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Sega is making a new Super Monkey Ball game, and it looks pretty familiar.
The publisher revealed Super Monkey Ball Bounce yesterday in a debut trailer that shows off the new mobile game. Unlike previous entries, Bounce doesn’t have players rolling the primates around a surface to collect bananas. Instead, the iOS and Android game plays a lot like developer PopCap’s Peggle — the monkeys are still in balls, but players need to shoot them at pegs to clear a board. This is part of Sega’s larger strategy to generate more revenue from mobile.
Sega says that Bounce comes out “soon” for the Google Play and App Store markets.
Super Monkey Ball debuted in the arcade in 2001. It requires players to carefully shift the balance of entire stages to roll the balled-up monkeys to a goal. The series has seen a number of sequels for a variety of platforms since. In an apparent effort to maintain the relevancy of Super Monkey Ball, Sega is pairing up this classic franchise with the gameplay from Peggle, which was a popular 2007 PC title before going on to find even more success on iOS and Android.
Peggle, itself an evolution of pachinko gambling machines that are popular in Japan, has players firing tiny balls into a play field of pegs. Each time the ball makes contact with a peg, it disappears. Players need to hit a certain number of orange pieces to clear a stage and move on. While Super Monkey Ball Bounce is clearly going for something similar, it isn’t the first game to do so.
Last year, social-game developer King introduced Papa Pear Saga, which also has players trying to clear a play field of pegs. It’s one of King’s largest games, with nearly 5 million monthly active users on Facebook and mobile.
It’s common to see developers borrowing core gameplay elements like this. On mobile, surprise hits like Flappy Birds spawned countless imitators. This is also a practice you see in more traditional gaming circles. For years following the success of the 1993 first-person shooter Doom, players referred to all other FPS releases as “Doom clones.”
As for Sega, the company is attempting to generate more revenue from its mobile business. The company’s digital business made up a significant portion of its income last year, and that has it looking to release more on iOS and Android in 2014. It already has games like Sonic Dash (which is a lot like endless-runner Temple Run), Dragon Coins (which combines the monster collection of Puzzle & Dragons with those coin-dozer games from the arcade), and Sonic Jump (which plays like early mobile hit Doodle Jump).