Super Monkey Ball Adventure (GameCube) Review

By Barry Lewis 18.07.2006 5

Review for Super Monkey Ball Adventure on GameCube

Humans have a certain fascination with our closest evolutionary brethren, and from our findings this is especially true amongst core gamers. Naturally when the genius minds at Sega thought of shoving monkeys in balls for a puzzle game the final product had cult classic written all over it. This latest version focuses on the world of 3D adventuring, whilst still holding dear to the traditional elements which shot the series to fame, let's see what it's all about then...

As any fellow Sega veteran could tell you Sega games either excel or fail miserably in the story department, and this is certainly one of the rotten eggs. Enjoying a nice Barbeque on their homeland - Jungle Island - Aiai and company are disturbed by an out-of-control glider. They later discover that the glider hosts a young prince and princess from opposing realms, fleeing their homelands to share their love. You must travel the five lands of Monearth, defeating the Naysayers, spreading joy by solving problems and uniting the kingdoms for the greatest wedding in history. Gripping stuff.

Thankfully things warm up when you start getting past the cringe-worthy cut scenes. Gone is the land tilting feature of past titles, replaced by pure ball rolling action and cleverly disguised by a wobbly camera (we opted to turn it off, which is a welcome option). The physics feel a little different, for one the ball feels a little lighter and not quite so tight as in past console monkey ballers, but this is more of a quick adjustment than a bad thing. Otherwise everything is just about perfect; the free roaming camera can be a pest on occasion but no more than you'd expect from a modern platform title.

Indeed Super Monkey Ball Adventure borrows ideas and elements from many different free-roaming games including Grand Theft Auto, Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, Animal Crossing and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Each of the five lands are split into a few sections, and in each of the sections you speak with fellow monkeys (usually around five NPC's) and are set tasks by them. From waking up guards by shooting your ball at gongs, racing against the clock to a certain area, collecting / delivering items or reaching switches in certain places / orders. Standard enough gameplay but mix in a challenging environment for your balls to traverse and things start to get fun. Classic gameplay in its pure form also makes a welcome return to the series. Each kingdom has Puzzle Gates occasionally dotted around and these gates act as a doorway to the puzzle realm; the puzzles act as locks and you must unlock all bar one to get through.

Screenshot for Super Monkey Ball Adventure on GameCube

Another large change to the game involves your magical balls, with a magical chant cast on the analogue stick (four directions, four annoying monkey squeaks) you can not only play with your balls but you can now set them on fire, make them bigger and even make them sticky! Moving quickly on the ability to transform the monkey ball not only serves to limit your progress until certain times but adds a lovely bit of variety to the game. Sadly though that variety is hampered by nearly unforgivable load times between each section of a kingdom. Something quite interesting to note is that the PS2 and PSP versions sported an interactive loading screen, a clever yet critically slammed gimmick, but it's something missing from the GameCube version. Instead we're just left with a simple graphic and message saying 'Loading' for upwards of thirty seconds...

Unfortunately for Super Monkey Ball Adventure it is at this point where things become all a little negative. News of both Classic and Party games coming along for the ride was probably the single most important revelation in the genre twist, and both leave us with a slightly bitter taste. Yes the 50 puzzles are brand new but they are also the exact same puzzles you tackle during the main game, suddenly they didn't feel quite as "new" to us. There is one saviour here in that you will rarely complete all the puzzles at the puzzle gate and that can be a nice swerve ball when you tackle the classic mode.

More bad news comes in the form of the party games (we'll list them in detail below). All our old favourites besides Target, Fight and Race have not made the adventuring move to this latest game and in their place is probably the weakest set of games in the series' history. Thankfully you get access to all six games from the word go with the first level or track being provided and the additional tracks / levels being purchased in-game with your collected bananas. In the end Super Monkey Ball Adventure isn't going to be remembered for what it is; a charming and well crafted platform game. What it will be remembered for is a few mistakes that really should not have happened.

Screenshot for Super Monkey Ball Adventure on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Critics have slammed this game for some of its more glaring mistakes and faults, which makes us like it even more. Ignore the overly kiddie nature of things, get stuck into the game and you should grow to love it (certainly if you like classic platform gameplay anyway). Perhaps a controversial score by some standards, but deep down Super Monkey Ball Adventure is a really fun adventure game.

Developer

Traveller's Tales

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Adventure

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

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

Comments

A fun little game really, right getting into it now :D

Barry Lewis [ nin10do :: General Writer :: Feature Writer :: Fountain of Industry Statistics ]
"We're mentalist psychic Scots, which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."

Traveller's Tales have a good track record, so I had faith this wouldn't be a complete stinker :Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I wannit! It's great to see how many copies they have in GAME now. I'll probably be getting to play it in a month or two! :-D

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

i played this game on PS2.. first i thought it was a bit crap.. coz it doesnt look right coz im used to playing SMBall... but after 10-15 mins playing it i started to like it!!! maybe i wouldnt spend

I see all these people insulting the Nintendo corporation because of the lack of mature content. Yet there is something about Nintendo (at least their games) that strikes a certain unadulterated feeling of joy!!!  Pokemon Y - 1048-9263-5562

^ Yep, you really have to work with the game but at around 20% complete it gets pretty damn fun.

Barry Lewis [ nin10do :: General Writer :: Feature Writer :: Fountain of Industry Statistics ]
"We're mentalist psychic Scots, which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."

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