Face Raiders Hands-On Preview (3DS)

Oops, upside the face.

Face Raiders Hands-On Preview 3DS  Everybody Plays
8th February, 2011

As we mentioned in our recent news story about the 3DS's pre-loaded software, when you buy a 3DS, you won't just be buying a bare console. Coming pre-loaded with several applications, programs, and even a few games, the 3DS has plenty of stuff you can play around with, without even having to buy a game.

One such game, known as face Face Raiders, we got the chance to go hands on with at the recent 3DS event in Amsterdam - and it was a lot more fun than we were expecting from a bundled minigame!

Things start off with the game asking you to take a photo of your victim friend, which the game then attempts to recognise as a face. Pointing the camera at the lovely (if somewhat nervous) Sarah, who was accompanying us that day, we pressed the button, and took the photo, which promptly started to morph into a 3D head. What happens next is a bit tricky to explain. The background suddenly vanished, and was replaced by the room we were standing in (the game uses the 3DS's dual cameras to effectively see what you'd see), and we found ourselves under attack by several copies of Sarah's face.

Nintendo 3DS Screenshot

Go on, hit it!


It turns out that Sarah had become the bad guy in Face Raiders, a game which sees 3D representations of your friends' faces come flying towards you, which you have to shoot down by firing bright yellow balls at them. You do this by moving your 3DS around in real life, as the console's gyrosensors detect the movement of the console, and adjust the in game view to match real life. It's a bit complex to describe, but easy to get the hang of in real life, and is what the tech people refer to as augmented reality, as the console effectively takes what you see, and adds a load of enemy faces to it, which you can, obviously, only see by using the 3DS's screen. It's crazy, but cool stuff.

What's even funnier is that, somehow, the 3DS even knows the layout of your friend's face, which means it can open their mouths, make their eyebrows distort, and basically cause them to pull all sorts of evil faces. Seeing Sarah's in-game face curl up in anger, laughing in a typical villanous manner, it certainly had us in tears laughing.

Nintendo 3DS Screenshot

Brilliantly, you can even plug their mouths with balls when they try and laugh at you. That'll teach 'em.


The faces come at you from all angles and directions, so you'll have to rotate through 360 degrees of 3D space, up and down, left and right in order to play it properly. Thankfully, most of the faces decide to fly fowards at the same level you're holding the 3DS, and hover for a bit, taunting you, before they head off to try and smash through the background, so you'll get plenty of time to stop them, but there are a few that seem to purposefully lurk just out of camera shot.

Of course, because it uses the gyrosensors, and requires you to physically move the console around, Face Raiders doesn't work all that well with the 3D effect, as you regularly found yourself moving out of the sweet spot the 3D works in, and end up with double vision. Without the 3D effect switched on, the game obviously plays fine, but we found ourselves trying to get the best of both worlds, by trying to lock our head to how we were moving our 3DS, and simply trying our best to be in the sweet spot. Sadly, it didn't always work.

When you've managed to hold off the onslaught, you'll be presented with a high score table, which seems to score data for each person's face you defeat. In that way, we'd imagine you're meant to take photos of all of your friends, to see who you can do best against. Either way, what we played was a lot of fun, and was certainly a great way to demo the console's gyrosensors - if not such a great demo of the 3D. Still, what it lacked in longevity, it more than made up for in laughs at the sight of Sarah's evil, curled up face, before we plugged her gaping mouth with a ball.
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