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Published on April 10th, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor

Super Monkey Ball 3D Review

Platform: Nintendo3DS
Developer: Sega
MSRP: U.S. 39.99

What is more exciting than a primate going 40mph down a 40 degree slope? Well, if that lucky monkey is encased in a giant ball and hitting those kinds of speeds, now that’s exciting. Super Monkey Ball 3D is a puzzle/adventure title from Sega that brings the franchise of Super Monkey Ball to the Nintendo3DS. This is the first time that I have personally had the opportunity to delve into the world of AiAi and see what life is like from the inside of a huge pokéball look-a-like entrapment. The trip into the world of monkeys and balls was surprisingly entertaining. Whether it was the challenging Monkey Ball courses, or the speedways of the Sky-Way, Super Monkey Ball 3D provides players with all aspects of the new console and matches that with a polished look.

Monkey Ball Challenge

The first and most familiar of games included is the Monkey Ball Challenge. This mode entraps your primate of choice in a large ball while they must navigate the puzzle-some course to collect bananas hidden behind every turn. The courses change with each setting, giving players eight different climates and sceneries to explore.


The Circle Pad or Motion Sensor can be chosen before the start of each world.

While the levels vary in style, the variation in difficulty may not always reflect the same. One option that will you might find contributes to the level of difficulty, would be using the gyro while the 3D is enabled. It is a really great concept that would be more appropriate if the 3DS supported a wider range of visibility, but still achieves the notion of great use of the gyro during gameplay. When entering hilly, topsy-turvy, or even dangerously fast courses, if the 3D is enabled, it is almost impossible to keep your eyesight aligned to just the right area.

Monkey Race

The racing feature of the game brings players into a Mario Kart-esque racing style. There are plenty of power-ups and interactive obstacles to aid/hurt your position placing. Although the power-ups are effective, the obstacles are painfully slow and debilitating. In fact, they are so painful-that they make the racing section an almost anti-fun raceway experience. It was easy to make gain the much needed power-up, but if you were not terribly keen and polished up on your driving skills, it was almost frustrating.

At times it was easy to nail down the drifting and place in a decent spot, it was however difficult using the swivel pad. The most comfort was found in the directional pad, which gave familiarity and comfort when mashing through tough turns. While it is not as pleasing as many other racing titles, it does offer some variation in gameplay.

Monkey Fight

Get ready to throw on the gloves and pound your opposing primates. In this 2D arena style game, players must banana-cream their opponents in order to get their stash of yellow fruit. One of the first things that came to mind after playing through a few series of the fight challenge, was that Monkey Fight felt very similar to the Super Smash Bros. franchise. Things like the double jump and up/down smash melee had similar moves in SMB3D.

Other similarities include power-ups like the ‘Golden Barrel’, which hosts a special move specific to the character in use. This move is almost identical to the newly introduced “special moves” that you can find in Super Smash Bros Brawl. Even efforts chosen to break open the barrel create similarities. After playing through a couple of times, this easily became my second favorite out of the given activities.

Other similarities include things like knocking opponents off of the platforms. This sends them falling to their doom, that is-unless they can double jump and spear over to the nearest ledge. Even so, falling off of the platform only leaves your player to reappear via pirate ship cannon. Mash the A button to load them in a barrel and right back to the action. There are many variations in modes to this fight scene, but the most basic is the most bananas collected will become the overall pimp chimp. Sorry. My words, not theirs.

There are a few things that Super Monkey Ball did to create a great launch title. The games do more than enough to showcase the many talents of the console. During stages like Banananightmare, there are ghosts flying towards the screen and give it an immersive feel. Not only do they create the “spooky” atmosphere, but they make great use of the 3D abilities.

While it was a definite leg up and a great game to portray the capabilities, it was also this same feature which grounded the title in the same respect. As mentioned before, playing with the gyroscope on during Monkey Ball challenges was very difficult to keep the 3DS in just the right angle. Although this is true, it was equally fun to play with the 3D off and simply moving the console.

Final Truth:

Super Monkey Ball 3D was an overall pleasing launch title. It showcased the many capabilities of the Nintendo3DS and despite the underperforming racing aspect of the game; it was relatively fun to play. The only local-multiplayer to date via download and play, but games like the Monkey Fight would have been a shoe in for an awesome online experience with friends. The full use of the gyroscope and the 3D element to the game worked out well, but not necessarily together. Also, the Circle Pad is extremely well showcased and works great. While it was not mentioned in any other place, the sound in the game is some of the best seen on the 3DS to date. There were also plenty of collectibles and unlockable characters to keep players coming back for more. If you are a fan of the series, or a die hard Sega fan, it would be an easy choice.

[xrr label=”Rating: 7.75/10″ rating=7.75/10]

+Challenging
+Sound
+Unlockables/Collectables
Racing Feature
Online Multiplayer
Online Leaderboards

Miss the trailer? Check it out here!

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About the Author

I am Greg, aka LaWiiG. Thanks for coming to take a look around! Retro is the way to go! Do yourself a favor and show love by playing retro games.



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