What do you get when you combine an early 90s 2.5D shooter with an early 2000s casual physics game? Hell if I know, I don’t think it’s ever been done before. At least it hadn’t, until developer Nickireda made Return to Castle Monkey Ball. It’s a web-based mashup you can play in your browser, right now.
The game takes the fantasy-horror WW2 levels and enemies of Id Software’s Wolfenstein 3D, and overlays the ball-rolling-and-smashing gameplay of SEGA’s Super Monkey Ball, which debuted on the Gamecube in 2001. So instead of shooting pixelated Nazis, you pulverize their shins as you roll along in a transparent hamster ball. The goal is to roll your way through the maze-like stages to find the goal, but you can earn extra points by picking up bananas and lower the timer clock by smacking into Nazis fast enough to kill them. Use the mini-map to find your way around.
Return to Castle Monkey Ball is free to play online via the popular Itch.Io platform, and you can control it with just WASD keys, a la Marble Madness. Sadly it won’t run on mobile devices … maybe someone could get it working with an gyroscope?