Lately I've been thinking about it, and I've come to the conclusion that Mario Hoops: 3-on-3 was one of those early underrated gems on the Nintendo DS.
For those who've never played the game, it was basically basketball, but with Mario and co. And you collected coins by dribbling the ball on coin blocks that appeared on the floor of the court, which made it easier for you to make successful shots, or perform your 'super shots', or something - I forget now.
The game was made by Square-Enix, of all developers, and featured some Final Fantasy characters such as a mog, ninja, and white mage who you could unlock and play as in addition to Mario Bros. characters like Birdo and Koopa Paratroopa. Despite that, the game was surprisingly true to the usual Mario 'sports game' formula - and lots of fun.
I think the biggest flaw of Mario Hoops was its control scheme. While good, it was uncomfortable - kind of like Metroid Prime Hunters, except maybe not quite that bad. To dribble the ball, pass, make shots and steal the ball, you used the touch screen. Pretty much everything was done with the touch screen except moving around. And it worked mostly well, but was tiring.
The game also lacked online play, like most other DS titles from the first two years or so of the system's life. I think this was a huge missed opportunity for the game, because it probably would have been fun to play with others, and not many people play handheld games locally.
I'm surprised there hasn't been a sequel to Mario Hoops, though maybe that's because Square made the game and Nintendo doesn't have the rights to it, or something. I think it would make a great Wii-U or 3DS title, with some adjustments. It was as enjoyable as a round of Mario Golf or Tennis. Any sport game, it seems, is much more fun with Mario!
Now I did almost forget that there was a game on the Wii called Mario Sports Mix, and in that you could play basketball. It seems kind of similar to Hoops, though I still think Hoops was good enough on its own to be its own IP. I've never played it so I don't know how that turned out, but I'm curious what people thought of that game as well.
I'd like to get a little discussion going about Mario Hoops and find out what people thought of it. Did you play the game? Did you like it? And how about Mario Sports Mix?
I apologize if this blog comes out weird - it looks like adding images to forum posts is much more difficult than adding them to blogs.
And on a final note, I just wanted to say that I'm kind of a newb to the Nintendo forums here on GS - maybe you've seen me around lately, but this is the first time I've visited here frequently since about 2 years ago. So this is also kind of my hello to the regulars here on the Nintendo forum, new and old, and I hope I get to know some of you and maybe make some new friends here in coming months. Look forward to seeing ya'll around!