Monkeys trapped in balls is incredibly cruel and it’s been happening for many years now! Such acts as forcing them through mazes, fighting each other and throwing them off a launch pad so they land on targets at sea have been some of the acts on offer, and apart from when the occasional monkey falls at sea, they seem to love it! Maybe those smiles are forced by safety pins or false dentures, it’s best not to think about. This time monkey torture is in 3D.
Super Monkey Ball 3D is the same old song and dance. Three modes on offer this time with Monkey Ball, Monkey Race and Monkey Fight, but we’ve seen them all in some form before. Race and Fight sit on the menu screen by Ball, as if they are just as important. Back in the day they’d be tucked under mini games with a few more to go round, content feels light from the off. Still when you crunch numbers you have eighty Ball levels with two control modes, nine race tracks across three Grand Prix’s with time trials and three fight stages across six different game types. Throw in sixteen characters with sixteen cars and things start to look a little fatter. A shame the game doesn’t do any of the three modes incredibly well.
Ball mode up first, and is the best of three modes on offer. You pick one of four monkeys (the original four, not those reject new designs that popped up since the wii) and go through eight worlds of ten stages each, collecting bananas and reaching the goal before the time runs out. You can play with either the circle pad or motion controls here, and both offer a great deal of fun thanks to the feel of control you get with these options. Circle pad mode is the one to go for first so you can learn the levels and enjoy the amazing pop out 3D, while motion control should come after, as 3D won’t work when you’re tilting the console and the challenge is higher. Challenge is perhaps setting the game up as being like the Monkey Ball games of old, not the case. Levels are full of barriers to stop you falling and most of the challenge comes from dodging bumpers scattered across the tracks. All eighty stages can be completed with little struggle and the only difficulty comes from trying to obtain the medal for collecting all the bananas in each world. It seems the levels have been designed with the motion controls in mind. The game still offers thrills with pipe stages and it’s always fun to play, despite the lack of trouble completing the thing.
Race and Fight, the two bonus modes are average at best. First we have Race, a cheap Mario Kart clone. Then we have Fight, a cheap Smash Bros clone. Both are shameless and both probably won’t be played after the first few tries. Race has you driving around nine tracks against other racers, collecting power ups and drifting around turns. The levels at fairgrounds, dinosaur mountains and floating motorways look really nice, especially with the car popping out of the screen and the course stretching out into the distance in 3D, but the power ups are annoying as they stop you in your tracks for far too long, and the drift is rubbish. You can only drift when driving fast and doing it bounces you off into the distance with a boost, sometimes. I never quite figured out how to make the drift boost my character every time and it all seemed a bit random. Fight is just boring chaos as you compete for the most bananas in a side on arena. Characters move far too slow and the only fun comes out of getting the special power from the golden barrel which sometimes appears. And flying from a pirate ship in 3D.
Super Monkey Ball 3D then is all mixed up. Two modes that could have been cut in place of a bigger main mode which is too easy. Still, I had great fun playing the maze levels with the different control options and the 3D is some of the best I’ve seen. A super difficult sequel with 3D Monkey Target next, please.