On paper, few established games could be more suited to the 3DS than Super Monkey Ball. The task of rolling chimps trapped in transparent balls around floating 3D platforms to collect bananas seemed a perfect fit for Nintendo's latest handheld.
So it's a shock that the result is as enticing as a baboon's backside.
The choice of controls delivers the first disappointment. While you can steer your monkey with the circle pad or motion controls, neither satisfy. The levels seem designed for motion control, so much so that there's little challenge when relying on more precise circle pad.
And while the motion controls work well, the need to tilt the 3DS means the image breaks up constantly when playing in 3D. The result is a game that plays best in 2D, which seems pointless given there's already a Super Monkey Ball for the DS.
The levels are an uninspiring bunch too, lacking the opportunities for daring tightrope manoeuvres and banana-gathering scrambles that made previous Monkey Ball games so fun. Of the seven worlds on offer, only the final three capture that Monkey Ball magic and even then the generous time limits remove much of the challenge.
And where previous Monkey Ball games served up extra doses of fun with their mini-games, there's just two sub-par offerings here: Monkey Race and Monkey Fight. Monkey Race is a shockingly bad copy of Mario Kart, while Monkey Fight is a mediocre Super Smash Bros clone that is a far cry from the madcap punch-ups of its inspiration.
With its dismal mini-games and underwhelming main game, Super Monkey Ball 3D stands out as the weakest link in the 3DS launch line-up: devoid of long-term appeal and the wobbly fun that you'd expect from the series.
More after the break...
Super Monkey Ball 3D
Limited controls, uninspiring levels... and best played in 2D