Mario Hoops 3 on 3

by Mike Morier

Mario Hoops 3 on 3

Who knew that the Shyguy was such a baller? Bad enough that he and his ilk will show you up time and time again on the race track, but now you’ll have to suffer the indignity of having him score on you from half-court. If you can handle that, than this may be the game for you.

Square-Enix produced the game, but the characters, style and environments are decidedly Mario-esque. You’ll get a taste of the Square legacy once you play through Tournament Mode and are then able to play as characters from the classic Final Fantasy.

This is probably the best looking game on the DS so far. The character and environment animations are superbly rendered. As with any game featuring Mario, the colours are sharp and vibrant (we’ll forgive “Mario Paint: Adventures in Achromatic Expressionism”).

It’s in the innovative control scheme where the game falls a little short. Every movement aside from moving around the court is controlled by the stylus. If you want to pass, you stroke the bottom screen towards the receiving teammate. If you want to shoot, it’s the same thing, only you’re aiming for the basket. Movement is handled by the D-pad if you’re right handed or by the buttons on the right side of the screen if you’re a lefty.

Mario Hoops 3 on 3 Screenshot 1

Sounds simple enough, but there are many more moves to learn from there. Thankfully, the system works (offense is a little easier to manage than defense) and there is an excellent tutorial mode. This isn’t a game where you can just jump in, though truth be told, a rank amateur would probably fare pretty well at the first few levels of Tournament Mode.

Still, what are you gonna do when you’re staring into the dead eyes of the Shyguy and you haven’t put your time in on the court? You may be able to admit you’re outclassed here, but if you go in unschooled, you just might get owned by Birdo. Birdo. Try and look at yourself in the mirror when that happens.

Mario Hoops 3 on 3 Screenshot 2

As far as multiplayer goes, you’re only able to play a group basketball game if everyone involved has the cartridge. This is understandable, as the game really does push the graphical limits of the system and download play would not be feasible without drastically scaling down the visuals. What is here for friends who don’t own the game are a couple of mini-games, the more fun of which closely resembles VS. play in “Mario Kart DS”, minus the karts.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a game to show off your new DS Lite, this is it. If you want to get the maximum playability out of this title, you have to be willing to put in the time to learn the control scheme. You may want to skip this one if your typical gaming sessions are in the 15 minute range, but if you’re in it for the long haul; you’ll likely be rewarded with an excellent gaming experience to go along with the flash.

  • Mario Hoops 3 on 3
  • by Mike Morier
  • Published on October 11th, 2006
Game System: Nintendo DS
Launch Date: September 11th, 2006
ESRB: E (Everyone) - Mild Cartoon Violence
Game Type: Sports
Players: 1-4 via LAN
Developer: Square Enix

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