Strange how it took this long for Mario and his posse to crazy-up basketball - they've been hitting tennis, baseball and golf for years now, assaulting each other with turtle shells and bombs as though they were common sports equipment.
Though it's developed by Final Fantasy titans Square Enix, there won't be any hit points and pissy anti-heroes here. Hoops is all about getting to the net in the most stylish way possible. From what we saw at E3, it appeared that the standard two-points rule doesn't apply - the more amazing the shot, the higher the point value (our screens even show a game in progress at 0 to 290).
While you do move your character with the D-pad, the touch screen is used for all the ball handling. Tap to dribble, slide left-to-right to pass or bottom-to-top to shoot. The type of shot you make depends on your court location - you may launch a three-pointer or go in for an incinerating slam dunk, NBA Jam style. Once you're on defense, similar stylus movement makes you block, guard and steal.
Mario Hoops 3-on-3 is already moving along smoothly, and by the time it ships in September, the game should only improve. We know it'll support local wireless for sure, but so far, no word on the Wi-Fi Connection. Guess the requisite multiplayer minigames will have to suffice.
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