Super Monkey Ball review: Super Monkey Ball

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Addictive and cheerful music. Great new take on a classic game. Outstanding look for a mobile game.

The Bad Tilt controls are over responsive with no way to adjust them. The game considers the iPhone to be "flat" at about 45 degrees. Annoying monkey squeaks. Difficulty curve fluctuates drastically. Game does not save in between levels.

The Bottom Line Unless you have a great deal of patience and very steady hands or a love of monkeys, bananas and falling off high surfaces, this game is not for you.

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Super Monkey Ball is a labyrinth-esque puzzle game developed for the iPhone by Sega. It's a continuation of Sega's franchise where the player guides a monkey encased in a plastic ball across a series of simple levels into a large glowing hoop, at which point your chosen simian spins off into the atmosphere with a delighted shriek.

The gimmick of Super Monkey Ball is that it is controlled with the iPhone's accelerometer — tilt the controller forward will send your monkey ball forward and so on — how far you tilt the device corresponds to the creature's speed. You must guide one of four available monkeys through simple obstacle courses bordered by low walls and can bounce over if they're travelling fast enough. All up, there are 110 levels spread across five worlds.

Presentation
Sega has put the iPhone's power to good advantage when it developed this game. Super Monkey Ball looks substantially better than both its Gamecube and Nintendo DS ancestors. It blends the cartoonish artistic style prevalent across the series with clean, sharply defined shapes. With so many levels, you won't get bored of the visual presentation, despite these levels being divided over only five worlds.

The audio styling of the game, however, is cause for concern. The game's soundtrack and vocal directions are superb, with a bouncy soundtrack complementing the overall style of the game nicely, but the same cannot be said of the monkey character's inane squeaks and cries. Every time your monkey bumps the edge of a map, completes a level, or falls out of bounds, it emits a cry that grates on your ears. It's possible to block this out by pressing your hand into the inconveniently placed speaker, but this blocks out the soundtrack as well.

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Where to Buy

Super Monkey Ball

Part Number: CNETSuper Monkey Ball

Typical Price: $12.99

See manufacturer website for availability.