Touch control is used for all actions besides movement (which is handled by the directional pad). Dribbling is performed automatically, but at a lower rate if the touch screen is not used actively to dribble. Touching the screen in a certain direction causes the character that the player is controlling to change which way the character is dribbling and face in another direction, allowing the player to turn his/her character without having to move with the d-pad and gives the player better defense. In addition, dribbling is faster on coin pads. Dribbling on coin pads also earns the player coins to be used as points while shooting.
Navigating menus and playing the game can be done with either the touch screen or the d-pad. You can play left or right-handed, depending on what you choose in the options menu. There is also an option of using the A, B, X, Y buttons instead of the touch screen. There are certain moves that only use the touch screen. Note: During practice one, you may only use the touch screen.
The player shoots by drawing a line forward on the touchpad. Depending on where the character is and how he/she is moving, the shot will either be a normal shot or a slam dunk. Normal Shots and Slam Dunks are 20 points plus the number of coins the player currently has. Super Shots (Specials) are 40 points each plus the number of coins. Ranged shots (three-point shots in usual basketball) are worth 30 points each plus the number of coins.
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection play was supposedly going to be included, and many fans believed so, due to an IGN article which stated the game had WiFi, albeit subtly. The final released game is not Nintendo WiFi Connection compatible, instead it is "Wireless Play" compatible and "Download Play" compatible. Some fans may think that IGN had mistaken "Wireless Play" for Wi-Fi.
The game is structured in tournaments, which the player must win to progress. The tournament ladder is made with graphics based on the original Super Mario Bros.. Each tournament consists of three games with two halves of 2.5 minutes, except that the player needs to play an extra game with the Final Fantasy team at the end of the rainbow tournament.
The player can win a tournament by winning the three games on its ladder. The player would obtain either a gold cup, a silver cup or a bronze cup. A gold cup is available only if the player has 200 points more than the opponents in all games of the tournament. Silver if all games are won by more than 100 points and bronze for winning all three games.
There are two modes: the normal mode and the hard mode. The hard mode is available after beating the Final Fantasy team on "normal mode".