Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo DS games
Newest Review: ... Download or Multi-Cart play options. Sound, control and graphics ------------------------------- --- The music in the game is computer gen... more
Mario Hoops 3-On-3 (DS)
Member Name: otalgia
Mario Hoops 3-On-3 (DS)
Advantages: Fun play with all your favourite Nintendo Characters
Disadvantages: Awkward control system
Mario 3 on 3 Hoops is a basketball game for the Nintendo DS.
Published in 2006 by Nintendo the game features a selection of your favourite characters from Mario's World and battle those 3 players against three in a traditional game of basketball set over several different play courts and landscapes.
There are two main modes of play in the game; battle and tournament. The battle mode is used for a quick "one-off" game whereas the tournament mode is a cup challenge where you must win a series of three matches to win the tournaments cup.
Regardless of mode chosen, each game is played over 2 periods that last 2 and a half minutes each. At the end of the first period you change to the opposite side of the playing field. Despite this change you still play in an upwards direction and play towards a basket at the top of the upper screen.
The game starts with your chance to select your team of 3 players from a selection of Nintendo characters. There are about a dozen characters to choose from initially but more are unlocked as you progress through the game.
Each character has a specialised strength on the playing field. For example Donkey Kong has great strength and can barge the opposition out of the way and quickly win any engagement or tackle of the opposition whereas in contrast the slender Super Monkey Ball character MiMi may lack the power of the great ape but does have super fast speed and can easily whiz around the court without challenge.
Once you have selected your team the Nintendo then select its team of three from the remaining characters. And the game is ready to start.
The aim of the game is to accrue as many points as possible by throwing the basketball through the oppositions hoop within the 5 minutes of playing time.
The game is played on a court that varies from Level to Level, but familiar scenes such as Jungles, Beaches and traditional Basketball courts are all represented. The layout of the court is traditional with standard court markings and a basket at each end of the playing field.
In addition to the usual court markings there are several yellow squares marked by a question mark scattered across the court. The function of these squares varies depending on whether you have the ball in your possession or not. If the ball is in your possession and you dribble the ball on top of the square then you are given additional coins (I'll explain the relevance of these later). If you don't have the ball in your possession and active a yellow square then you will be presented with a random power up or weapon that can be used against the opposition to gain back possession of the ball.
So, a typical game may go something like this -
The whistle for the first 2 and a half minute period of play has started and the ball is dropped into play. You use offensive moves to gain possession of the ball and then run towards the nearest yellow square to dribble the ball on. Constant dribbling on this square adds coins to your characters counter. You then run to the basket and slam dunk the ball in to the net and it's a goal!
It's at this point that the importance of collecting coins becomes apparent; for each basket you score you get 20 points plus the number of coins collected. This means that it can be possible to score in excess of 50 points per basket.
After 2 and a half minutes is over the 1st period of play ends and the second begins.
The time remaining in each period is displayed onscreen as are the scores of each team. After 5 minutes of play the game is over and the team with the highest amount of points is the winner.
There are several ways of scoring a basket and this can range from long shots, power shots or a slam dunk which are all controlled by a series of different stylus moves.
Of course there are times when you will have lost possession of the ball and need to regain the ball or protect your basket from the opposition. This can be done through a series of defensive and offensive moves that are all styli controlled. To get the ball off the opposition you can swipe it from them with a horizontal styli swipe on the screen. The more power your character has the easier this move becomes. Gathering power ups such as tortoise shells to through at the opposition can be equally as effective!
So that's a feel of how the game plays. The key aspect is the selection of your team and their particular attributes. For the easier levels I found that having Donkey Kong or Wario in my team to be a good choice as their brute strength made swiping the ball from the opposition a breeze. This team of characters became less effective though as the game progressed and the computer controlled team of fast runners left my team perspiring and without the ball (or score!) for the majority of a match!
The tournament matches are a series of three matches that increase in difficulty. The game play is the same as detailed above and a successful run of three matches will win you a cup and may unlock further items or characters to play. The better score that you accumulate will result in a better cup being presented.
In addition to the main modes of play there is a challenges section that has a few challenges such as dribbling your ball and collecting stars against the clock. More importantly in this section is the practice and training mode that is essential if you haven't played the game before as there are numerous styli movements required to master the many offence and defence skills.
The final mode is Wireless play that enables you to play a battle game head-to-head wirelessly against a friend. The game offers DS Download or Multi-Cart play options.
Sound, control and graphics
The music in the game is computer generated, upbeat and laced with Nintendo character samples. The characters are all well represented and the Italian quips of Mario and the helium yelps of Yoshi are all present. The sounds really sparkle and compliment the graphics perfectly.
The controls are the trickiest part of the game in my opinion. The movement of the characters are done using the Control Pad however the players' offence and defence moves are all made by stylus swipes. This presented me with a problem as it means that you have to hold the console with one hand and control the characters movement at the same time whilst swiping the stylus across the touch screen with the other hand. It's not impossible; it's just a little awkward. Fortunately Nintendo have added the option to alternatively use the buttons rather than the screen for the offence and defence moves however this only covers a few of the moves and limits your on and off ball control. Once you have mastered the console balancing you will find that the controls are instant and perform brilliantly making game play fun and responsive.
The graphics are bright, colourful and wonderfully drawn and have that professional look that Nintendo's Mario titles are renowned for. The 3d landscapes and play court areas all move quickly with slowdown or jitter and the characters look like they have been transported straight out of a cartoon movie - fantastic!
Nintendo have done it again and produced another classic Mario title.
The combination of lush graphics, great music and most of all excellent playability make this game a guaranteed winner. My only minor gripe is the control system can take a while to adjust to and prove awkward at times. Problems aside, whether you choose to play a quick singles match, a longer tournament challenge or a wireless game against your mates the game still oozes fun.
A super hooper game!
© M Jones (Otalgia) 2008
Summary: Mario Basketball fun for the NDS.