When we first heard that there was going to be a Game Boy Advance version of Super Monkey Ball made, we doubted if it'd really do the Gamecube version justice, expecting the graphics to be simplified and the entire gameplay to be represented in a different way.
So it's with great pleasure to confirm that neither the graphics or the gameplay are any less than on the Gamecube - if anything the only thing that is lacking from the GBA version is the fact that your friends can't see the screen when you make a mistake and plummet downwards from the floating platforms. They can however hear the comical yelps and screams of your monkey.
Super Monkey Ball was a massive hit on the Gamecube, and it'd be fair to say that there's something funny and strangely enjoyable about seeing monkeys do silly things, none the more so when it involces them rolling about in balls collecting bananas from the very edge of a high up tilting platform, and being used as a ten-pin bowling ball.
All of the usual Monkey Ball aspects are present in the game - some of the levels have changed to reflect what's possible on the GBA, but the levels that are available faithfully represent the same sort of frustrating yet enjoyable gameplay that you'd get on the 'cube version.
After scoring enough points in the main game mode you get to unlock the bonus mini games, which are where you'll probably spend most of your time trying to better your score and simply having fun whilst fighting other monkeys in the Monkey Fight, trying to get a strike in the Ten Pin Bowling, and the most enjoyable of the lot, the nine hole golf game which can either be played in single player or with up to three other linked up GBA's. There's also five levels of monkey racing in Monkey Duel, although sadly this isn't available in single player mode, meaning you can't even get a bit of crafty practice in.
Super Monkey Ball Jnr is a good conversion, and appears to be very faithful to that of the Gamecube version - however at times you can only wonder if the control method could have been tweaked slightly to make up for the fact that the GBA doesn't have the same analogue controls that it's bigger brother on the Gamecube had - it's not a huge problem, but levels can become frustrating when a slightly too long tap of the direction pad sends you flying off the platform.
If you're looking for a game that will keep you interested for a long car journey, or something which you can just pick up and give a quick play, then we'd have no hesitation in recommending Super Monkey Ball Jnr. Here's hoping for a conversion of Super Monkey Ball 2, with improved controls.Overall score: 7 out of 10
Players: 1-4 via link cable
Recommended Price: £34.99
Available: NowBuy Super Monkey Ball Junior from Amazon