Customer Reviews: Super Monkey Ball 3D - Nintendo 3DS
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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.
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on September 1, 2011
With the series' simple and engaging gameplay, new games always make an appearance on new Nintendo hardware. When it came to the portable edition, they were merely ports of their console counterparts. However, for their latest game, it is a truly new game. Does this mean that it is worth playing, or should they stay out of their balls?

Monkey Ball

As with all previous games, the object is to roll your ball into the goal. With no extra features like items or jumping, the entire game is playing with only the circle pad. With the motion sensing of the 3DS, it is also possible to control the game by tilting the system. However, doing so causes you to move out of the system's 3D spot. This means that you have to choose between 3D visual or motion sensing since using both is not advisable. Regardless which way you choose, the levels themselves feel easier than previous games. With the lower difficulty, it is possible to finish the game in a single sitting. They are fun to navigate, but it is best to ration them over time.

Monkey Race

While past games had multiple minigames, this only has two of them. One of them is a racing game. Unlike past game where your character made little difference, this game makes it an important decision. Based on your character and vehicle choices, it will make things handle very differently. Another difference is the difficulty. In past games, you can give the computer opponents a head start, and you can still win. This time, the computer will put a serious effort into stopping you. Combine it with the items they can use, and this could be a solid game on its own. The tracks need more fleshing out, but that is a small complaint in comparison.

Monkey Fight

The other minigame is a fighting game. Working in a style similar to "Super Smash Bros.," it has four people battling against each other. Unlike that game, the combat is much simpler. The characters have varying stats, but there is not much to tell one character apart from each other. None of the characters have special moves or abilities of the own. Except for a one item that appears randomly throughout the match, it may as well be that all the characters are the same with different skins. It will definitely not replace "Super Smash Bros.," but it will make a decent distraction.


This is a definite improvement over the last game, but the package as a whole feels light compared to GameCube and Banana Blitz games. The offering it has individually are not enough by themselves, but they are good when put together. Waiting for a sale might be a good idea, but it is a good purchase nonetheless.
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on June 25, 2016
Developers, rushed the game and failed to make it any fun. Nothing like the other monkey ball games. The mobil app is better than this. The camera angles are bad, and 3d doesn't work well, especially when using the mode where you tilt the screen to control the stage. The racing and fight mode feel like bad ad-ons. If you own a Wii or gamecube consider those versions first as monkey ball games on handheld systems are horrible
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on May 24, 2011
Lots of other reviews stated that this iteration of Super Monkey Ball seemed way dumbed down. In general, I see what they mean. Only the last three worlds (out of eight) were challenging for me. Younger kids might really have a tough time. But for the most part, there are lots of bumpers that keep you from falling.

That being said, the challenge gets ramped up in other areas. Strategically based pits, rivets, and other devices that send you flying are dropped around levels. The game works best in control stick mode with the 3D on. If you can fight the urge to not tip your system, you'll have a fun experience. Albeit a short one. After getting through seven worlds, you view the credits, which is a mini-game in itself, and then the 8th world unlocks. I didn't play any more past the 8th world (trying to get perfect scores or anything) so I can't vouch what else might happen, but for the most part, this is a fun romp in 3D with a game play mechanic that we all know and love.
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on September 7, 2011
The game is really three smaller games in one.

The main monkey ball game has only 80 levels, which might disappoint some. BUT the 3D effects are great and the circle pad works great with the 3D. It is almost impossible to play with tilt controls and keep the 3D on, but the tilt control version (without 3D) makes it feel like a completely different game, adding to the challenge to try to beat the game in both 3D with the circle pad and then again using tilt control.

The fighting game provides a simple and fun smash brothers style game, yet it can be random at times.

The kart racing game is clearly a Mario Kart rip off, yet it is a lot of fun and the 3D effects are great and really add to the racing experience. It gets me really excited for Mario Kart 7.

All in all the game is worth $20, if you like the Monkey Ball series.


-Good graphics and good use of 3D
-Can play through main game in two completely different ways that provide different skill challenges
-Kart game is really fun to play in the 3D mode
-Good value at $20

-Cannot use tilt mode and 3D effect, it is too hard to keep up with
-The Monkey Ball series already had the ability to make folks "sea sick", with 3D this gets worse, so if you have "video motion sickness" tendencies avoid this game (or play it without 3D)
-The game was originally $40
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on November 29, 2011
I'll start this review off by saying that I have only played one other game in the Super Monkey Ball series (Game Boy Advance version), so I do not have extensive knowledge of the series.

This game comes in traditional packaging for the 3DS, and has a small pamphlet showing how things work and introducing characters of the Super Monkey Ball series. As for the game in the 3DS, the splash screen is not the traditional 3D revolving logo, but a image that jumps up and down.

The game is very easy to get, but relatively hard to master. The characters have no distinct differences in gameplay, so any one you choose will work the same as the others. You go through simple levels while getting bananas to reach a goal.

The game's level designs are very simple, ranging from basic lines to intricate designs that make you think. The game doesn't ever get very difficult, though, so there was a lack of intricacy somewhere in the designs. There's bumpers around the edges of the levels, so you're not going to die easily (if at all). This is probably the most annoying thing about the game- you almost never die, so there's no point in collecting the bananas in the stage (30 get you a life). Compared to my experience with the Game Boy Advance version, this game seems like it was designed for the 10-and-under crowd.

