Super Monkey Ball 2 for IPhone

Super Monkey Ball was one of the first games to hit the App Store back in August 2008. The game was a huge success even though it fell well short of expectations. Players complained about the overly sensitive controls, the lack of 3-D graphics, and the game's tendancy to crash. But with Super Monkey Ball 2, Sega finally delivers a fun monkey-rolling experience for the iPhone.

In Super Monkey Ball 2, the goal is to safely guide your monkey character through perilous platforms towards a finish line. Falling off the edge or running out of time results in a lost life; once you run out of lives, it's game over. The simple premise of the game belies how much fun you'll have playing it.  The Super Monkey Ball franchise has always been about adorable characters and heinous difficulty levels. With Super Monkey Ball 2, you'll be on the edge of your seat as you guide your monkey  dangerously close to falling off the track, only to reach the goal with the skin of your teeth.

The accelerometer tilt controls are leaps better than they were with the first Super Monkey Ball. This time, Sega has come up with the perfect amount of sensitivity and responsiveness; after only a few minutes of playing you'll develop a good feel for the controls. You guide your monkey by tilting the environment and causing him to roll in the desired direction towards the goal at the end of the platform. Completing all the levels in a particular world unlocks the next one for you to play. The further you get in the game, the more complex and challenging the platforms get--ramps, bumpers, moving parts, twists and turns all stand in your way to success. Each platform has a number of bananas to collect and for every ten you rack up, you get an extra life. You can even save a replay of your last run to watch later by tapping the little camera icon at the bottom of the screen.

Super Monkey Ball 2 has 115 levels spread across 5 uniquely themed worlds involving pirate ships, jungles, swamps and more. In addition to the unlockable levels, Super Monkey Ball 2 offers mini games to play in single player mode or against fiends online. For now, only monkey bowling is available but two other mini games will soon be released in a free update--monkey golf and monkey target.  All the colorful environments are beautifully rendered in 3D and look great. The game also includes an upbeat soundtrack and cheerful sound effects that add to its overall charm.

Aside from the vastly improved controls, the best addition to Super Monkey Ball 2 is the Wi-Fi multi-player mode. You and up to three of your friends can race against each other on any of the 115 platforms that have been unlocked through regular play. I have to admit that Super Monkey Ball 2 delivered some of the most fun multi-player moments I've had on the iPhone so far.

Super Monkey Ball 2 is everything you wanted the first one to be and more. The updated graphics, perfect controls and Wi-Fi multi-player mode make this Super Monkey Ball one of the most addictive and compelling titles out there.

[Tim Mercer is a technology enthusiast, graphic designer, and blogger, whose blog, digital-artist-toolbox.com, offers free resources to the digital artist and graphic designer.]

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