As expected, each level is filled with items, objects and characters found in traditional Mario games. From Koopa shells power-ups to Petey Piranha baskets to rolling Donkey Kong barrels, each court is filled with obstacles that you have to be mindful of. Some of the levels use the Mario accoutrements minimally, while others really change the strategy of the game.
Hoops takes advantage of the DS touch screen in a very big way. Passing, shooting and dribbling are all stylus-driven, and in an intuitive fashion (each character has special shots and alley-oops that are executed by drawing a pattern on the touchscreen). It really adds a fun touch to the title, but with a few caveats. Lefties will be at a disadvantage since they’ll have to use the face buttons as the d-pad and the computer-controlled characters can do things that just aren’t possible for humans to do via stylus, but more on that later.