For those not in the know, the Super Monkey Ball concept is very basic.  The goal is for the player to navigate a hamster like ball, inhabited by a monkey, through different stages filled with various obstacles and challenges to reach a goal.  Super Monkey Ball 3D continues with this successful arcade style formula, as one would expect.

The main Monkey Ball gameplay mode gives players the choice of up to eight different worlds to play in, some of which are unlockable by completing earlier worlds.  Each world consists of 10 different stages for players to navigate their Monkey Ball through.  As the stages progress so does the difficulty.

Super Monkey Ball 3D has very smooth controls and the main game offers two control schemes.  The first, and most recommended, is to use the Circle Pad to navigate the Monkey Ball around.  The second new control option allows the player to use tilt style controls to move around by tilting the 3DS in the direction the player would like their character to move.  The tilt based controls worked but don’t feel nearly as natural or as accurate as using the Circle Pad.

While the main draw of the game is fun while it lasts there are some problems.  For starters, the gameplay isn’t nearly as challenging as past entries in the series.  Each stage feels somewhat basic compared to stages I’ve seen in past entries in the series.  Secondly, the game is extremely short.  The 80 stages available in this title can easily be completed in an afternoon and really left me wishing there was more.

Super Monkey Ball 3D also comes with two minigames to choose from.  Monkey Race and Monkey Fight.  Monkey Race is very similar to Mario Kart and Monkey Fight plays much like a Coin Battle from the Super Smash Bros. series.  While I wasn’t able to try it, Monkey Race and Monkey Fight are both available to play over Local Wireless.  I found both mini games to be rather boring and didn’t hold my attention very long.

Super Monkey Ball 3D does take advantage of the Nintendo 3DS Play Coin system.  Players can use 20 Play Coins to unlock a character or vehicle in Monkey Race or Monkey Fight.  While taking advantage of these coins is a good idea, 20 coins, or the equivalent of earning the max coins for two days, is a bit much to be asking for when compared to what is available for less coins in other games.

One more thing I feel that I should mention is that on multiple occasions the game crashed on me.  When this happened I was forced to completely power off my 3DS.

Overall Super Monkey Ball 3D isn’t a terrible game, it’s just that the main game wasn’t nearly long and challenging enough for a $40.00 title.  The minigames do add more meat to the overall package but they just aren’t fun and won’t be the main reason most people will want this particular game to begin with.  I hope that the inevitable next entry in the series on the 3DS will focus more on what makes Super Monkey Ball fun and add more levels that increase in complexity and challenge.

Here’s The Rundown:

+ Great Controls
+ Fun

– Not Enough Levels
– Levels Aren’t Complex Or Challenging Enough


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Super Monkey Ball 3D was developed by dimps and published by SEGA for the Nintendo 3DS.  The game released in the United States on March 27th, 2011 with an MSRP of $39.99 USD.  The copy used in this review was provided by the publisher.