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Super Monkey Ball 3D Review

Super Monkey Ball 3D Review

Ever since Super Monkey Ball blasted its way onto the GameCube in 2001, Sega has been keen to push the franchise wherever they could, and not just with simple ports each time. Unique titles have appeared on the PS2, Xbox, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii (and one for the Balance Board), PlayStation Portable, Game Boy Advance, iPhone, iPad and even the N-Gage. Bearing that in mind, it's not surprising that Sega are there at the launch of the Nintendo 3DS with a brand new Super Monkey Ball experience - it's not a half bad one either.

As with many of the previous titles, you're able to play through a single-player campaign with either AiAi, MeMe, GonGon or Baby. However, this time there's not even any semblance of a story. When you start a new world, you're simply greeted with a very short introduction and then you're thrown straight into the first level of the world.

If you're unfamiliar with the world of Super Monkey Ball, it's a rather unique one. Despite what you might think, you don't actually take control of your chosen monkey. Instead, they're placed inside a ball and it's your job to move the world around them, allowing them to get to the end of the level. It might sound rather strange, but in reality, it just feels like you're moving your character and it's a tried and tested mechanic.

Once you get to grips with this, the game will start putting various obstacles in your way to mix things up. Some examples of these are ramps that upset your momentum, and bumpers which will knock you back if you hit them. There's a disappointing amount of variation here though, as the same obstacles appear far too often. You can also collect bananas as you progress, and after you pick-up 30, you'll obtain an extra life. This is crucial for protecting the score you get if you go through all of the levels in a world without continuing.

The main problem though, is that hardly any of the levels are even remotely challenging. Each world consists of ten levels (excluding the bonus stage), but you'll be able to breeze through most of the worlds and only lose a life here or there. It's quite disappointing really, because it means the single-player experience is a rather short and unfulfilling one. When you finish the game and unlock the "secret stage" it feels like the game is starting to be where it should, with a few levels actually making you think about how to progress. But really, it's too little, too late.

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