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Too short, too easy, too little.
on March 27, 2011
Super Monkey Ball 3D is another shoehorned Monkey Ball game for SEGA to rush out just to be released at launch. Sad too, since the last time I checked, Super Monkey Ball was a fantastic franchise filled with excellent Marble Madness inspired gameplay, wonderfully designed stages, goofy stories, and awesome mini games. But as of late SEGA has really gone off the deep end with our favorite ballin' monkeys. Gone are the glory days of Super Monkey Ball 1 & 2 for Gamecube where SEGA actually cared about creating a challenging experience, now Monkey Ball has been reduced to the go to franchise for SEGA to develop glorified tech demos for upcoming consoles. Banana Blitz, Step & Roll, and now 3D.
For anyone who doesn't know, Super Monkey Ball requires players to guide our simian friends through hazard filled obstacle courses to reach the goal within... 60 seconds! While seemingly simple at first, the gameplay ramps up in difficulty once the ball REALLY starts rolling. Don't let the cute graphics fool you, Monkey Ball is pretty challenging. Venturing through the through colorful stages while reaching the goal is always a satisfying experience even on the most easiest of stages leading anyone to always come back for more monkey fun!
Unfortunately... Super Monkey Ball 3D is not satisfying. With a meager 80 courses, possibly the lowest stage count in Monkey Ball history, 3D is just too short and easy. I'm pretty sure any one will be able to breeze through these stages like there is no tomorrow. Shoot, I was able to in about two hours of playtime. I only was legitimately challenged during the 8th world. As a Monkey Ball fan, I was seriously disappointed. What happened to the creatively designed stages, like the Gamecube stage!?! No where to be found here... (A 3DS stage would have been awesome!) Most of the level designs are indeed scraping the barrel of mediocrity. In fact, I think the only reason why the level design is this uninspired because of the tilt control option. All of the stages have been "adjusted" with wider planes and bumpers as the only hazard for this outing. Don't get me wrong, the tilt control is quite intuitive enough, but it just can't beat the classic analogue control option when it comes to precision. Trust me, Monkey Ball is a VERY precise game. I mean, 3D does somewhat capture the same fun monkey-in-a-ball game of previous installments within its little play time, but its largely a shallow experience.
Speaking of shallow, that is exactly what the two supplementary mini games; Monkey Kart and Monkey Fight are. Shallow, poorly thought out, and tacked on. Monkey Kart is a lousy excuse for a Mario Kart clone with sloppy controls and the same applies to Monkey Fight, just replace Mario Kart with Smash Brothers. None of them are worth playing more than 5 minutes of, let alone dreaming the idea of playing with friends. Which is another sad element of 3D... Just two mini games SEGA!?! WTF?? Where is Monkey Golf, Monkey Tennis, Monkey Target, Monkey Race, along with the original Monkey Fight that was actually fun!?! These two uninspired knock-offs cannot hold a candle to those in any way, shape, or form. Mini games are an integral part of Monkey Ball, with them basically being this inept along with the 2 hour main game, Super Monkey Ball 3D is not worth $40. Sure, 3D is somewhat enjoyable and contains some replay value (searching for the superfluous "collectibles" in various stages, which add nothing to the game I might add) while boasting some delicious eye candy in the beautifully rendered worlds almost reaching Banana Blitz level with nice 3D effects for good measure making great use of the 3DS' graphical capabilities, its not enough to justify the asking price. I would recommend readers (especially fans) to wait until the price drops or at least check out the original two games for Gamecube before you play this iteration.