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Mario Hoops 3-on-3

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Mario Hoops 3-on-3
North American boxart for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
For alternate box art, see the game's gallery.
Developer Square Enix
Nintendo SPD Group No.4
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) Nintendo DS; Virtual Console (Wii U)
Release date Nintendo DS:
Japan July 27, 2006
ROC July 27, 2006
USA September 11, 2006
Australia October 26, 2006
Europe February 16, 2007
Virtual Console (Wii U):
Japan May 11, 2016
Europe May 26, 2016
Australia May 27, 2016
USA November 3, 2016
Genre Sports
ESRB:E - Everyone
PEGI:3 - Three years and older
CERO:A - All ages
ACB:PG - Parental Guidance
USK:6 - Six years and older
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
Wii U:
Digital download
Nintendo DS:
Game Card
Wii U:
Nintendo DS:

Mario Hoops 3-on-3, titled Mario Slam Basketball in Europe, is a sports game developed by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS. It is a basketball game in the Super Mario franchise featuring Mario and his friends participating in basketball with two competing teams of three characters. While the game plays with the traditional basketball rules of shooting the ball into a net, various Super 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 Super Mario franchise 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 sports games of the Super Mario franchise, 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.

Originally, the game was meant to be an original intellectual property, but Square Enix felt that it would work well if it were a part of the Super Mario franchise, and so Square Enix contacted Nintendo, who then allowed it to use the Super Mario label. Due to Square Enix being the developer of this game, this game is the first game that has Super Mario and Final Fantasy characters appear together as playable characters, in addition to other Final Fantasy elements present in this title.

A follow-up to this game, Mario Sports Mix, also developed by Square Enix, was released for the Wii in 2010, with the basketball sport returning from this game, while also including other sports as other modes.

The game was released on the Wii U's Virtual Console in 2016, with Japan receiving it first on May 11, 2016.


Sherbet Land
Gameplay in Sherbet Land

Mario Hoops 3-on-3 plays with traditional basketball controls and rules, with competitions being played between two teams of three characters (hence the "3-on-3" in the game's title). The goal of the game is to amass the most points by shooting the ball into a raised net onto a particular side of the court; in the player's case, the hoop is always ahead of the player rather than behind, even while switching courts. The player's team of three is identified with red colors, while blue colors represent the opponent team's players. Most of the gameplay in this title is controlled by using the touch screen capabilities, such as dribbling the ball, performing dodging movements, and shooting the ball. The only exceptions are moving a character, which is controlled by the +Control Pad, and a special form of passing, which uses the L Button button. This default control scheme assumes that all players are right-handed, and it can be switched around with the A Button, B Button, X Button, and Y Button buttons controlling movement and the R Button button for passing for left-handed players in the settings menu.

All matches start at half court, with the center of each team preparing to jump for the ball that Lakitu will release at the start. The player who successfully catches the ball while jumping obtains possession of the ball. While in possession of the ball, players have many various options. Players can move around with the ball, dribbling ? Panels for coins that help them obtain more points if they successfully score a basket or pass the ball towards another teammate. Players can evade attacking opponents by moving the ball away from them via dribbling the ball into a different area than where the opponent will attack. Players can attempt to aim for the hoop by swiping up on the touch screen, though they can increase accuracy of their aim by charging up the ball beforehand. If players run up to the basket and perform a shot, they will dunk the ball into the hoop. If the ball rebounds from the backboard, players can jump up and dunk the ball in to ensure the ball goes through the net. Some evasive maneuvers against opponents include making quick turns to avoid opponents in a pinch, and, while charging, players can move the ball around to prevent steals.

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 L Button to get in a closer position with the ball handler.

Diddy Kong about to score 140 pts.
The player already has 100 coins, making it (if the player scores) the highest possible score outside of Jr. Street, 140 pts.

One shot unique to Mario Hoops 3-on-3 are the Special Shots. These are initiated when the player controlling the ball taps the screen below in rapid succession to create a particular symbol. For example, to activate Mario's special shot, the player has to tap the dots that make up the letter "M" on the bottom screen. Each character has a set symbol for them, and they can all be shown in the game's respective practice mode demonstrating the Special Shots, where the shape is outlined. When performing the Special Move, the performing character cannot move and is thus susceptible to opponent attacks. If Special Shots are performed within the 3-point line, they cannot be stopped, though Special Shots performed outside the 3-point line require a teammate to receive the ball and thus can be stopped. If successful, Special Shots are worth more points than regular shots.

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.

Matches are played in at least two periods lasting two and a half minutes. At the end of each period, each team's coin count is reset to 0, the teams switch baskets, and another jump-ball at half court is initiated. Whichever team has the most points overall when all periods are finished, wins the match.


The title screen with all four modes

Mario Hoops 3-on-3 has a total of four modes. In addition to these modes, settings and records can be accessed when players touch the wrench or paper sign the respective Toad is holding up.


The Challenges mode contains both practice modes and then an extra challenge-like mode after completing the main practice mode.


Practice game skills to use during games. Choose a skill you want to practice from the menu.

As Mario, players practice basic techniques upon starting the game, then advanced techniques after winning the first tourney (Offense 2 and Defense 2). If a defensive character is needed for practice, it is always Wario.

The following is a table of each lesson, which explains the control mechanism for each move, as well as each exercise to practice the lesson. If the requirement is just a number, the player must do the move that number of times. If it's a time limit, the player has that much time to do that objective (i.e. block a player from dunking).

