I’ve got monkeys rolling about in my 3DS.
Go bananas with Super Monkey Ball 3D on Nintendo 3DS as this title takes the lovable and cute monkeys across three game modes; Monkey Ball, Monkey Race and Monkey fight. The objective of Super Monkey Ball 3D hasn’t drastically changed as you roll your monkey encased in a transparent ball collecting bright yellow bananas.
From single play you can select from a variety of monkeys, including AiAi, MeeMee, Baby and GonGon, which are the familiar characters from past Super Monkey Ball games. You’ll have to roll your way through eight challenging themed worlds which comprise of ten levels in each.
Players can use the circle pad or the motion sensor for gameplay and I chose the circle pad as it seemed the easier of the two. The player controls the floor on which the Monkey Ball is sitting and by tilting the Circle Pad, or 3DS with the Gyrometer control method, the floor will tilt, causing the Monkey Ball to start rolling. The game is very simple as you roll your monkey in the ball around each level, which you will need to complete within the sixty seconds time limit, gathering as many bananas as possible with gravity being your only enemy. By collecting all of the bananas players can earn 1up’s or even extra points, but if you roll off the floor it’s a ‘fallout’ and you’ll lose a life. Players can even save their replay’s to watch at a later date, if you want a reminder of how well you progressed through a certain level.
In your first journey, you’ll roll out to Monkey Island with it’s mystical forest where ancient ruins sleep. On this level you’re introduced to a palm tree island filled with totem poles and upbeat tropical music in the background. It’s an early stage where you won’t need to roll your monkey ball far in order to reach the goal. If you’re successful, you will have the chance to play out the bonus stage in which you must try and collect all the bananas to gain a perfect score.
Super Monkey Ball visits a mystifying Arabian palace next, which is filled with red flying carpets and genies that pop out of lamps overhead. Players will carefully have to maneuver their ball past obstacles that lay in their path. These can be stumps that twang your monkey ball at full pelt on impact. Other times you’ll be steering your ball up and down slopes and weaving in and out of areas trying to avoid slipping off the edge, which is really easy to do in this game, no matter how much control you think you have.
Roll in and out of the sweet fountain which is a place filled with mouth watering candy canes, pastel sweets, iced doughnuts and an assortment of diced fruit. Working your way through this section you’ll begin to notice as you cross the chocolate bar level that it’s becoming a bit of a zig zag journey to the goal and not every entrance will take you to your final destination. It’s beginning to feel a little puzzling as that extra pressure by the timer clock counts down.
Keep your wits about you in Banana nightmare as you encounter spooky ghosts that float through the air and haunt you, witches cauldrons blowing out green bubbles and giant pumpkins staring back at you. Getting through this world is a little more challenging as golden sand has been introduced on the floor that will stop you in your tracks and see your monkey ball going from rapidly fast to the pace of a snail. Avoid it if you can.
Players will be able to gather up to 16 cute collectibles, such as arabian bananas, or event icons, such as world challenger, but you’ll need to keep your eyes open to find them all.
Kick your monkey ball into gear and slam on the accelerator in Monkey Race. You can choose from Grand Prix, Quick Race and Time Trial in a selection of brightly coloured vehicles with different strengths such as speed and acceleration or steering and drift. At this point it very much feels like Mario Kart and I’m appreciating how responsive my vehicle is whilst driving around the track. Whoever scores the most points across all circuit tracks; Monkey Park, Mt Tyrano and Sky Way, will be the winner in Grand Prix. Steering is controlled by the circle or d-pad, using the A button to throttle and B button to brake. Players will be racing against the other coms and racing through archways which activate items to use against your opponents. These items include racing in a giant monkey ball or throwing banana skins on the floor to send the other racers spinning out of control. Chevrons on the floor will send you screaming along the track for a short while if driven over. Come first to third and you’ll unlock plenty of new vehicles to choose from. I’ve really enjoyed the racing mainly because it’s very reminiscent of Mario Kart and despite coming off the corners several times, the thrill of racing around and causing damage to the other coms is great. This mode offers a nice selection of different tracks which are filled with great backgrounds and upbeat tunes.
Is your monkey strong enough for a boxing match? Get your boxing gloves on for Monkey Fight as you battle it out in three levels against three AI opponents. Using your monkey ball fists you’ll have to attack rivals in the hope they drop their bananas, while trying to avoid holes and obstacles. The player with the most bananas wins the match. Using a selection of combo attacks and blast attacks will send your opponent flying. If however, you fall off the stage or are blown away, you’ll be sent back to the match in a barrel. At the end of the day, it’s about who can grab the most bananas in the time limit. In versus mode, the host selects their monkey character and can have up to three guests to fight against.
Super Monkey Ball 3D is enjoyable to play, offering a nice variety of gameplay modes, collectibles and unlockables. The game felt responsive with the circle pad and the cute sprites are pleasing to the eye. Although Super Monkey 3D offers very little by way of innovation, the gameplay remains solid and fun. The Super Monkey balls games will always remain a firm favourite amongst fans who have followed the series through the years and SEGA have done a good job at producing a finely balanced game without going bananas.
Playing Super Monkey 3D with the full 3D effect in reality seemed like a good idea, but unfortunately it’s fast paced motion sent me spinning like a monkey on a banana skin. To be honest I could hardly play the game in 3D due to the strong wooziness I felt when trying to guide my ball around the levels. In 3D you can feel the full effect of racing up and down slopes that come towards you, but would you really want to. I personally found that playing Super Monkey Ball in 2D adequate enough, without feeling too disappointed.