Disney Sports Basketball is a three-on-three basketball game featuring characters from the Disney universe. Clearly, the game is intended to be an entry-level title for younger kids who haven't quite grasped the intricacies of basketball. Unfortunately, the game suffers from a vast array of frustrating and obnoxious problems, making it practically unplayable by any audience.
Disney Sports Basketball has all the standard modes of play. In the season mode, you begin by choosing from one of several teams, each consisting of one known Disney character--such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy--and two generic characters. You then play through a regular season, which essentially involves all the teams playing each other and the two teams with the most wins in the end going on to the championship. There is also a challenge cup mode, which pits you against every team in the game until you've beaten them all; an all-star game mode, where you do away with all the generic players and build a team using the featured Disney players; and an exhibition mode, where up to four players can compete against each other. This is all well and good, but once you actually begin to play Disney Sports Basketball, the dreadful gameplay renders all these modes utterly meaningless.
Much of the fault lies with the control scheme. On offense, the A button shoots and the B button causes your player to back down, which is the equivalent of stopping and holding the ball away from a defender. You pass by pressing X or Y, which in turn throws the ball to the player assigned to that button. On defense, B is the steal button, and A acts as the rebound/shot block button. Of course, none of these buttons actually work properly. The game's definition of rebounding seems to be jumping up after a shot and simply hoping for the best, as it is impossible to properly ascertain where the ball is likely to come down. Blocking is so insanely timing-based that the function might as well not even exist. As for steals, the CPU team can steal quite well. Players, however, will have a much more difficult time.
There is also a turbo function that can be performed by pressing the R and L buttons. The game's scoring system is based on a fever meter than builds up as you score points. Pressing the turbo buttons and the shoot button when your fever meter is at its peak performs one of the game's many "special" shots, which give you more points than a normal basket. The trouble is, rather than act as a way for teams to come from behind, this gameplay mechanic more often than not rewards the team already in the lead, as your meter will build up with every basket, regardless of style or poise. On top of all of this is the game's lousy AI, which cannot be predicted or reasoned with in any way. Sometimes it will be so insanely difficult that it will make every shot and steal the ball every time you drive into the lane, and other times the CPU players will just stand around doing nothing, allowing you to score as they stand idly by.
Disney Sports Basketball also has very little going for it in the way of visual or audio presentation. Nothing animates especially well, largely due to the fact that the game seems to contain only the barest minimum of animations for every action--there's one blocking animation, one basic jump shot animation, and a very limited number of dull-looking dunk animations that get old fast. There are some celebration animations that are used after a basket, but they're used after practically every basket, making them more of a nuisance than anything else. The game also has an amazing habit of fading to black for two to three seconds after every single basket made. The Disney characters themselves look fairly decent during the few video sequences than present themselves, but during gameplay they all look small and pixelated and move about in an incredibly jerky fashion. Very little in the way of dialogue is featured in the game, save for a bit of trash talking between characters that is more pathetic than funny. There is an in-game commentator, but there's no reason anyone should listen to him. Thanks to his atrocious dialogue and the astoundingly bad audio editing, he's in the running for worst in-game sports commentator ever.
Disney Sports Basketball is terrible on all fronts. As a basketball game, it falls short in every conceivable way, suffering from a horrid scoring system, lousy shooting mechanics, and completely useless rebounding. As a Disney-themed game, it misuses its characters horribly, throwing them into lazily designed environments and sticking them with the most lackluster animations you'll ever find in a game featuring animated characters. The final nail in the coffin is the game's bizarre difficulty level, which makes it completely worthless for the younger audience it's aimed at. Ultimately, Disney Sports Basketball has no redeeming qualities, and it should be avoided by basketball fans and Disney fans alike.