Super Monkey Ball Jr. (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Ross Morley 17.10.2003

Review for Super Monkey Ball Jr. on Game Boy Advance

Great games occasionally have their reputation sullied by the shoddiness of its conversion to the smaller handheld unit. Sometimes however, the conversion actually surpasses its bigger brother in terms of pure enjoyment value. Could Super Monkey Ball Jr. pull this off?

The first major barrier for this game is so obvious you'd be a fool not to have thought of it. Super Monkey Ball was so often praised for it's excellent use of the GameCube's control stick, and the control stick itself is upheld for feeling so perfect, and helping to make games like Super Monkey Ball come alive and show their true levels of intuitiveness. But with the Game Boy you have the infamous, wafer thin cross-shaped D-pad as a means of saving your monkey from certain death. At first, you long for the analogue stick, but before long everything feels strangely natural and familiar. Think of it, if you will, as a racing game for both the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation One formats. With the N64, the more you tilt the control stick, the sharper your turning movement will be. In the case of the PSOne however, you're going to have to guage how long to hold the D-pad direction down for to make the corner. You may even want to continually tap it to get round. It is this method of movement which you need to adapt into Super Monkey Ball Jr.

Screenshot for Super Monkey Ball Jr. on Game Boy Advance

Cliches are everywhere in this game, and you’ll notice if you’ve played the original Super Monkey Ball. First of all the music – the same pieces have been used for each of the different themed levels (jungle, water, desert etc.) albeit in their slightly more ‘tinny’ GBA form. Even the start screen and mini games are very recognisable in this respect – same location, same tune. The levels themselves are also mostly toned down versions of the ones to be found in the original title – you may or may not find this to be a good thing. The good points are a) it’s cool to see the same levels on the GBA screen and b) this way, we can be sure that the quality in design hasn’t lagged or fallen below par. The disappointment may be that you were intending to buy the game on the basis that you’d been looking forward to working your way through a whole new range of levels. We weren’t put off – we we’re interested to see how to take on each level now it had been converted.

Screenshot for Super Monkey Ball Jr. on Game Boy Advance

Super Monkey Ball may have had very average graphics by next generation standards, but this game certainly has impressive graphics by GBA standards. It's not so much the level of detail or the texturing that takes you, we were just amazed at how smoothly the whole thing ran. Once you've mastered the D-pad control system, it really does feel just like the original, perfectly weighted, and showcasing ball physics that are noticeably 100% accurate. The other point that graphical differences are less noticeable than in most conversions, further tricks your mind into becoming immersed once again in the tilting world of Super Monkey Ball. Our only true gripe is that the camera gremlins are still very much present, we often wail in despair when we think 'I would've completed that level if it weren't for that pesky camera!' We're annoyed that the problem still hasn't been fixed, as we think it is even more of a problem on the GBA than it was when it made us cry before. How difficult would it be to incorporate a feature that allows you to hit L to swing the camera round directly behind your character? *Sigh*

Screenshot for Super Monkey Ball Jr. on Game Boy Advance

The mini games make a welcome return, although only three of the original six have survived the conversion. High scores in monkey bowling are achieved by a little more judgement than luck this time, as the number of angles at which you can hit the pins are more limited. Fight is much the same, but feels better as there is more grip to be found on the arena's surface meaning it's far easier to control. Golf is perhaps the biggest winner though, as it's laid back style is more 'acceptable' on the GBA, plus we reckon it's a little more intuitive.

Although it's not quite as perfect as the GameCube games, Super Monkey Ball Jr. doesn't let the series down. The spirit of it is still there and having mini games it is, as before, a very well rounded package. Even multiplayer hasn't been left off the mode list, you can go head to head in not only the mini games, but also in a special race, known as monkey duel. The game makes a very good pocket companion, as it's easy to pick up and play, and has loads of replay value. Definitely one worth thinking about.

Screenshot for Super Monkey Ball Jr. on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The originality, charm and instant appeal of Super Monkey Ball has always intrigued us. The mix of a playable but tricky puzzle game with some brilliant mini games thrown in has paid off again, so take a look at the GBA version.


Amusement Vision







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Comments are currently disabled

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?

There are 1 members online at the moment.