Mario Hoops Rules
A demo is shown of a game between Mario, Luigi and Peach vs. Wario, Waluigi and Paratroopa, showing what is possible once practice is complete.
# Lesson Move Exercise Requirement
01 Dribble! Tapping the touch screen causes whoever has to ball to dribble in the direction the touch screen was tapped. Dribbling on ? Panels produces coins. Collect coins quickly! 0:30
02 Guard the ball! Dribbling away from an opponent player is important to avoid a simple steal. Guard the ball for 20 seconds! 0:20
03 Shoot the ball! Players stroke the stylus up to shoot the ball towards the hoop. Aim for the basket! 3
04 Do a charge shot! By holding the stylus down on a touch screen for a few seconds, the ball will "charge up". Upon shooting, there is greater accuracy. Do a charge shot! 3
05 Pass! Stroking sideways left or right passes to the teammate in that direction. Pass the ball around! 5
06 Run and dribble! By dribbling in the same direction as the character moves, the player will pick up speed. This is essential to grab as many coins as possible from ? Panels. Chase the ? Panel! 1:00
07 Quick-dash! By dribbling in one direction and then turning in the same direction, the player will make a quick turn, perhaps avoiding trouble. Quick-dash! 8
08 Dunk the ball! By stroking up while running near the basket, the player will dunk the ball. Dunk 3 times! 3
Offense 2
# Lesson Move Exercise Requirement
09 Do a fake! When charging, it is possible to move the stylus around to move the ball around. Thus, simple steals can be avoided and the ball can still be shot. Fake, then do a charge shot! 3
10 Rebound-dunk! If the ball doesn't quite go in from a normal shot and is bouncing on the rim, the player can approach it like a dunk to regain control and score. Rebound-dunk! 3
11 Charge-dunk! When dunking, the player can swipe up again, then start rubbing the screen to gain coins. Swiping down ends the dunk. Charge-dunk! 3
12 Do a trick! When moving, swiping down and then again left or right causes the character to quickly move sideways, possibly getting by defenders. Use trick moves! 3
13 Direct-pass! While holding down L and then stroking in any direction, it is possible to pass in any direction, instead of the character automatically moving to a position. Make a direct-pass! 4
# Lesson Move Exercise Requirement
01 Steal the ball! Stroking down causes a simple steal attempt. The steal must be placed where the ball is, not just at the opponent. The ball then comes loose, giving the opposing team a chance to get the ball. Steal the ball! 3
02 Jump! Stroking up means to jump on defense. It can be used to deflect and block both simple and charged shots, with good timing. Jump and block! 3
03 Jump-steal! Stroking up while jumping causes the player to do a steal motion in the air. Likewise, it can lodge loose a ball about to be dunked, if the timing's right. Jump-steal to guard the hoop! 3
04 Items When ? Panels are run over on defense, an item is produced and, in the example here, a Green Shell is thrown in the direction the stylus is stroked. Hit Wario with a shell! 3
05 Swap characters! Pressing L changes control to the player closest to the ball. Stroking sideways left or right while pressing L changes to that character regardless of proximity to the ball. Switch players! 4
Defense 2
# Lesson Move Exercise Requirement
06 Block 'em! Rubbing the stylus causes the character to create a small blue force field in front of them, and move around with it. Opponents can't get by this field. Block Wario! 0:20
07 Charge-steal! Eventually the force field will turn red. Stroking down then will cause a stronger steal that can knock down any player. Charge-steal! 3
08 Drop-steal! Jumping and then stroking down causes the character to do a ground-pound related move. The opponent can drop the ball within a wider range than a simple steal. Make 'em drop it! 3
09 Sidestep! Stroking left or right causes the character to quickly move sideways. They can sneak up on an opponent and catch them off-guard by doing a simple steal. Sidestep and steal! 3
10 Rebound! Catching the ball by jumping as the ball bounces around the opponents' rim is known as rebounding. It requires some timing to when the ball is at a low point. Nab a rebound! 3
Free Practice
With Mario, Luigi and Peach, any move can be practiced here.
To play defense, the player can pass-direct down, but there are no real opponents to practice most defensive maneuvers.
Special Shots[edit]

Practice dribbling commands of players who've mastered their special shots!

Players can practice Special Shots with any player unlocked. It acts like a lesson, with the objective to do the special shot 3 times from anywhere on the court, with two other characters supplied for alley-hoops. In this mode, the specific shape and order needed to make the proper Special Shot with a particular character is always displayed.

Dribble Race (Time Trial)[edit]

Get 100 coins from ? panels and head for the goal! Beat the best time!

This extra mode allows the player to pick any character and try to gather 100 coins from ? Panels and cross the finish time in as little time as possible. There are three of these mini-courses, and to unlock the last one, the preset records must be beaten in the first two.

  • Peach's Castle - Green Shells come out of three pipes. Each ? Panel has 10 coins. (45 sec)
  • Sunshine Road - Metal flatteners line this course. Most ? Panels have 5 coins. (55 sec)
  • Rainbow Road - Blue fireballs erupt out from under the course. Colorful Bombs can be found here. Most ? Panels have 5 coins. (1 min)


Bowser Jr., Mario, and Yoshi rejoice in winning the Mushroom Tourney.
Yoshi's team rejoices in winning the Mushroom Tourney.

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 Super 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.

When the Final Fantasy team steals the trophy after the Rainbow Cup, the ? Block reveals a beanstalk, which the captain climbs up to the Rainbow Ship, initiating the Extra match.

