Super Monkey Ball Jr. - GBA

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Realism Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: Infogrames (GB)
Released: 4 Apr 2003 (GB)
Ratings: 3+
Connectivity: Link Cable


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Not many people would have thought this possible in the early days of the Game Boy Advance - a conversion of a GameCube game, in full 3D. But somehow the chaps at Realism have managed to squeeze every last drop of processing power out of Nintendo's pint-sized box of tricks, delivering more or less an exact port of Super Monkey Ball.

As with the original, the single player game offers a wealth of various different tables/levels across which you have to roll your little monkey in his ball - there are more than 60 in total, divided up into Beginner, Advanced and Expert classes. The thing with Monkey Ball though is that it's the environments that you take control of, not the monkey, so you have to carefully tip the whole area in order to get the ball from start to finish. On the GameCube, this was performed via the analogue stick so it was with a fair amount of apprehension that we approached this D-pad-orientated control method, but it translates well and, although quite frustratingly difficult to begin with, is soon mastered.

Anyone who has played the original will immediately recognise a fair few of the levels in Monkey Ball Jr, as quite a number have been ported straight over, complete with moving platforms, steps, and bumpers. The rest of the game is entirely new, however, so fans of the series can rejoice at the opportunity to get their hands on some more levels.

One element that Monkey Ball is most notable for is its multiplayer mini games and in this area the junior version doesn't disappoint. There are four of these mini games to be unlocked as you progress through the game: Monkey Fight, Monkey Bowling, Monkey Golf, and Monkey Duel. The first three are taken from the GameCube version and faithfully recreated in handheld form. Each utilises the GBA's link-up facility and, if possible (as in the case of Monkey Bowling) can be played with just one machine. Monkey Duel, on the other hand, is a slightly different concept, allowing two players to race each other on any one of the game's levels.

Everything that made the original game great can be found in here, even to the extent of the menu system and the little game played throughout the closing credits. The fact that the developer chose to recreate the original faithfully as opposed to rolling out another 2D spin-off is one for which they should be commended.


Super Monkey Ball Jr. - GBA Artwork

Super Monkey Ball Jr. - GBA Artwork