Super Monkey Ball has always been one of the game series that, when asked what game series I like, I list as one of them. This is because the first two games were two of the best games on the Gamecube: they were fun, challenging and unique. Super Monkey Ball 3D, however, isn’t as good.

Super Monkey Ball 3D is a very simple game, and has within it three modes; Challenge, Fight and Race. I won’t talk too much about Race, because all that I can say about it is that it is the most blatant Mario Kart rip-off and is the worst one I have played. I also won’t talk much about Fight, because that is the most blatant Smash Bros. rip-off (aside from maybe Playstation All-Stars) and is by far the worst one I have played.

Well... This is Race mode. It's a bit horrific.

Yay. Let’s do racering. Such high-octane action. Adrenaline-pumping excitement.

After an initial checking out, neither Fight or Race mode deserve to be played. Not even to be laughed at.

No matter how bad Fight and Race mode are, though, Challenge mode still warrants some praise and deserves to be played. It is obviously intended to be the main mode and the attraction for the game, and is, to be fair, by far and a way the best. It is the classic Monkey Ball mode in which you are, don’t be too surprised: a monkey in a ball. In basic terms, you choose out of one of four monkey characters and progress through 7 worlds with several stages in each; in which you have to try to get your monkey from the start of the stage to the end within either a one minute or thirty second time limit, avoiding various obstacles and falling off edges.

Initially, Challenge mode seems great. It looks strikingly great, it uses 3D very well and seems like good fun. But when you get further into it, the fun deteriorates, the 3D seems a little too intense and the level design seems a little bit repetitive: with some of the same obstacles used again and again and not really adding much to the challenge or the fun of it. Ironically, Challenge mode never really gets that challenging; well, it gets challenging to the extent that it takes you two or three attempts to complete one of the later stages – but it never actually gets near to being hard. Also, it only took me about two and a half hours to complete; being the bulk of the game and the main mode, that isn’t a good figure.

Nevertheless, the stages in the mode are generally designed at a pretty good quality and the mode can be quite fun, bringing the game maybe some replay value – they took time developing this and put more into it than they did the other two modes. So it ends up decent, or pretty good at best; but it never gets anywhere near the level of quality, fun or difficulty of either the Challenge mode of Super Monkey Ball 1 or 2.

Verdict:

Super Monkey Ball 3D is a disappointing game filled with flaws and a moderately sized dosage of crap, but it still manages to be briefly decent with the underwhelming Challenge mode. I wouldn’t recommend buying this, but it isn’t the worst game in the world. Just don’t play Race or Fight mode.

So I give it: 52/100.

– Speedy.

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