rick filosofeert

elitair, elegant, arrogant, sinds 14 mei 1977

Mario Basketball

Some people will tell you Basketball is a bit like football, where you score goals, and he, who scores the most goals wins. They are wrong. Basketball is more like a race, where you have to keep up scoring, and not fall behind. The individual goal is reduced to a necessity, instead of a moment of ecstasy. No Peter-Crouch-Robotic-dance here.

Luckily, Mario Hoops 3-on-3 isn’t that kind of Basketball. It might be likened more to Speedball II. Scoring is important, but just scoring more goals than the other is not enough. It is how you combine the goals with bonus points, is how you win.
Mario Hoops 3-on-3 lets you play basketball in a team of 3 Mario favourites. The game is structured in tournaments. Every round has different Nintendo or Final Fantasy opponents and its own courts.
The intuitive control system is the basis of the game. The first DS games showed you how to use the stylus. In this game, you go one step further. You use the D-pad (or XYAB for lefties like me) to control your player and the stylus to control dribbling and shooting. You could imagine it as free-flowing Robotron. A shot or a dunk is one simple stroke, passing is done by drawing a line on the out zoomed playing field between two players.

Every goal gives you 20 points, plus the number of coins you have collected. You get coins by dribbling over a question mark, or by stealing them away from your opponent. Those question marks have a meaning when you don’t have the ball. They give you familiar Mario-kart items like the red-shell and the lightning bolt.

At Rodent towers we didn’t like Mario Baseball, as it was just a simplistic baseball game, with some Mario characters. This is different. Square Enix developed it first as a new series, but then decided to license the Mario characters. As a result it is a nice little game, and just playing match can be done in a few minutes, excellent for handheld playing.
It is also game you will learn to hate. It might be my own crapness, but seldom I have felt so helpless when playing a game, as when some final fantasy Mage dribbled around me. On the other hand once you see Donkey Kong dunking and the whole court is trembling as a result, you will watch the replay over and over again.

I haven’t said anything about the graphics yet, but it is good to see the 3D on the DS going from strength to strength. There was a leap made from Mario 64 DS to Mario Kart DS and now there is another leap. The courts are filled with nice little things and even the hoops contain characters. There is one court where you can’t dunk, because Petey Paranha is the basket.
Multi-player is played one on one. It was believed that the game would be playable via the Nintendo Wifi-connection, but it is not. Wireless and download play is supported though.
Although I wonder why Square Enix wanted Mario in this game, the diversity of the characters does mean you can develop an own style of play. The princess seems to dance through an army of big bad boys, and DK just flattens his opponents
It comes highly recommend then. There aren’t many sports games on the DS and even less original ones. The control system of the game gives the game that typical DS feeling of something different. And it is that feeling which allows the DS to continually renew my love for gaming.

Mario Basketball 3-on-3 is out in Japan and, if you fancy importing you'll be okay - the use of Japanese is only minimal, and the tutorial is completely done with pictures. It will be eleased on September 11th in the US (as Mario Hoops 3-on-3) and November 10th in Europe (as Mario Slam Basketball).