Friday, January 22, 2010

Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (DS) Review

Today my plan is to post a pair of classic reviews of mine. These were some of my earliest reviews ever written. I think you can tell by the quality, no? Here's the very first of two classics, Mario Hoops 3-on-3 for the Nintendo DS.

Not exactly a slam dunk.

Let's see, Mario's done kart racing, refereeing, baseball, tennis, golf, and now he's entering another sport with Mario Hoops 3-on-3, a title developed by Square-Enix. As the title suggests you play on teams of three on a variety of courts stemming from Mushroom Kingdom lore. After choosing your team of three superstars-- each with their own strengths and weaknesses-- you're ready to school your opponents in a round of B-ball.

Mario takes it to the fridge.

You can play the game simply with the stylus, but I felt that those controls were too confusing so I switched to the help buttons which allow you to play with a conventional control style. You don't just simply score baskets in Mario Hoops. Instead you dribble around the court bouncing the ball over item boxes which will increase the amount of coins you have. This tally goes up to one hundred coins. Then you try to score a basket. The amount of coins you saved up plus the coin score for where you shot the ball equals how many points you earn. Additionally you can perform special shots for each character when using the stylus for more points. Thus games that have scores such as 405-350 are commonplace in the world of Mario Hoops.

Defensive players can pick up items from the aforementioned item blocks to use on opponents. Such items include the infamous invincibility starman, green shells which bounce all over the court, and banana peels to slip up the competition to name a few. Normal basketball moves such as stealing, passing, dribbling, and guarding the net are mainstays in the NBA and are present in Mario Hoops.

DK gets ready to slam dunk that mother.

There are various modes in Mario Hoops. Challenge mode features tasks like dribble races to see how fast you can pick up a certain number of coins to learning how to play the game in Practice mode. Tourney is the main mode of Mario Hoops. This is a three round trial that goes from the Mushroom Cup all the way to the four round Special Cup. Performing specific objectives in this mode will reward you with new basketballs (like the Cheep Cheep and platinum balls) and new players for your team such as the White Mage from the Final Fantasy.

A problem with this game is that your CPU characters never help out. You can simply pass to them, and you'll take over for them. Your teammates will never block for you, help steal from the other team, or use items to assist you. This is all the while you have three opponents who WILL do all of the aforementioned tasks that your own teammates won't ever do. Not fair at all, and it will cause you to get frustrated in the later stages of the game combined with the steal-hungry CPU players. The confusing stylus controls don't offer anything intuitive either.

A handful of Final Fantasy characters
are included in Mario Hoops.

Mario Hoops isn't a horrible game though. It retains a lot of charm of the Mario franchise with some beautiful courts and catchy tunes. However, the difficulty of the game and your lackluster AI friends will only aggravate most gamers. Those expecting an easy game should look elsewhere as Mario Hoops is definitely not cake.

[SuperPhillip Says: 5.25/10]

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