Unfortunately, the meat of the game is the new story mode - the first fully developed adventure for the monkeys. In this mode, Ai Ai, Mee Mee, Baby and Gongon are called upon to save the day in a platform game featuring SMB controls. On paper, it sounds like a great idea, but the results so far are unimpressive. The level design, gameplay, graphics, camera, load times and puzzles were middling at best and frustrating as hell at worst. It’s as if the developer took traditional platform-game level-design and mashed the unique SMB camera and controls into the product. It just doesn’t feel right.
While it’s great to see the franchise go in a new direction, what we’ve seen of Super Monkey Ball Adventure is likely to disappoint longtime fans of the series. The challenge and party modes are done well, but it’s nothing new and nothing that can’t be found in the older games. The story mode is disappointing so far. We won’t know for sure how it all adds up until we review the final product, but Super Monkey Ball Adventure is looking like a case of what happens when an established and beloved franchise is put in the hands of a lesser developer.