There are four tourneys, and they nearly follow suit with the Mario Kart series in being named Mushroom, Flower, Star and Rainbow. Once all four tourneys are won, their respective hard mode versions are unlocked. Each of the eight tourneys receives a bronze, silver, or gold trophy (separate from the automatic trophy presented upon winning, this is like a grade on how well the player did). They are determined as follows:

  • Gold - Winning all matches by having a 200 or more point advantage against all CPU teams in the tourneys
  • Silver - Winning all matches by a 100 or more point advantage against all CPU teams in the tourneys
  • Bronze - Winning the tournament

Upon winning the tournament, players have the option to advance to the next tourney. If players complete Rainbow Tourney, the staff credits roll.


Players can choose a team of three characters from a pool of available characters, even the opponent's players if desired (each spot left blank is chosen randomly), and jump into any course played and won in Tourney Mode. There are some settings to alter in the match:

  • Time per Period: 1:40, 2:00, 2:30 (default), 3:00, 3:20.
  • # of Periods: 2 (default), 4.
  • ? Panels: On (default), Off. If off, shots inside the outer line are worth two points, outside of the line three, and special shots worth four.
  • CPU Level: 1 (Amateur), 2 (Weak, default), 3 (Normal), 4 (Tough), 5 (Brutal), 6* (Pro).

*Unlocked after winning Hard Rainbow Tourney.

After the match, the player can play with the same settings or quit the mode.


This is the multiplayer mode of Mario Hoops. DS Wireless Play includes three modes, while DS Download only includes two of those three.


Mario Hoops Face-off! Game results will be recorded in the player ranking. Win matches to earn points and rank up!

The single mode that is limited to multi-card play, Exhibition mode has up to two players to choose their team of 3 players and face off against each other, subject to the default basketball rules and settings as normal Exhibition Mode.

Dribble Race[edit]

Dribble Race Versus Friends! Nab 100 coins from ? panels and beat everyone to the goal!

Same as Dribble Race Mode, except it is not a time trial: the first to cross the finish line with 100 coins wins. The mode is available to up to four players.

Coin Hunter[edit]

Coin Hunting with Friends! Throw items and scramble for coins! Hold on to coins until the end to win!

This is a non-basketball related mode that draws heavily on Mario Kart's battle mode. Each player (up to 4) starts with 50 coins. Players then use items to reduce the other player's coins. The single player remaining with coins wins. In a three or four-player game, players eliminated early can stick around to annoy players still in the competition (similar to Mario Kart 64). There are four courses; the last two are unlockable by winning five of these battles in a row.

Options and player rank[edit]

Toad in Mario Hoops 3-on-3 Toad in Mario Hoops 3-on-3
The Toads found on the main menu.

On each bottom corner of the game's main menu, a Toad can be found holding a sign. The Toad on the left holds a sign with a wrench on it. When clicked on, the players access the option menu. Here, they can view and edit their profile, which consists of their name, rank, multiplayer win rate and record icon, and ball choice. The players can choose any of the playable characters as their icon, which is displayed to their friends. The ball icon brings up a menu in which the players can choose which ball to display as well. This ball will be the one played with in the respective player's games. The other features the options menu allow is to select the player's handedness, allow the help (face) buttons to be used in play, and allow "Call-outs." If "call-outs" is turned on, the player can receive invites from challengers while they are in the middle of a game. The other Toad on the main menu brings up the player rank menu if clicked on. Here, the players can view where they rank amongst their friends. They can also view friend's profiles and sort out their friends lists using a "favorites" feature.


The overall gameplay for Mario Hoops 3-on-3 can be controlled using the Stylus or the buttons of the Nintendo DS.

Command Buttons Stylus
Common Controls
Move Point the +Control Pad in the desired direction. none
Jump Press X Button when the selected character does not have the ball. Stroke the Stylus from the bottom of the Touch Screen up when the selected character is without the ball.
Swap Characters Press L Button when the selected character does not have the ball and the player will switch to the character closest to the ball handler. Press L Button and stroke the Stylus when without the ball and the player will be switched in the direction of the stroke.
Offensive Controls (when the player is in possession of the ball)
Shoot Press X Button Stroke Stylus from the bottom of the Touch Screen to the top.
Pass left Press Y Button Stroke Stylus to the left.
Pass right Press A Button Stroke Stylus to the right.
Dribble Press B Button Tap Touch Screen with Stylus
Dunk shot Press X Button while moving towards the hoop. Stroke Stylus from the bottom of the Touch Screen to the top while moving towards the hoop.
Charge-dunk Press X Button to begin the dunk then press and hold X Button. Swipe up with the Stylus to begin the dunk then rapidly rub the screen with the Stylus
Charge shot Hold down B Button and X Button simultaneously. Press and hold the Stylus on the Touch Screen.
Special shot none Enter the selected character's command by tapping the Stylus in the appropriate pattern.
Defensive Controls (when the player is without the ball)
Sidestep left Press Y Button Stroke the Stylus to the left.
Sidestep right Press A Button Stroke the Stylus to the right.
Steal Press B Button Stroke the Stylus from top the bottom.
Throw items Press B Button Stroke the Stylus in the desired direction that the item wishes to be thrown in.
Block Hold down B Button Press and hold the Touch Screen with the Stylus
Jump-steal Double tap X Button Swipe up twice with the Stylus
Drop-steal Press X Button then B Button Swipe up then down with the Stylus

Special Shot Commands[edit]

See also: Special Shot
Mario and his special shot shown in the practice special shot selection screen.

Special Shot commands can only be executed by tapping the Touch Screen at the vertices of a certain pattern. This pattern must be created twice. The total number of taps with the Stylus on the Touch Screen to activate each shot varies depending on the required shot command type. If the Special Shot user is outside the 3-point line, they will instead shoot the ball towards a teammate, who then has to make a slam dunk. This also applies to characters whose Special Shots end in slam dunks themselves, resulting in unique animations for passing to teammates.

