A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Super Monkey Ball 3D isn't just a ball rolling game, as past entries in the franchise have been, but also a kart racing and fighting game. Neither of these additional modes warrant much concern. The kart racing stages see karts spinning out of control and falling off of ledges, while the fighting game has simians whacking each other with gloves and mallets. Both are very cartoon-like in their presentation. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.
What's it about?
SUPER MONKEY BALL 3D delivers three games in one. The first is a traditional Super Monkey Ball experience, with players either tilting the 3DS or using the circle pad to steer monkeys housed inside balls around precarious mazes. The second is a kart racing game in which players race against computer opponents on a handful of progressively tricky tracks while trying to sabotage their fellow competitors with power-ups such as slippery bananas. The third is a Super Smash Bros.-style fighting game that has up to four players battling each other in simple side-scrolling levels as they try to collect the most bananas. Both the kart racing and fighting games allow for up to three other players to join in on the action in local area network play.
Is it any good?
It’s easy to see why Sega added kart racing and fighting modes to their classic ball roller. After all, a game that has players tilting their screens to control the action isn’t a great fit for a device that demands players keep their eyes fixed in an exact location to avoid 3-D ghosting effects. However, you can always switch the stereoscopic mode off. And if you really want to play in 3-D, just choose the circle pad control option, which offers more precise control, to boot.
What’s more, the two new modes are decent. The kart races are surprisingly challenging, and the fights reward strategic thinkers. Both feel a little smallish and hastily assembled, but at least they offer some variety. Plus, kids who have friends with their own 3DS consoles will appreciate the multiplayer mode. It’s not exactly system-selling launch software, but this three-in-one package offers pretty good value for your 3DS gaming dollar.
Online interaction: Up to three other players can join in to play the kart racing and fighting games using local WiFi.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it’s like to physically move while playing a handheld game. Does it make you self-conscious while playing in public? Do you think most people these days understand and can relate to what you’re doing?
Families can also discuss how they perceive the game's stereoscopic (3D) effect. Can you see it well? Do you experience eye strain or headaches? What should you do if these symptoms occur?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love fast-paced games
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.