A Game Review of the Nintendo 3DS 'Super Money Ball 3D' by 'Jeremy Hardin' (JHardin1112)
Super Monkey Ball 3D is the latest addition in the Monkey Ball series. Although the core gameplay has not changed, Sega has brought something new to the table.
A review by JHardin1112
Game - Super Monkey Ball 3D
Version - 3DS
Time Spent Playing - 6+ hours
Obtained - Review Copy from Sega
Super Monkey Ball 3D is the latest addition in the Monkey Ball series. Although the core gameplay has not changed, Sega has brought something new to the table. That's right, this time around, you will be experiencing the world in a whole new way, in 3D! The premise is simple. Here is all you need to know; you're a monkey, in a ball, and you want bananas. In order to get these bananas you must race down tracks picking them up as you hurtle yourself along towards the goal. All the while you need to avoid obstacles, ledges, and holes in the tracks so that you don't fall into the abyss below each stage.
Gameplay and Controls
Gameplay consists of three modes; Monkey Ball, Monkey Race, and Monkey Fight; the latter two being more of mini-games rather than full game modes. While Monkey Race and Monkey Fight are fun, they are brief. Needless to say, most of my time was spent playing Monkey Ball. Now, let's take a look at each mode.
Monkey Ball consists of racing down a track, collecting bananas, avoiding falls, and trying to beat the 60 second clock. There are a total of 8 worlds with 10 levels each, the eighth world being a bonus. Throughout each level you will be avoiding narrow edges, inclines, declines, bumpers and more all while trying to race to the end. There are two control schemes you can choose, Motion Control or Circle Pad. If you want to frustrate yourself, try Motion Control. If you attempt that, I wouldn't bother using 3D, as it won't work well, since you are constantly tilting the system. This will leave you with Circle Pad, which offers you precise control and works very well. You just move the control pad in the direction you want to roll, that's all there is to it.
Monkey Race is similar in design to Mario Kart. Your choices of racing modes are Grand Prix, Quick Race, and Time Trial. In each mode, you race in karts along various tracks, driving through item gates picking up weapons to slow down your opponents. However, the difference here being that Monkey Race is a fairly limited mode, as you only have 9 tracks to race on spread over three series. The controls work well, using the Circle Pad to steer, A to throttle, B to brake/reverse, R to spin/dash, and L for items. There are three special moves available to use. You are able to get a speed boost by racing behind another player's slipstream. You can drift around corners by holding the brake (B) button, releasing only when you want to interrupt the drift. The last special move is a Spin and Dash, which is done while holding down R as you turn a corner at high speed. This will cause an aura to glow around you. Once the aura is red, release R and watch your monkey go!
As similar in design as Monkey Race is to Mario Kart, the same can be said of Monkey Fight and Smash Bros. Fight pits you against up to three other players in a battle for the highest amount of bananas. Each character has a unique strong and weak attack. The goal is to punch and hit your opponents, stealing their bananas until the player with the most bananas when the timer expires, wins.
Unfortunately in my time with Super Monkey Ball 3D I was unable to take advantage of the Local Play or Download Play. To my understanding, Local Play allows you to play the mini-games against three of your friends while the remaining slots are filled by A.I. opponents. Download Play allows up to three players to download game data from one 3DS cartridge wirelessly. The only limitation being the roster of playable characters is reduced.
Visuals and Sound
Aside from the static backgrounds in each level, the visuals are fantastic. The use of 3D is done quite well from start to finish. From the moment I saw the logo pop up and I watched the pink ball bouncing; to the end credits as I rolled through rows and rows of bananas, I was hooked. As I rolled all around wildly clamoring for those precious bananas, the added effect of 3D made me feel immersed in each level. I think the team at Sega did a fantastic job in creating a truly impressive game world. The storybook scene which introduces each level is well worth mentioning as it has a superb 3D effect. Regardless of 3D, a games' visuals need to stand on their own and in Super Monkey Ball 3D, they do just that. Every level has unique visual extras which add to the overall theme of the world, and they look great.
The sound is just as engaging throughout the main part of the game. For each of the 8 worlds, there is music which compliments the theme for each of the worlds. The music is catchy, fun, and upbeat. Take for instance World 7 Space Factory. The entire world has music which sounds as though it could be playing at a nightclub during a rave, it has a whole techno vibe going on. Even better, World 5 Dragons Journey has oriental music all throughout. The music really adds to the engaging atmosphere. Equally as important and well done are the sound effects themselves. If your monkey gets too close to an edge he/she will shout out something along the lines of "woah! woah! woah!", arms pinwheeling in unison. The sound of your ball rolling is hard to describe but it works well. It never feels annoying or overused.
Concluding Overall Impressions
Super Monkey Ball 3D is an enjoyable, and entertaining game. The levels are unique and creative, although not that challenging. I admit, I died plenty of times but this was attributed more to my carelessness than anything. The music and sounds are engaging and catchy, and do a really great job of completing each level. The only thing holding Super Monkey Ball 3D back from a perfect score, for me at least, is the limited content. However, the replay value from trying to beat my high scores makes up for this. Plus, once I am around other people with a 3DS, I have a feeling I will be taking advantage of Local and Download play often. Have you played Super Monkey Ball 3Ds? If so, what did you think?
Final Score: 4 out of 5
'JHardin1112' bringing the latest in Nintendo Gaming Reviews for our valued Maxconsole readers