As a bit of an elaboration, I would like to second the fact that Super Monkey Ball 2 has a plot. And what a plot.
I swear, after I saw the first couple of videos that the game rewards you with after beating every 10 levels in Story Mode, I thought it was a huge joke. Now, I find myself looking forward to the rhyme that ends with: "Magical Spell is Ei-Ei-Poo!" Yes. I'm serious.
Okay, here's the run-down of the plot (including prologue alluded to in the Instruction Manual):
Aiai and Meemee, good friends now, are surprised to meet Baby. Baby comes from the future, to save them! Apparantly, the evil Dr. BAD-BOON in the future wanted to marry Meemee, but since she is married to Aiai and has mothered a child (Baby), Dr. BAD-BOON travels back in time to snatch her away before they can get married.
Dr. BAD-BOON comes in a big airship with an Igor-like sidekick, and takes all the monkey village's bananas, promising to return them if only Meemee will marry him. Otherwise, he will do whatever it takes to make the monkeys' life difficult. Volia, a character franchise is born.
Anyways, in Story Mode, the videos that serve as a reward for getting to the next world all follow a similar pattern:
- Aiai and company get Dr. BAD-BOON, and lecture him on the error of his ways. ("If you take all the bananas, they will hate you even more!")
- Some perversely bizarre plot twist involves Dr. BAD-BOON getting away or winning (Swallowed by a Giant Whale, Shrink ray)
- Monkeys, now in their balls, resolve to get Dr. BAD-BOON with a chant.
- Monkeys pursue the evil Dr. BAD-BOON, entering the next world.
The single most entertaining part is the chant. Just about in every movie, the scene cuts to the four monkeys (Aiai, Meemee, Baby, and Gongon) inside their balls, pumping their arms up and down in excitement, as a rainbow-background flys past in the background (think Sailor-Moon transformation scene). They chant some horridly translated spirit-inducing song, putting ZeroWing to shame (almost).
Wash your hair with
Let us co-operate. Yeah-yeah-woo!
Magical spell is Ei-Ei-Poo!
Every chant ends with the same line, and I tell you, it never gets old.
That set aside, it's a great game, all the mini-games are great fun. The music is catchy, the sound is all right, the backgrounds are very pretty.
There is a definite shift in the style of the levels from Super Monkey Ball, from high-skill precision to timing-based, knowing-the-button-to-press puzzles. The main difference is that often when you 'get' a level, you can breeze through it with few difficulties. You do get unlimited lives in Story Mode though, but you don't get all the 'bonus' levels.