Command Type Total Number of Taps Special Shot Character Description
The "M" Special Shot 10 Fireshotmsbb.png
Fire Shot
Mario Mario dribbles the ball in an "M" shape, engulfing it in flames and tossing it into the hoop.
Flutter Dunk.png
Flutter Dunk
Yoshi Yoshi grabs the ball and flutter kicks upward to make a slam dunk.
Jet Shot
Jet Shot
Diddy Kong Diddy uses his Barrel Jet to soar up high and toss the ball down into the hoop.
MH33 Konga Dunk.png
Konga Dunk
Donkey Kong Donkey Kong slams the ground repeatedly, then jumps to make a slam dunk.
Moogle Dance
Moogle Dance
Moogle Moogle bounces with the ball and rolls it around before tossing it into the hoop.
The "L" Special Shot 6 Green Fire Shot.png
Green Fire Shot
Luigi Luigi hurls a smoking green basketball into the hoop.
The "▽" Special Shot 7* Cannon Shot.png
Cannon Shot
Dixie Kong Dixie summons a cannon and loads the ball into it before blasting it into the hoop.
Birdo performing her Egg Shot
Egg Shot
Birdo Birdo throws and catches the ball with her snout, then fires it into the hoop.
Flower Shot.png
Flower Shot
Daisy Daisy surrounds herself with flowers, orbiting the ball around her before tossing it into the hoop.
Heart Shot
Peach Peach creates hearts around herself, jumps upward and propels the ball into the hoop.
The "W" Special Shot 10 MoveItDunk.png
Move-It Dunk
Wario Wario creates a "W" around him before charging forward and dunking the ball.
Twist Dunk.png
Twist Dunk
Waluigi Waluigi creates whirlwinds around the ball and tosses it up, "swimming" upward in the air to dunk it.
The "B" Special Shot 10 BomberDunk MH3on3.png
Bomber Dunk
Bowser Bowser stomps repeatedly and sets the ball ablaze, then jumps up high to make a slam dunk.
Graffiti Shot
Graffiti Shot
Bowser Jr. Bowser Jr. swipes at the ball with his magic brush, then strikes it into the hoop.
Boo performing its Thriller Dunk
Thriller Dunk
Boo Boo unleashes several copies of itself to enshroud the ball before spiking it into the hoop.
The "N" Special Shot 8 Leaf Veil
Leaf Veil
Ninja Ninja elevates the ball upwards and vanishes in smoke, reappearing higher to make a slam dunk.
Wing Shot.png
Wing Shot
Paratroopa Paratroopa grabs the ball and soars towards the hoop for a slam dunk.
The Holy Shot 11 Holy Shot
Holy Shot
White Mage White Mage summons magic blue symbols, turning the ball into a comet which flies down into the hoop.
Meteor Shot
Meteor Shot
Black Mage Black Mage summons magic purple symbols, summoning a meteor shower which carries the ball down into the hoop.
The "S" Special Shot 8 1000 Needles
1000 Needles
Cactuar Cactuar tosses the ball up and corkscrew jumps high up to headbutt it, falling through the hoop with the ball.
Thunder Shot.png
Thunder Shot
Fly Guy Fly Guy wields a spear enveloped in lightning and skewers the ball, sending it high up to dive down into the hoop.

* - Even though the command type "▽" has three points, the first set of taps is not complete until the player hits the first point again. This makes the first set of commands a total of four taps. Thus, the player must tap again four more times to create another triangle.


Playable characters[edit]

The character selection screen from Mario Hoops 3-on-3.
The game's starting characters in the Select Characters screen.

Mario Hoops 3-on-3 has twenty-one playable characters, five of them being from Square Enix's Final Fantasy franchise. Ten characters are playable from the start, with the other eleven being unlockable (See the Unlockables section for the methods of unlocking each character). There are five different character types, listed at the side, each character type having its own pros and cons. Additionally, all twenty-one characters have a special move called a Special Shot, with each character having their own unique Special Shot. Each of the character's "Baller Names" originate from the game's official website.[1]

Character types
  • All-Around characters are balanced, with no high stats or low stats.
  • Technical characters have good aim, though they can be slow and weak.
  • Speedy characters are very weak; however, they are quick to go around.
  • Powerful characters are very slow, but are good at stealing and have a far shot.
  • Tricky characters have one large stat; the rest are rather low, although they have trick moves. All characters that fly or levitate fall under this type.

Starting characters[edit]

Name Special Shot Baller Name
All-Around Characters
Mario icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Fire Shot "The Jumpman"
Luigi icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Green Fire Shot "Mushroom Dynamite"
Yoshi icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Flutter Dunk "Piranha Playa Hater"
Technical Characters
Princess Peach icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Heart Shot "3-point Royalty"
Princess Daisy icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Flower Shot "Cash Money Coin Collector"
Waluigi icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Twist Dunk "The Question"
Powerful Characters
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Konga Dunk "Dunky Monkey"
Wario icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Move-It Dunk "Sir Stomp"
Speedy Characters
Bowser Jr.
Bowser Jr. icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Graffiti Shot "Masked Man"
Diddy Kong
Diddy Kong icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Jet Shot "Diddy? No he didn't!"

