SEGA, onetime arch-rival to Nintendo, largely focuses on its proven, lucrative IPs these days, such as Sonic, Yakuza and Football Manager. However, the company also bears an impressive backlog of cherished titles. Many of these classics are re-released through initiatives such as the SEGA Forever mobile service or the forthcoming SEGA Genesis replica, but many rarely receive new installments. SEGA does see value in their legacy series, however; back in May 2017, SEGA confirmed their interest in reviving legacy IPs, a sentiment that was echoed upon SEGA Forever’s launch. Yesterday, SEGA formally announced the return of one of their older franchises through Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, a high-definition re-release of one of the series’ less acclaimed entries.
Originally released for the Wii in 2006, Banana Blitz sees our heroes’ precious golden banana hoard stolen by a new antagonist. AiAi and his friends aren’t willing to let a thief abscond with their potassium-rich treasure, however, and the group chased him across 100 levels of ball-rolling action. 50 mini-games were included too, among other features. Banana Blitz garnered a lukewarm reception upon its initial release, although perhaps this time it’ll fair better; the Wii Remote’s motion controls were critiqued for being an imperfect control setup for Monkey Ball‘s gameplay (as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it’s an imperfect setup for a lot things, including SEGA’s own NiGHTS).
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD will be released on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 29 for $39.99. It will come to PC through Steam during the winter season, though a price for that iteration of the game has not yet been announced. As detonated by the “HD” addendum in its name, the platformer will be refurbished with a visual makeover. SEGA also confirmed through a press release that it’ll score “optimized control schemes for each platform, a brand-new mini-game Decathalon mode where you complete a set of 10 mini-games in a row, and online leaderboards.” (Seeing the comment about “optimized control schemes” makes me wonder if the Switch version will emulate the Wii controls though its Joy-Con controllers. If so, the Switch release of Banana Blitz won’t be a perfect match for the recently-announced Switch Lite.)