2021 is a great year for Super Monkey Ball fans. The original game launched in 2001 in arcades and on the Nintendo Gamecube, so to mark the 20th anniversary of Sega’s chaotic puzzle series, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has put together a blockbuster remaster package. Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania delivers all of the series’ best levels in one polished bundle. It combines missions from Super Monkey Ball, Super Monkey Ball 2 and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, with plenty of party games and extra features in tow. Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania characters include a number of new and returning playable critters, which we’re going to run through over the course of this guide. If you were wondering which iconic Sega protagonists and mischievous monkeys made the cut, you’ve come to the right place.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Characters: Main Cast
When players boot up Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania for the first time, they will already have a few characters unlocked to play with. You’ll be prompted to swap and change between them when you kick off any campaign from the main menu.
AiAi, MeeMee and Baby
AiAi is the iconic protagonist of Super Monkey Ball; a friendly and fearless monkey who isn’t afraid of hurtling towards any goal. His wife MeeMee has appeared in most games in the series, and sports a flower, skirt and lighter hair than AiAi. Baby is the child of AiAi and MeeMee, and is a time-travelling, dummy-toting little dude.
Best of the rest
Aside from the series protagonist AiAi and his family, there are a number of other characters you may be familiar with. There’s GonGon, a rough-and-tumble monkey who acts as something of a rival to AiAi, as well as YanYan, a pigtailed monkey who appeared in Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD. Doctor is the final character that is unlocked from the start, a long-sleeved moustached monkey who also made his debut in Banana Blitz.
Beyond the main cast, players can head to the Point Shop from the main menu to unlock more characters with the coins they will earn from simply playing the game and completing challenges. There are a number of variant Super Monkey Ball characters like Jam and Jet, who cost 5000 coins each. Then there are a number of costumed versions of Super Monkey Ball characters like C. AiAi, W. MeeMee, A. Baby, F. GonGon, P. YanYan, R. Doctor and Baby Robo, which all cost 3000 coins each.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania: Unlockable characters
Here’s where it gets interesting; you can also unlock a number of Sega cameo characters for 5000 coins a pop.
Sonic and Tails
Sonic the Hedgehog is Sega’s primary mascot – a hedgehog speedster that has appeared in countless Sonic games since his 1991 debut. When you play as Sonic in Super Monkey Ball, the collectables change to golden rings, an homage to Sonic’s conventional collectibles. Miles “Tails” Prower is Sonic’s sidekick; a perennial ally and a bright yellow-orange fox who can fly by spinning both his tails rapidly. Tails first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, all the way back in 1992. Like Sonic, the in-game collectables will change to rings from bananas when you play as Tails.
Another Super Monkey Ball character from the Sega vaults is Kazuma Kiryu from the Yakuza Series. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, who developed Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania, is also responsible for the Yakuza series, which is why the collaboration makes so much sense. Kiryu first appeared in Yakuza (2005). When you play as Kiryu in his fancy suit, the collectables will change to health drinks, homaging the way you heal in the Yakuza games.
Sega’s long-dormant Jet Set Radio series also gets some love in Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania. If you unlock Beat, you’ll be able to play as the rollerblading legend, trapped in a gachapon capsule. The in-game collectables will change to graffiti cans which pay homage to the Jet Set Radio series, which is all about tagging walls while pulling off sick grinds.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Characters: Future DLC
If you’re a real Sega fan, you can also buy the Sega Legends Pack to play as dinky versions of the Sega Dreamcast, Sega Saturn and Sega Game Gear. Post-launch DLC is also planned, with Hello Kitty coming to the game as part of a character pack, as well as Suezo from Monster Hunter and Morgana, the sidekick kitty from Persona 5.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.