Unlockable characters[edit]

Name Special Shot Baller Name
All-Around Characters
Egg Shot "Diamond Dino"
Leaf Veil "Mr. Invincible"
Technical Characters
White Mage
White Mage
Holy Shot "The Light"
Powerful Characters
Bowser icon for Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Bomber Dunk "The Big Shell"
Speedy Characters
Dixie Kong
Dixie Kong
Cannon Shot None
1000 Needles "Stick and Sting"
Tricky Characters
Wing Shot None
Thriller Dunk None
Fly Guy
Fly Guy
Thunder Shot None
Moogle Dance "Game & Watch Me"
Black Mage
Black Mage
Meteor Shot "Abracadabra Kid"

Costume changes[edit]

Some of the game's unlockable features include costume changes for some of the characters. These costume changes range from completely changing the color of a character to just changing their outfit. To activate these costume changes, the player must hold down one of the sides of the +Control Pad after selecting the appropriate character.

Characters with only one costume change
The following characters' costume changes are activated by pressing any direction on the +Control Pad:

Image Description
Peach with a skirt
Peach's basketball shorts change to a pink skirt.
Daisy with a skirt
Same as Peach's costume change, except Daisy's is a yellow skirt.
Blue Ninja
Ninja's red outfit becomes an indigo one.
White Mage dressed in purple and pink
White Mage
White Mage's hair changes from pink to purple. The red fabric on her dress and her shoes changes from red to magenta as well. Lastly, the jewel on her chest changes from blue to red.
Black Mage dressed in brown and green
Black Mage
Black Mage's robe is altered from blue to light brown. His tan hat becomes lime green, and his gloves and pants change from brown to black.

Characters with multiple costume variations
The following characters' costume changes allows the player to change their character appearance to the following four colors: blue, green, red, and yellow.

Image Description
Yellow YoshiLight Blue YoshiRed Yoshi
For Yoshi, if the player selects left on the +Control Pad, they go from a Green Yoshi to a Yellow one. If the player selects right on the +Control Pad, they become a Light Blue Yoshi. If the player selects up or down on the +Control Pad, they play as a Red Yoshi.
Yellow Fly GuyLight Blue Fly GuyGreen Fly Guy
Fly Guy
To become a Yellow or Light Blue Fly Guy, the same method for Yoshi applies. However, if the player chooses up or down on the +Control Pad, Fly Guy will become a Green Fly Guy.

Non-playable characters[edit]

Name Court Appearance(s) Description

Blooper in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Bloocheep Sea and Mario Classic 2-2 Bloopers are obstacles that swim around the court. They cause the ball to deflect into the air if they make contact with it.

Bob-omb in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Wario Factory Bob-ombs are special items that walk around the court. They can be picked up and thrown towards a character, causing an explosion.

Bomb (species) in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Bowser's Castle and Rainbow Road Bombs come from ? Panels. They run towards the players, setting them on fire and causing them to lose the ball and coins.
Cheep Cheep

8-bit Cheep Cheep in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Peach Field, Bloocheep Sea, and Mario Classic 2-2 Cheep Cheeps appear as obstacles in Peach Field, where they jump out of the water below onto the court. They give coins if dribbled on. In Bloocheep Sea, 8-bit versions appear in the background.
Dry Bones

Dry Bones in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Pirate Ship A picture of a Dry Bones' face is the backboard for both hoops in Pirate Ship.
Fire Bar

Fire Bar in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Mario Classic 8-4 Fire Bars set the players on fire if the two make contact, causing them to lose their coins as well.

A ghost in the Luigi's Mansion court in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Luigi's Mansion Ghosts take the ball if it comes in their direction. The players must jump to the Ghosts to retrieve it.
Gooper Blooper


Pirate Ship Gooper Blooper surrounds the ship with his tentacles and swings them at any player who is too close.


All Lakitu performs the jump ball on every court. Additionally, two Lakitus serve as the hoops in Peach Field.

Malboro in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Malboro Garden One Malboro is situated behind each basket. They breathe purple, toxic gas if the player gets too close. Their poison causes the same effect that Poison Mushrooms do.
Petey Piranha

Petey Piranha in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Daisy Garden Petey Piranha serves as both baskets on this court. They hit the player if they try to dunk. This is bypassed if the player collects a Star or if Petey falls asleep.

Lava Bubble in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Bowser's Castle and Rainbow Road Podoboos jump from small puddles of lava scattered throughout the court. They set the player on fire, thus, causing a loss of coins if the two make contact.

Sushi's cameo in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Bloocheep Sea A Sushi chasing Cheep Cheeps appears in the background of the court.

Thwomp in Mario Hoops 3-on-3

Bowser's Castle and Mario Classic 8-4 Thwomps are hidden under ? Panels and try to crush players below.

Mario Stadium crowd[edit]

The following characters make cameos as distant members of the crowd in Mario Stadium:


The fourth course of each tourney (excluding Rainbow Ship) is an unlockable and can played only in Exhibition Mode. The rest of the courts are played in Tourney Mode as well.

Mushroom Tourney[edit]

Image Description
Mario Stadium
Mario Stadium
The basic basketball stadium, with no hazards.
Koopa Beach
Koopa Beach
Pirate ships shoot cannonballs onto the beach occasionally. Also, the water on the edges slows down movement.
Icon of Peach Field
Peach Field
Lakitu holds the only basket on this course - he moves it depending on which team has the ball. Also, Cheep Cheeps appear periodically to bounce over the field.
Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach
No pirate ships, but otherwise the same as Koopa Beach.

Flower Tourney[edit]

Image Description
DK Cruiser
DK Cruiser
Taking place on a raft, sometimes the barrels come loose and roll around, flattening players in their way. Occasionally, Banana Peels fall onto the raft.
Luigi's Mansion
Luigi Mansion
Ghosts sometimes take the ball in midflight, and players must jump to retrieve it.
Daisy Garden
Daisy Garden
Two Petey Piranhas act as baskets, and reject any dunk unless they fall asleep or if the player gets a star.
Malboro Garden.png
Malboro Garden
Malboros spit poisonous gas if players come too close. The garden itself is the exact opposite of the Daisy Garden.

