Mario Sports 3D is a Mario sports game for the Nintendo 3DS featuring Mario and company competing in two returning sports: basketball and dodgeball, with the exception of Sports Mix, which is an unlockable mode after finishing the game. This game is developed by Square Enix, who also developed Mario Hoops 3-on-3 and Mario Sports Mix as well.
The game supports the Nintendo Network feature, which enables players to play with other users for online play, local or global range. Players can choose a worldwide competition to play against other users that are connected, play with friends that were met via StreetPass, or play in communities formed by users with customized rules for the game.
The gameplay maintains the traditional elements of the previous installments on the Wii and DS, mostly from the Wii version respectively. The main mode is Tourney mode, where a team of 3 is chosen and they compete against other teams for the cup, in generally 3 matches. Exhibition mode is like quick-play, as well as customizable.
Almost all of the gameplay in the game is controlled by the Touch Screen. The only exceptions are moving a character, which is controlled by the Circle Pad, and a special form of passing, which uses the L button. This can be switched around with the buttons controlling movement and the R button for passing for the closest player.
There are many moves for offense and defense. The player's team of three is identified with a blue circle below them, a red circle for the opponent team's players. The player's team's basket is always facing ahead of them, and the opponent's team in the back, even when switching court. Therefore, generally, stroking up on the touch screen is used for offense and stroking down is used for defense.
The match starts at half court, with the center of each team preparing to jump for the ball that Lakitu will release at the start. 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 and another jump-ball at half court is initiated. Whichever team has the most points overall when all periods are played, wins the match.
Mario blasts a fiery shot at his target. The shot can be blocked by brute force, but can slip into the goal if the character fails to hold it off. In dodgeball, the blast has a radius that can hit nearby opponents.
Luigi first attempts to suck characters towards him while he is using his Poltergust 3000. After he draws them in, he makes a shot on his target. Opponents caught long enough in the suction will trip and be unable to defend against the shot.
Yoshi throws the ball in a single, bouncy rainbow line. The rainbow line quickly changes where it is going to land, possibly confusing players. In basketball and dodgeball, it is not one but rather two bouncy balls heading towards their goal, and they must both be blocked or dodged. However, in basketball, one of the balls is a decoy, and is not counted if it reaches the goal.
The Mii builds up energy as it aims to make its goal. When the ball hits in the ground in dodgeball, it sends out a blast radius than can hit anyone inside the blast radius. Characters can stop the shot in other sports a similar way as how Mario makes a shot.
A small field of flowers grows at her feet as she does so. She then spins slowly into the air and magically casts the yellow-glowing ball into the hoop. For added effect, lightly colored petals trail the ball, and large flowers bloom when the shot goes in. If Daisy is touched during the shot, the character who touched her will lose half of their coins.
Waluigi soars in the air and brings out a machine. The machine has 4 arms that send out electricity to stop any would-be attackers. After Waluigi has fired his third shot, he shoots for his goal. In all sports, all the shots that connect are counted. However, in basketball, each successful shot is only worth 1 point, instead of its regular worth (2 or 3).
Wario throws his trademark bomb similar to that of the WarioWare series. The bomb then explodes, which can knock any character in the explosion away. After the bomb has detonated, it fills up the court with gas, obscuring the view where Wario is going to shoot; that can make it hard for players (including Wario) to tell where the ball is going to be thrown to. Wario then shoots at his destination.
Bowser spits a fireball at an area near his goal, where it makes a large blast. Any character that gets caught in the blast radius ends up knocked away and burnt. With brute force, Bowser then sends the object to his goal.
Bowser Jr. takes out his trademark paintbrush and paints the ground with it. The painted ground makes characters easily lose their traction and slip, which makes it trickier to stop Bowser Jr. from scoring. Bowser Jr. then takes a shot to his goal.
Rosalina summons various Power Stars. The character blinded by a Power Star will stun for some seconds. After she is finished building up Power Stars, Rosalina transforms the ball in a boomerang shaped-like a Bronze Power Star and throws it.
Metal Mario transforms the ball into metal, dribbles the ball, making small shockwaves on the ground. If anyone comes near the ball, the opponent stumbles and falls. Then Metal Mario backflips into the hoop and makes a score.
Dixie Kong throws the ball straight up, a Barrel Cannon falls out of the sky and catches the ball inside. She backflips onto the cannon and shoots the ball into the hoop. A red explosion followed by multicolored confetti complete the shot.
Nabbit pulls out his bag and pick two random items. When the items are chosed, he charges it and throws the ball. If someone touches the ball, he/she will fall and stun on the ground for 5 seconds. However, the shot may be canceled on Basketball.
Toadette summons two mushrooms that can hinder other players from preventing her to make a point or a shot. The mushrooms have also one "spinning hair" made of mushrooms. If the hair hit the opponent, make it even trickier to prevent the shot. After building up the mushrooms, she shakes the ball and sights on the basket, shoots and makes a point.
King Boo will teleport while throwing the ball up, reappear over the ball, launch it at the target, teleport over the target, and slam the ball in the target when it reaches him. An explosion will occur when the shot is made, and a scream will be heard along with the explosion.
Luma will throw some Star Bits from its mouth. If someone touch a Star Bit, will stun for some seconds and lose one coin. Then it will transform the ball into a big Star Bit and throw the ball to the hoop.