Also, he’s miniaturized and cute like Kiryu. I’d buy that for a dollar. Or 5.
While Mr. X is the connoisseur’s pick, there’s no denying that Nemesis is an infinitely more recognisable Resident Evil monster, and sticking him in a ball would be equally funny. In fact, go for the hat trick and add Jack Baker too. Make them all swappable costumes or something.
See, you thought this was just a silly article, but it was actually a distraction ploy. Representatives from SEGA have now entered your home, and they will kidnap, stuff you inside a giant ball and tell you to flawlessly complete level after level of life-size Super Monkey Ball.
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