Star Tourney[edit]

Image Description
Wario Factory
Players ride an elevator as the court and bigger Bob-ombs are sometimes dumped on the course, which anyone can use and throw - before they automatically explode.
Jr. Street
Jr. Street
Taking place in a city, players can take a risk by collecting Slot Coins to make the slots spin to either gain or lose points.
Bowser Castle1.png
Bowser's Castle
Fireballs and Bombs spring up from underneath the course. A player affected by a burn will run randomly if not directed by the D-pad, and can still do defensive maneuvers, but cannot retrieve the ball for themselves. Bombs sometimes appear, burning a few characters and, after a few seconds, spontaneously combusting. Also, Thwomps are sometimes hidden under ? Panels.
Glare Desert.png
Glare Desert
A tornado moves around the course at midfield, knocking away any character that touches it. Otherwise a standard course. Cactuar is also unlocked here.

Rainbow Tourney[edit]

Image Description
Sherbet Land
Missed steal attempts while running causes the player to slide on the icy field. Also, a unique item to the course, Freezie, can encase a player in ice for a few seconds.
Bloocheep Sea
Bloocheep Sea
Taking place underwater, everything moves much slower. If the ball hits a Blooper, it will bounce off. Finally, Mimic appears here as an item that homes in on the player with the ball.
Pirate Ship
Pirate Ship
Cannon balls roll down the court, exploding upon being touched. Also, Gooper Blooper appears as a sideline threat, and the stage tilts slightly left to right.
Rainbow Ship
Rainbow Ship
Despite being on a flying ship, it is a completely standard course. At the end of the Rainbow Tourney, there is a match against the Ninja, Black Mage, and White Mage here.


Two minor unlockables, the other courses in Dribble Race and Coin Hunter modes, have already been mentioned in this article. There are many more unlockables in the game, including characters and courses previously mentioned.

From Tourney Mode[edit]

Most of the unlockables come from winning trophies in Tourney Mode, including all but one character, costume changes, and most balls. By getting silver or gold on the first try, more than one unlockable can be obtained.

Winning the Rainbow Tourney unlocks Hard Mode, winning the Hard Rainbow Tourney unlocks Pro difficulty in Exhibition matches.

Trophy Normal Mushroom Tourney Normal Flower Tourney Normal Star Tourney Normal Rainbow Tourney
Bronze Paratroopa Dixie Kong Bowser Ninja
Silver Costume Change: Peach Costume Change: Daisy Moogle White Mage
Gold Yoshi Egg Ball Watermelon Ball Spiked Ball Black Mage
Trophy Hard Mushroom Tourney Hard Flower Tourney Hard Star Tourney Hard Rainbow Tourney
Bronze Birdo Boo Fly Guy Costume Change: Black Mage
Silver Soccer Ball Costume Change: Yoshi Costume Change: Fly Guy Costume Change: White Mage
Gold Cheep-Cheep Ball Dice Ball Goomba Ball Costume Change: Ninja


  • Sunset Beach - Playing an exhibition match on Koopa Beach during the sunset; that is, 4:00-6:00 PM (or in 24-hour time, 16:00-18:00, according to the DS's internal clock).
  • Malboro Garden - In the Flower Tourney, dunking the ball three times in Daisy Garden, then finding a blue seed in a ? Panel.
  • Glare Desert - Getting 800 points or more on Jr. Street in the Star Tourney.

Last character[edit]

  • Cactuar - Its head moves across the sand in Glare Desert. Dribbling on it a few times will cause it to run off the course. Winning the exhibition match unlocks it.

Unlockable balls[edit]

Image Ball How to unlock
Basketball Basketball Available from the start.
Blue/White/Red Ball Blue/White/Red Win one match in tourney mode using only three-point charged shots.
Yellow/Green ball Yellow/Green Play an exhibition match at Daisy Garden.
Purple/Orange ball Purple/Orange Play an exhibition match at Bowser's Castle.
Black/Red ball Black/Red Win an exhibition on Rainbow Ship without ? Panels.
Blue/Silver ball Blue/Silver Finish Practice Mode.
Spiked ball Spiked Obtain a gold trophy in the Star Cup tourney.
Watermelon ball Watermelon Obtain a gold trophy in the Flower Cup tourney.
Pumpkin ball Pumpkin Lose 5 games in a row in wireless exhibition.a
Dice ball Dice Obtain a gold trophy in the Hard Flower Cup tourney.
Football Soccer Obtain a silver trophy or better in the Hard Mushroom Cup tourney.
Star ball Star Win one match in tourney mode using only Special Shots.
Yoshi Egg ball Yoshi Egg Obtain a gold trophy in the Mushroom Cup tourney.
Cheep-Cheep ball Cheep Cheep Obtain a gold trophy in the Hard Mushroom Cup tourney.
Goomba ball Goomba Obtain a gold trophy in the Hard Star Cup tourney.
Rainbow ball Rainbow Win 7 games in wireless exhibition.a
Silver ball Silver Have 2000 points in profile. a
Basketball Gold Have 5000 points in profile.a

a - Unobtainable in the Wii U Virtual Console version due to the lack of wireless functionality


During play, ? Panels always produce items very similar to the Mario Kart series. To use most items, players stroke with the stylus in the direction the item is to be thrown, or simply use the B Button button.

Items for all courts[edit]

Offensive and Defensive items[edit]

The following items can be used by any player, regardless if they are on offense or defense.

