Super Monkey Ball has come to the 3DS where you can join AiAi and his friends as you rock, roll and tilt your way through a 3D obstacle course.
It's a simple and well-known truth that none of the Super Monkey Ball games have quite lived up to the standards of the original. Super Monkey Ball 3D comes the closest yet. While it isn't quite up to par, the action/puzzle game is still fun to play, and makes excellent use of the 3DS and its 3D capabilities. Gameplay is as good as ever (and extremely addictive), and with 80 levels and multiple modes you're bound to be entertained for a while. Although the graphics for the game aren't the best you'll see, they fit the silly nature of the game and don't detract from the overall experience.
If you've never played the original Super Monkey Ball, you've missed out but Super Monkey Ball 3D might fill that missing gap. Gameplay is based on simple concepts; you tilt the world to move your monkey (conveniently in a ball for ease of rolling) through the puzzle, being careful to gather all the bananas you can and avoid falling off the edge of the platform on the way to the goal. There are 80 different levels to play on, and because the same levels can be appealing again and again, one of the selling features of this game is the replay value.
The only gameplay downsides are the extra modes. Named Monkey Race and Monkey Fight, they were summed up quite cleanly by Audrey Drake of IGN, who wrote them off as knockoffs to Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. respectively. Monkey Fight is more a game of luck than anything, and although Monkey Race is marginally better, neither is a great experience and they don't add to the game's quality.
Graphics on the 3DS are pretty good. Especially noteworthy about this game is the 3D effect, which is actually worth having on. Using the 3D gives the game an amazing level of depth and clarity, and that coupled with the left circle gives you ease-of-control like never before in the series. While the rest of the graphics for the game aren't anything spectacular, they don't take away from what is a positive visual experience.
Super Monkey Ball 3D was scored a mid-range 55/100 on Metacritic's aggregation of professional reviews, and only a 48/100 based on user reviews. Despite this, sales of the game were good. IGN scored the game a positive 7.5/10.
Overall, it's hard to find fault with Super Monkey Ball 3D on any one issue. Players complain about the lack of a story mode, but if you enjoy action puzzle games and think it'd be fun to play with a monkey in a ball, and let's face it who doesn't, this one is for you. Without a good multiplayer or good bonus modes, Super Monkey Ball is far from perfect, but they've made excellent use of the 3DS platform.
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