Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
Buy On
  1. With hours and hours of gameplay in the tournament mode alone this is worth a purchase. Then you add on tons of unlockables including Final Fantasy characters and different basketballs and you've got a instant purchase. Oh yeah then you add on the extra mini-games, the WiFi Basketball, and the WiFi Mario Kart-esque game and you've got a no-brainer must have game of the summer. [JPN Import]
  2. Games Master UK
    Unlike normal basketball, even a massive lead can be reversed in the dying seconds - and losing possession at the wrong moment can make a huge difference. Good work, Mazza. [Oct 2006, p.68]
  3. It takes a fun and lighthearted approach to the game. If you plan on playing multiplayer or for some reason really enjoy the Mario brand of sports, Mario Hoops will not disappoint.
  4. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    A fun Mario sports title and the best looking game on the DS. [Dec 2006, p.80]
  5. Mario Hoops is an innovative adaptation of the sport, and the multiplayer is worth trying, even with just two players.
  6. 80
    With its light-hearted gameplay and silly graphics, Mario Hoops probably won't win over a diehard basketball fan but it's entertaining enough to keep most gamers glued to the on-court action. Nintendo definitely shoots and scores with this one.
  7. 80
    It's a brilliant-looking game, developed by the artists at Square Enix, and it's great fun to boot. Just be ready for something quite different from the NBA.
  8. A fun take on basketball which proudly makes use of the Nintendo DS's best feature, the touch screen.
  9. The game is fun and has lots of replay value. The difficulty keeps it from getting old after a week. Though it could benefit from some more modes of play like other Mario sports games have.
  10. Although the control is quite innovative the overall gameplay just manages to make it over that average mark.
  11. If you got some competition in your area, you might want to look into getting a copy of Mario Hoops because the game is tailor made for multiplayer. If not, stick with a rental.
  12. Nintendo Power
    With enough practice against human opponents under your belt, you may eventually find play against the AI opponents to be more manageable. [Nov. 2006, p.85]
  13. Each game barely lasts more than five minutes, making it an ideal pick-up-and-play game, and the arcade feel is likely to impress even sports games haters.
  14. It's not so much that using the touch screen to control a basketball game doesn't work, it just didn't come together quite as well as it could have.
  15. If you’re looking for a portable sports title or just like the Mario sports series, you’ll certainly have a good time with Mario Hoops 3-on-3, but the slightly clunky controls and lack of online play firmly cement this title in the rental category for the majority of gamers.
  16. It's short on modes and asks you to replay the same tournaments on multiple difficulty settings, but the core gameplay in Mario Hoops is pretty good.
  17. Mario Hoops’ single player mode is very fun and very short. But this setup has worked in the past because it was countered by an addicting multiplayer experience. But 3 on 3 for the DS has no online play, or decent downloadable content, which means you’ll probably be shooting solo.
  18. Edge Magazine
    A Mario sports title that appeals beyond its ready-installed fanbase - strong, clean visuals and animation certainly help - but one that might not entrance them long enough to turn into major league love. [Oct 2006, p.95]
  19. My only complaint is that a lot of gamers will get bored long before they ever complete the single-player mode. But as long as you’ve got the Wi-Fi mode and some friends to play against, this might not be a questionable purchase.
  20. games(TM)
    While purists might complain about his increasingly frequent appearances in non-platform games, most of us can simply enjoy what is a tremendous piece of handheld software. [Nov 2006, p.106]
  21. Fun, frantic, and action-packed, Mario Slam Basketball is a good-looking game that lacks solid opposition.
  22. The detailed and distinctive visuals are a highlight on the system; the instant entertainment provides quick blast satisfaction; the control system takes full advantage of the DS capabilities.
  23. Nintendo Gamer
    Good in parts, but disappointingly light on features and poor value for money compared to most other Mario sports games. [JPN Import; Oct 2006, p.60]
  24. 68
    The gameplay just never reaches the presentation's level, and never quite gets up there with the likes of the other Mario sports on Nintendo handhelds and consoles.
  25. It’s a shame there’s no internet play, and you’ll need to take frequent breaks to avoid hand injuries, but the game definitely passes the time and is enjoyable.
  26. 65
    The idea is great and the execution can be very cumbersome, which is why I'm glad to see that Nintendo decided to allow for traditional controls, but I can see where Nintendo was really stretching on this one, which is sad considering how well designed it is on an artistic level.
  27. Game Informer
    I don't doubt that the DS can be a good system for sports, but I really don't think this is the way to go about it. [Oct. 2006, p.113]
  28. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Seriously, this one might as well be called Mario Hoops 1-on-3, as your teammates don't know the first thing about moving without the ball or helping out on D. [Oct. 2006, p.116]
  29. 60
    But the grand experiment of translating stylus swipes into intuitive no-look passes and alley-oops fails more often than it works, and that's the big "if" upon which the whole thing hangs.
  30. The touch screen controls aren't incredibly responsive and the mini games are about as interesting as the Utah Jazz.
  31. Mario Hoops betrays the tradition of quality inherent in other Mario sports titles, and proves to be a lot more style than substance. The stylus is not, in fact, perfect for every game type.
  32. Fast-paced stylus-swiping basketball action best suited to short matches against friends.
  33. Mario Hoops 3-on-3 is actually a very good simple basketball game, but the simplistic AI and chaos factor often prevent that from shining through.
  34. The wild combinations of touch-pad and direction keys required to play make this a game you might not wish to use on public transport, and it somehow lacks the charm of previous Mario-themed games. Good, but not great.
  35. 60
    Completely relying on the stylus to handle the ball is a bold design choice, but tends to feel unnecessary and rather gimmicky.
  36. AceGamez
    Mario Hoops 3-on-3 will go down in the history of the Nintendo DS that's worthy of mention as the first game to push the system to a new presentational level developers that will be working to equal for some time to come.
  37. It's not without its problems, is far too simple and lacking in features, but as sports games on the DS go, it's one of the best.
  38. Even though there are special challenges, tournaments, multiplayer options, a whole host of wicked unlockable characters and some intriguing courts to play on, Mario Hoops 3 on 3 seems lacking as a complete package.
  39. A decent, little game that's a bit too decent and way too little. It's good for a laugh or two, but it fails to capture the fast-paced fun factor of previous Mario sports titles.
  40. The controls, combined with the difficulty level, make the single-player game mind-numbingly frustrating.