Image Item Description
Image of a Coin from Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Coin Coins are obtained by dribbling on the ? Panels. Each coin counts as one towards a team's stockpile. A team can have up to 100 coins at once. They are dropped if a character is hit by an item or loses the ball due to a steal. Players, regardless of what team they are on, can pick up coins from the ground if dropped.
Image of a Red Coin from Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Red Coin Red Coins are earned the same way regular coins are. They are worth ten coins towards a team's stash.
Image of Lightning in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Lightning Once activated, everyone except the user is struck down for a couple of seconds, even their teammates. Initially, the player must jump at the bolt to use it, as it is up high, giving the defensive player the edge. However, it eventually hovers down, allowing an offensive player to run into it.
Image of a Mushroom in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Mushroom The Mushroom boosts the user's speed for awhile. It is especially advantageous for the ball handler to pick up, as it allows them to speed past defenders and, thus, get an easier opportunity to score.
Image of a Poison Mushroom in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Poison Mushroom Contrary to the Mushroom, the Poison Mushroom slows the character for awhile. This is the status ailment the Malboro on the court Malboro Garden inflicts.
Image of a Star in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Star The Star is an upgrade from the Mushroom, as it boosts the users speed while also giving them invincibility for awhile. Any contact with the player who is using the star results in them being knocked down.

Defensive items[edit]

The following items are exclusively given to a defensive player who runs over the ? Panel.

Image Item Description
Image of a Banana in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Banana The simple yellow peel still trips up anyone who slips on it. The banana item also is periodically thrown at random from the neighboring jungles on the court DK Cruiser.
Image of a Bomb in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Bomb When thrown, Bombs explode within 3 seconds, knocking anyone in the vicinity down, including players from the same team as the thrower. Their explosions are comparable, but cover less area, than those of Bob-ombs in the court Wario Factory.
Image of a Fake ? Panel in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Fake ? Panel When thrown, it disguises itself as a ? Panel, except for its display of a backward question mark. A character trying to use this panel will be knocked down when they step on it, as well as lose the ball if they are on offense.
Image of a Green Shell in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Green Shell Bouncing freely, Green Shells are more powerful than Bananas when they make contact. They are discarded from the field when they have bounced twice off the boundaries without coming into contact with any player.
Image of a Red Shell in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Red Shell Once thrown, Red Shells will go for the player who is dribbling the ball. They do, however, have less accuracy than in the Mario Kart series, and miss often if the player makes a sudden turn (quick-dash). The Red Shell will then act like a Green Shell and simply bounce off the boundaries of the court.
Image of a Spiny Shell in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Spiny Shell The Spiny Shell in this game does not possess wings. It acts as a more powerful item than the Red Shell, as it follows the ball regardless of where it is, creating a blue explosion. Once thrown, it does not miss its target.

Items for specific courts[edit]

Image Item Description Court Appearance
Image of a Slot Coin from Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Slot Coin Slot Coins are exclusively found on Jr. Street and are picked up only through the purple ? Panels. They power the slot machine on the court, and the more Slot Coins obtain powers up different rows on the panel, giving more chances for better rewards after the next basket is made. Only three can be carried by one team at once. Jr. Street
Image of a Freezie in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Freezy Freezies are available only on Sherbet Land, where they act is Green Shells when thrown. If a Freezy comes into contact with any player, that player is temporarily frozen in an icicle and unable to participate in play. Sherbet Land
Mimic.gif Mimic These treasure chest items make their debut in any Super Mario game, and are encountered only on the court Bloocheep Sea. Once thrown, the Mimic chomps its way towards the ball handler in an attempt to strip the ball away. Mimics also sometimes cough up coins that can be picked up by either team. Bloocheep Sea

Official soundtrack[edit]

Main article: Mario Basketball 3on3 Original Soundtrack

An original soundtrack that is based on the game is released only in Japan in October 18, 2006 and is published by Square Enix, the same publisher for the game. It has thirty-one songs from the game. The songs featured are slightly altered and are higher quality than those in-game, due to no limitations of the Nintendo DS soundchip.


Main article: List of Mario Hoops 3-on-3 staff

Mario Hoops 3-on-3 was developed by Square Enix, well known for their Final Fantasy franchise and its characters, some which are playable in this game. It is their first Super Mario-themed game they have developed for the Nintendo DS, the other being the Japan-exclusive Itadaki Street DS later on, which also features Super Mario characters crossing over with another of Square Enix's IPs, Dragon Quest. Shin Azuma directed the game, who would later reprise his role as a director in Mario Sports Mix, the follow-up title to Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Masayoshi Soken has composed the game's soundtrack, and he would also later compose the soundtrack for Mario Sports Mix.


Two promotional browser games were released in 2006 titled Mario Hoops 3-on-3 -- Dribble Skillz and Superstar Shootout.


Mario Hoops 3-on-3 has received generally positive to mixed reviews, scoring a 69 on Metacritic based on 40 reviews[2] and a 70.36% based on 42 reviews in GameRankings respectively.[3] General praise has been given towards the game's crisp graphics and animations and the Super Mario-themed take towards the sport to make it feel different from other basketball games, though the touchscreen-centric controls have been a major point of contention, with reviewers either thinking that it adds to the gameplay or that it subtracts from it. Another common criticism is that the game lacks replay value and is very light on content, and the lack of online play makes this game difficult for users to pick up again. Many have also expressed criticism toward the attributes and skills of the Final Fantasy characters, saying that they are overpowered compared to that of the rest of the roster.

