The next entry in Sega's Super Monkey Ball series is not a frantic game of tilt and tumble. Unlike other entries in the venerable arcade franchise, players don't steer monkeys trapped inside plastic spheres. Super Monkey Ball Bounce, coming to Android and iOS this summer, is essentially Peggle.
Super Monkey Ball Bounce, Sega Mobile reps say, is a puzzle game inspired by pachinko. But its Peggle influence is undeniable. Players aim a cannon at the top of the screen, firing their monkey ball downward in an effort to clear a field of pegs. There's a satisfying (but very familiar) thrill when careful aiming and random bouncing come together for combos and high scores.
Super Monkey Ball Bounce even borrows Peggle's zoom-in feature, magnifying that final shot that could win you the game — or miss by a few pixels.
Each of the game's monkeys, including series stalwarts AiAi, MeeMee, Baby and GonGon, has his or her own special skill that can help them more efficiently clear the board, just like Peggle's Masters. AiAi's skill shot, for example, is an indicator that will show where your monkey ball will bounce after it hits its first peg. GonGon has a smashball that plows through pegs and YanYan can fire two monkey balls at once.
Where Super Monkey Ball Bounce differentiates itself from Peggle is in its boss battles. Players will contend with enemy characters, in the employ of "the dastardly Prof. Boscis," who sit at the bottom of the playfield. Your monkey ball aiming skills are tasked with crushing those bosses with limited ammunition, something I failed to do during my first hands-on attempt. Players can also collect bananas that spawn on the playfield for bonus multipliers.
Sega is releasing Super Monkey Ball Bounce as a free download this summer. The free-to-play game features an energy-like mechanic that refills your available life meter over time, but players can speed that up with in-game purchases. Super Monkey Ball Bounce's content appears to be robust, packing in 120 levels of peg-smashing, monkey ball-launching action.