Awards & Rankings

#19 Most Discussed DS Game of 2006
#19 Most Shared DS Game of 2006
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 46
  2. Negative: 3 out of 46
  1. Mar 3, 2015
    This game is okay, but the graphics look bad compared to Mario Sports Mix but nice for the DS. I know because I have a broken DS Lite orThis game is okay, but the graphics look bad compared to Mario Sports Mix but nice for the DS. I know because I have a broken DS Lite or dead,DSi,and a 3DS. The DS is the oldest in these 3. Full Review »
  2. Apr 4, 2017
    Mario Hoops 3 on 3 is a game that provides simple but addictive fun. I played it when I was around 12 years old, and I really got in to it.Mario Hoops 3 on 3 is a game that provides simple but addictive fun. I played it when I was around 12 years old, and I really got in to it. Nowadays I find it a little bit boring, and I can't tell if it's because i've grown up, or because I already played it too much back in the day. Anyway, this is a game i'd definitely recommend to any DS owner who's looking for a simple but entertaining title, in the likes of Mario Kart or Mario Party. It's a blast to play in multiplayer, but still manages to hold out well in single player.

    The game offers a good number of stages and characters, both from the Mario series as well as the Final Fantasy series (it was co-produced by Square Enix). There is a good amount of customization, like being able to choose a match's difficulty, lenght, the ball used and so on. A simple progression is present in this game in the form of unlocking new characters and stages to play in, which makes the game even more addictive. Aside from the main mode, there's also training mode and a bunch of special challenges, which were fun enough to keep me interested in them. As for the gameplay itself, the controls are intuitive and worked just fine for me. One thing I really liked is the ability to perform special moves, which differ from character to character.

    So to sum up, Mario Hoops 3 on 3 is a game I can recommend. Good for single player, great for multiplayer. It has a decent level of polish and simple but addictive gameplay that I really enjoyed back in its day.

    Score: 8.2
    Full Review »
  3. SuperRater
    Dec 17, 2009
    This game is fairly fun. With many different unlockables and super attacks this is a truely fun basketball game. The online aspect of the This game is fairly fun. With many different unlockables and super attacks this is a truely fun basketball game. The online aspect of the game isn't to bad either. The only problem with this game is it doesn't gave enough playable modes. Just some exibition games, tournaments, and a few minigames made this game fun, but it didn't make it awsome. This game is defenitally worth buying if you like a game where you jump around and dunk a lot. Full Review »