Mario Hoops 3-on-3, known as Mario Slam Basketball in European languages, is a Mario sports game developed by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS. It features Mario and his friends participating in basketball with two competing teams of three characters. This game is the first Mario sports game to be dedicated around basketball. While the game plays with the traditional basketball rules of shooting the ball into a net, various Mario-themed mechanics are incorporated into the game to differentiate from the real sport. For example, players can dribble the ball into ? Panels to obtain coins that better their score whenever a shot is taken, and when on defense, these ? Panels provide Mario series items to use against the opposition. Players can additionally perform Special Shots to ensure that the ball makes it into the hoop. Unlike most other Mario sports titles, Mario Hoops 3-on-3 is controlled entirely by the touchscreen, with nearly all moves using swipe or tapping controls via the Nintendo DS stylus. The game supports local play with multiple cartridges and download play with a single cartridge, and it supports up to four players.
On defense, players can attempt to steal the ball from their opponents, though players can successfully steal the ball only if they swipe directly where the ball is at. When the offensive team is passing the ball, players can intercept passes by either walking in front of their opponent or jumping to retrieve high passes. Jumping can also prevent shots at the basket from being made, and it can retrieve shots that are rebounded from the basket rim. Players can additionally block the dribbling player from going by. When this occurs, a blue force field is formed in front of that character between the dribbling and defensive player and when enough time passes, the shield turns red, meaning players can perform a more powerful steal that can knock any players down regardless of where the ball is. Another attack move is a ground pound-like move, where characters pound the ground to cause their opponent to drop the ball. Sidestepping causes players to make quick, trickier movements to disorient opponents and to help snatch the ball from them. While on defensive, players can run over the same ? Panels that give out coins on offensive to obtain a special defensive item. These items can be used to attack opponent characters, and some of these items are exclusive to some courts in the game. Players can also swap between their teammates with to get in a closer position with the ball handler.
Scoring is slightly different in Mario Hoops 3-on-3 than in a real world basketball game. Each shot made is worth 20 points rather than 2 points. Shots made outside of what is normally the 3-point line are worth 30 points (therefore, the basic shot is multiplied by 10 in Mario Hoops 3-on-3). Special shots, regardless of position are worth 40 points. To compound the points, coins received from ? Panel increase the number of points players obtain whenever they score. Regular coins add 1 point each to the score, and red coins add 10 points to the score. Every time a team makes a basket, their coins are reset to zero. Getting hit, either from items or other players, results in some of the player's coins scattering on the field, which can be picked up by anyone, including the character who lost them. The limit to the number of coins one team can have is 100 (therefore the maximum normal score for one shot is 140, and for Jr. Street, the maximum score is 420), and the more coins one has, the more are lost on a hit. If there are no ? Panels, then the shot value is divided by ten, making normal shots worth two points, three-pointers worth three, and special shots worth four.
Tourneys are the equivalent of tournaments in the Mario Kart series. After picking a team of three, players go on to compete in a set of matches (2 periods of 2:30 each), each on a different course specific to the tourney. The overall display of the tournament is sprite-based and a traditional Mario-style, where characters stand on blocks and can hit more blocks above them to showcase advancement. When the player beats the first team, the captain hits a block with a Beanstalk in it and gets to climb said Beanstalk, and the losing CPU captain hits a solid Empty Block and starts crying. The gold trophy stands at the top of this screen, with a ? Block below it. The player goes through Round 1, Round 2, and the Finals. Each time the player loses a match, the player can retry as many times as necessary. 2b1af7f3a8