Jeff Gerstmann from GameSpot gave the game a 7.1 out of 10.[4] Gerstmann has praised the game for the innovative touch-screen based controls, the Super Mario-themed environments and hazards in the courts and the game's graphics, though has criticized the game for its lack of content, the repetitive single player mode, the lack of variety of sound clips and animations, and the lack of online play, where the download play has only "tedious minigames". He has recommended the game to people who wish to play in local multiplayer modes, but has advised for solo players to ignore the title due to lack of longevity. Aaron Kaluszka of Nintendo World Report gave the game a 7.5 out of 10.[5] He has stated that the game feels awkward at first that it controls entirely with the touchscreen, though has remarked that after a few minutes of play, the controls start to feel intuitive. He has additionally praised the game's graphics and sound, calling the presentation "fun". Some criticisms of the game he has was with the game AI, saying that the game feels like "Mario Hoops 3-on-3 often plays more like Mario Hoops 1-on-3." as AI teammates "don’t really do much besides stand around waiting for a pass." and the game's multiplayer, limited to only two player offline play and four player support only being available in Mario Party style minigames.

Craig Harris of IGN gave the game a 6.8 out of 10,[6] criticizing the touch-centric control scheme, saying, "This new touch screen control works but it sort of lacks immediate response, giving it a soft, mushy feel -- a stylus stroke isn't as quick as a simple button press. Even if the touchscreen control offers more variety on the court, it just doesn't feel as satisfying as it should be. Some touch screen controls are more complicated than you'd expect -- special moves need to be tapped out in a specific pattern twice, maneuvers that feel too disconnecting from the rest of the ball-handling control." He has also criticized the method to collect coins, calling dribbling on the ? Panels to obtain coins to score more points, saying that "this game boils down to just how long can you hold onto the ball and tap squares as fast as possible." Another criticism of his was the game's AI, saying that the AI is stupid to let players score while they sit around in the early game, though the game has a difficulty curve and it takes time to reach challenging opponents. One praise of the game that Harris offered were its bright, colorful, and detailed graphics, especially for Nintendo DS standards. Keza McDonald of Eurogamer, giving the game a 6 out of 10,[7] has echoed similar thoughts regarding the enemy AI, saying that they just stand there, and they cannot prevent steals until Hard mode. Another common complaint was the lack of online play and a viable single-cart option mode, though McDonald has praised the touch control scheme.

Release Reviewer, Publication Score Comment
Nintendo DS Jeff Gerstmann, GameSpot 7.1/10 "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."
Nintendo DS Aaron Kaluszka,
Nintendo World Report
7.5/10 "What do you get when you combine NBA Jam, Super Mario Kart, and the Nintendo DS touch screen?"
Nintendo DS Cole Smith,
Cheat Code Central
3.5/5 "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."
Nintendo DS Scott Anthony,
Pocket Gamer UK
7/10 "Fun, frantic, and action-packed, Mario Slam Basketball is a good-looking game that lacks solid opposition."
Nintendo DS Craig Harris, IGN 6.8/10 "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."
Nintendo DS Keza MacDonald, Eurogamer 6/10 "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."
Nintendo DS Tom Orry, VideoGamer 6/10 "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."
Compiler Platform / Score
Metacritic 69
GameRankings 70.36%


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Mario Hoops 3-on-3.


For a complete list of media for this subject, see List of Mario Hoops 3-on-3 media.
Audio.svg Theme
File infoMedia:MH3o3Theme.oga
Help:MediaHaving trouble playing?

References to other games[edit]

References to later games[edit]

  • Mario Sports Mix: This is the second project developed by Square Enix using the Mario Hoops 3-on-3 formula. Basketball is one of the featured sports there. Additionally, the Final Fantasy characters return in that installment.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese マリオバスケ3on3
Mario Basuke Surī-on-surī
Mario Basket(ball) 3-on-3

Chinese (traditional) 瑪利歐籃球 3對3鬥牛[8]
Mǎlì'ōu lánqiú sān duì sān dòuniú
Mario Basketball 3on3 bullfight

French (NOE) Mario Slam Basketball
German Mario Slam Basketball
Italian Mario Slam Basketball
Spanish (NOE) Mario Slam Basketball


  • Although this is the first dedicated Super Mario spin-off installment in the sports category entirely focused on basketball, this is the second time Mario has starred in a basketball game (with the first being the GameCube version of NBA Street V3 along with Luigi and Peach).
  • This is the first and (so far) only game where Bowser Jr. is a default character, while Bowser is an unlockable character.
  • Waluigi's Baller Name, "The Question", is a reference to the real-life former basketball player Allen Iverson, whose nickname was "The Answer".
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the trophy for Green Koopa Paratroopas states that they appear in Mario Hoops 3-on-3 even though in said game only Red ones appear.
  • When playing Tourney mode, if the player does not have him on their team, Bowser is guaranteed to be one of the CPU players, and he will always be the captain of his team.


  1. ^ Mario Slam Basketball official site, archived by
  2. ^ Metacritic score for Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Metacritic. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  3. ^ GameRankings score for Mario Hoops 3-on-3. GameRankings. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  4. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff. (September 12, 2006). Mario Hoops 3 on 3 Review. GameSpot. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  5. ^ Kaluska, Aaron. (October 1, 2006). Mario Hoops 3-on-3 review. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  6. ^ Harris, Craig. (Septemter 12, 2006). Mario Hoops 3-on-3 Review. IGN. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  7. ^ McDonald, Keza. (October 25, 2017). Mario Hoops 3-on-3 review. Eurogamer. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  8. ^ Nintendo (2008). DS Software. Retrieved September 15, 2020.

External links[edit]