The Monkey Fight mini-game in Super Monkey Ball 3D wasn’t the spring-loaded boxing glove I expected to play. Sega transformed it into something surprisingly close to Super Smash Brothers or Jump Ultimate Stars.
Monkey Fight, one of the three modes in Super Monkey Ball 3D, lets players select one of 16 characters. Eight are playable when you start the game. More simians can be unlocked by playing through Monkey Fight in single player mode, grabbing special bananas, and from activity coins. Those are tokens players earn from walking with their Nintendo 3DS. While you can unlock one monkey by exchanging step energy, it is not the only way to unlock that extra fighter.
After you choose four monkeys to throw into the ring it’s an all out brawl for bananas on 2D stages. Bananas fall from the sky and onto ledges for players to grab. If Baby (who wears some kind of cybernetic armor) grabs a bunch of bananas you can steal them by punching the hungry monkey with light and heavy attacks. Strikes make monkeys drop bananas. Every once in awhile a barrel drops onto the stage. Hit it ten times to jump inside, which triggers your super attack. Barrel punching is a race since an opponent can land the last punch and steal the super attack. Whoever has the most bananas when time runs out is the winner. So, if you have 100 bananas you can play keep away by jumping around the stage hopefully evading attacks while draining the clock. Super Monkey Ball 3D has a "hidden mode" that conceals the banana counts on the bottom screen.
Each monkey has their own fighting style. Jet, a martial arts master, has nimble punches and can throw a fireball. Gongon, a heavy gorilla, packs a powerful punch. He’s slow, but his shoulder tackle can knock opponents off platforms. Captain Aiai who looks like Aiai in a pirate outfit uses guns for a long range attack. Super Monkey Ball 3D supports download play, so you only need one cartridge for multiplayer monkey brawls. However, you’re limited to only a portion of the roster in download play mode.
Sega will release Super Monkey Ball 3D on March 27, the same day the Nintendo 3DS launches in North America.