Jet Set Radio protagonist Beat will appear in the upcoming Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania as a playable character, Sega announced this morning.
Much like the rest of Super Monkey Ball’s simian cast, Beat is happily confined to a see-through sphere and rendered in an adorable chibi style as he rollicks through the game’s tilting environments. Banana Mania levels apparently change when he’s selected as well; the reveal trailer shows the game’s ubiquitous banana collectibles replaced with spray paint cans as an homage to Beat’s original, street graffiti-inspired franchise.
Sega’s announcement also notes that Beat will be available in the base release and unlockable through normal gameplay, no downloadable content necessary.
While beloved by its fanbase, Super Monkey Ball was on shaky ground following the 2012 release of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz for the PlayStation Vita. Sega’s balance-based platforming series went through a seven-year drought before 2019’s Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD remastered the Wii game of the same name, receiving praise for bucking the motion controls of the original.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania is meant to be a celebration of the franchise’s 20th birthday. It features over 300 stages and mini-games from the first three installments, all of which have been upgraded and reimagined in an all-new story mode, as well as new assist options like a jump button and slow motion.
“We’re thrilled to announce a new Super Monkey Ball at the same time as we celebrate the anniversary of this beloved series,” Sega creative director and Super Monkey Ball creator Toshihiro Nagoshi said when Banana Mania was first announced. “Everyone’s support, especially fans overseas, has been a big encouragement to the development team over the years. We can’t wait to reintroduce the rich world of Super Monkey Ball to a new audience.”
Beat is the only Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania guest character formally announced so far, but if official website leaks and teasers in previous trailers are anything to go by, he may eventually be joined by Sega mascots Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania launches for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, and Steam on October 5.