Super Monkey Ball mastermind Toshihiro Nagoshi has been promoted to Chief Creative Officer, Sega has announced.
You can tell a videogame is good when you find yourself playing it in bed. Not on a handheld, but in your head. When you close your eyes at night and all you can see is falling blocks or twinkling jewels, you know you're on to a winner.
Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll is not much good at all. It's barely playable, in some regards. In others it's moderately entertaining, but it never reaches the heights of the classic Monkey Balls - the ones which were all about precision control, fiendish level design and funky mini-games. So how come I see it in my head at night?
Because what I see isn't endless ramps and big bananas and sweeping blue skies. I see a nightmarish vision of Aiai, dancing. Instead of a t-shirt he sports a stained velvet waistcoat. His trademark quiff is trapped beneath a brocade pillbox hat. His fur is matted and patchy, his eyes glazed and soulless. And yet he keeps on dancing, while a giant blue hedgehog with a razor-sharp grip turns the handle on the organ.
Within the first few minutes of the Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll presentation at SEGA's latest press event, we learn three disappointing facts. Firstly, it turns out the subtitle on the press release is easily misread and you don't get to play as H, Claire, Lisa, Faye or the other one after all. Secondly, the game does not feature Bubbles as an unlockable character, despite the fact he must be free to make his own career choices now. Thirdly, SEGA isn't going to let us play Step and Roll today. Instead we'll be given a short demo by a man from the marketing department.
Remember that SEGA mystery game teaser site? It turns out that it was for Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll, which has just been announced.
It's due out in "early 2010" according to the trailer released alongside it today, in which AiAi can be seen playing around with a balance board, which he quickly discovers can be used to tilt the world.
There's no word on a developer, although SEGA Japan is a safe bet, and the trailer also doesn't mention whether the game requires the balance board to work, although we'd be very surprised if it didn't allow for Wii remote control as an alternative.