The motion sensor is very boring, actually, and is nowhere near as precise as the joystick imput.

I got this game on sale for $10 here on Amazon, so I'm not going to complain too much. However, I don't believe that it's worth anything more than $10, due to it's over simplicity.
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on April 19, 2016
Super Monkey Ball for the 3DS was not what I was looking for as far as a SMB game goes.
The graphics were neat! I like the 3D effect but I couldn't have my 3D slider all the way up or it gets a bit too blurry.
Sounds were great just like you would expect!
Level design is where it falls apart. They make the levels so extremely easy there is no challenge. I remember in the first and second SMB games how my cousin and I would spend hours trying to figure out higher difficulty levels and cool tricks you could do. On this game I felt like the very final world of levels (world 8) was just low medium difficulty on the SMB 1&2 games. There are no advanced or expert stages, the whole game is just easy. Even on the very final stages you still had guard rails protecting you for 70% of the level so you didn't fall... and they get in the way more than anything else! And then they place mud around the stages... not in strategic or challenging places... they place it in a spot that just slows you down for no reason other than to slow you down in a place you can't avoid. What is the point of that?
If they would update this game and add some advanced and expert levels, then it would go to a 5 stars no problem! But this is not what I expected from a SMB game and the level designers should never work on one again.
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on April 9, 2013
I have this game for the wii but didn't like it very much so when I saw it for the 3ds I took a chance. This is a very fun 3ds game and it is easy to control. This is a game for all ages, my mother and son (64 & 7) both like this game and find it easy to play. Great family game.
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I haven't really been that up-to-date with the Super Monkey Ball franchise, since the only other two games I have of the series are Super Monkey Ball 2 and Super Monkey Ball Jr. Both of which I did not really play too much. Then again, I haven't played them in a while, so maybe my experiences with them may change if I get back to them, but I recall them giving me a pretty hard time with their stage designs. So is it just me or is Super Monkey Ball 3D easier? I still used up a bunch of continues, but I still managed to beat the main game.

Difficulty aside, the game is an addictive arcade-style romp where you tilt the playing field to navigate the little monkey trapped in a ball to the goal. If you are fond of games like Marble Madness, this one's totally for you, and this particular title is especially pleasing thanks to the colorful graphics and 60 FPS smoothness that is reminiscent of the earlier games in the series. I'm not sure if the levels were as creative as they were then, but I'll tell you one thing: They are still well-designed, and are sure to keep you on your toes, especially when you're going for the bananas scattered around.

As fun as the main game is, the other two game modes featured in this cartridge don't settle as well in this gamer's personal opinion. Monkey Race is simply a second-rate Mario Kart clone with less polish and uninteresting items. Monkey Fight holds more merit, since it involves platforming around a small arena, beating up other Monkeys for their bananas. It gives me a Super Smash Bros. vibe, but it lacks depth in its mechanics. It could still be fun for a distraction, but whenever I will play this game, I will instead always play through the Monkey Ball levels with a smile (and maybe slight frustration) on my face.
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on April 14, 2014
I know this game is three years old, but I feel a need to write this review because its average rating is 4 stars, while Banana Blitz has an average of 3. This may lead some people to think that the Super Monkey Ball series was revived with this game. This could not be more wrong. Here's my theory: Banana Blitz got poor reviews because fans of the GameCube games had high expectations of it. These disgusted fans decided not to buy any more Super Monkey Ball games. Now, people who never played the GameCube versions are the only ones left writing reviews because they're the only ones who bought the game. That's the only reason why the average rating has gone up. I would argue that this game is even worse than Banana Blitz was. Now, on to the actual review.

Super Monkey Ball 2 is undoubtedly one of the greatest video games of all time. Super Monkey Ball: Touch and Roll and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz were both very disappointing for me, but still playable. They morphed the Story Mode and Challenge mode into one in each of these games, didn't have as many stages, got cheesier with the graphics, got less creative with the stages, and were topped off with half-hearted party games. I haven't played Adventure or Step and Roll, but judging by reviews I've read, it doesn't sound like those were great, either.

The only reason I got this game was because the 3DS had a slow start. There weren't any games for it that I truly wanted when it was first released. I decided to give Super Monkey Ball one more chance. It was a huge waste of money. They had a lot of nerve to charge $40 for a game that would make a better iPhone app or eShop game. The biggest sin this game committed was essentially getting rid of party games, which were half the fun back in the days of SMB2. This game only has Monkey Race, a painfully cheap knockoff of Mario Kart, and Monkey Fight, a painfully cheap knockoff of Super Smash Bros. Neither of them are any fun.

The main game, while still shorter than it used to be and no longer split into Story and Challenge mode, is okay. The best thing about this game is its use of the gyroscope. It's pretty cool that you get to tilt your system to roll the ball. Of course, it ruins the 3D effect, which had me pretty peeved because the 3DS was brand new and I wanted to use the 3D. So you have to choose between the 3D and the gyroscope. There wasn't any way around that, but it's still frustrating.

But while the main game may not be any worse than in Touch and Roll or Banana Blitz, the lack of playable party games makes this the worst Super Monkey Ball yet in my book. Maybe I could give it 3 stars if I didn't know that Sega was capable of more. Also, I need to counteract all the decent reviews this game is getting. So I give 2 stars, and I would recommend sticking with Super Monkey Ball 2.
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