North American cover art
Smart Ball is an action-adventure game developed by Game Freak and System Sacom and released by Epic/Sony Records and Sony Imagesoft for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991. It is known as Jelly Boy (ジェリーボーイ?) in Japan. A sequel titled Jelly Boy 2 (ジェリーボーイ2?) was in production, but was never actually released.
In that incarnation, the player plays as a little jelly bean with eyes, named Jerry, traveling across a grassy landscape. The game has graphics and terrain that are characterized as cartoony and cute, which attracts younger players.
The player is able to defend Jerry or attack enemies by controlling certain physical characteristics of Jerry, such as flattening or stretching his body in order to hit enemies, or by finding objects, such as balls, to throw at enemies. The player can also run by pressing the Y button on the controller. Jerry has the ability to stick to walls and ceilings activated by holding down the Y button as he jumps towards them, adding an advantage over Jerry's enemies. The player advances through each level along a filmstrip map, and can revisit previously-completed levels by "rewinding" the filmstrip. Each level is a romp up and down hills, jumping between platforms, and squeezing through pipes. Scattered around each level are a number of plants that open up to reveal balls, power-ups, 1ups, seeds and jumping enhancers. Similar to Donkey Kong Country, the player must collect letters that spell "JERRY" in each level. Collecting them all will give the player two extra lives.
A young boy named Jerry was a prince and ruler of a kingdom but has been transformed into a blob by a mysterious witch at the behest of his jealous brother, Tom, who has a crush on the young princess Emi.
Sony removed the entire storyline from the game, as well as all the towns in levels, in the North American version. However, the English translation patch of the Japanese version with scenes is playable on an emulator.
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Sony Music Entertainment Japan planned to release the sequel in 1994, however it was canceled. The developer was Game Freak: Satoshi Tajiri was the supervisor, Ken Sugimori the character designer, and Yoshinori Sunahara the music composer.
The game was to be released about three years later and was slated for a Japan-only release, but it was cancelled at the last minute. Sony may have been responsible for the cancelation. The company were to help publish the game as well as having helped publish the original, but due to a strain between Nintendo and Sony around the time of the game's release and Sony moving on to their own system at the time, the PlayStation, the game was cancelled as a result.
In the proposed sequel, the player would take control of one of a large number of different playable characters, each with a unique special ability. The game would have also featured an updated engine allowing for larger gameplay and enemy variety. Despite the cancellation, Smart Ball was not the last Game Freak game to be published by Sony. The last Game Freak game published by Sony was Click Medic for PlayStation, which was published in 1999.
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- GamePro issue 25 (August 1991), page 30.