Plying potential Nintendo 3DS consumers with the slogan “Endless Fun. Right out of the Box,” Nintendo has seen fit to include a variety of built-in features and applications with their latest handheld system. In a style perhaps akin to that achieved by Wii Sports, each of these are designed to be simple, fun and accessible, ensuring that the company is able to let entire families get in on the glasses-free 3D action through allowing enthused new owners to share their experiences with others.
Face Raiders is but one such offering, providing the opportunity to take a photo of somebody’s face by utilising either the exterior or interior camera lenses and then mindless blasting them with a flurry of coloured balls in your very own bedroom.
Employing the facial recognition capabilities of the handheld, you’ll have to carefully align pre-determined points on the screen with the wondrous face that you are aiming to capture. Whilst seemingly awkward, you will soon learn that the reasons behind such precision are due to the game animating the captured 3D image in quirky ways as you play.
Whilst you are more than likely to opt for taking photos of yourself, friends or family, you can effectively cheat the system by even using images of varying celebrities from newspapers, books or magazines – I’ve taken a snap of Lord Alan Sugar for an instant sense of “YOU’RE FIRED” dread, for example – which are all then added to your aptly titled ‘Face Collection.’
However, it is a slight disappointment that you are only able to take photos of more humanoid faces. Whilst it is understandable that Nintendo wants you to see your friends and family in-game, my futile efforts of trying to snap both Yoshi and Kirby went unrewarded although I have been able to capture both Mario and Luigi despite an initial struggle!
In any case, photo secured you’ll soon witness the face being distorted into a 3D form right before your eyes, and suitably equipped with a propeller helmet as it glides off the screen. From here, you’ll then be able to engage in a number of increasingly difficult stages where plenty of hilarity will ensue, whilst also cleverly incorporating your surrounding environment.
Certain stages will see you suddenly find the room that you’re in has been instantly transformed into an underwater environment or even transported into the far reaches of space. Each utilises the handheld’s 3D capabilities particularly effectively, with enemies firing their own projectiles for you to deflect as the difficulty increasingly begins to ramp up.
Of course, this isn’t entirely mindless fun. You’re granted a health bar and must battle through continual waves of enemies as you aim to rack up a high score before being confronted by a remarkably challenging Boss fight. In the meantime, chunks of your surroundings are chiselled away and thrown in your direction allowing for a striking visual experience.
This isn’t something that you’ll be playing stationary either, with the game employing the use of the Nintendo 3DS’ gyro sensor meaning that you’ll have to physically lean and turn in all manner of directions as you ruthlessly hunt out the Face Raiders that are attacking you.
A “Share the Fun!” mode also seems well-designed for you to pass your handheld across to someone with perhaps less gaming experience than yourself, providing them with a quick-start approach to enjoying what the game has to offer within some fantastic Bonus Stages.
It would be easy to dismiss Face Raiders as a mere technical demonstration of the Nintendo 3DS’ prowess, yet through its quirky charm and inventiveness, it’s sure to be a hit among the broad audience that it targets. The game’s simple pick up and play approach remains its strongest forte, although unfortunately after a few hours of wading through the content it has to offer you’ll soon be resorting to pleading to Nintendo for additional stages.