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Monday, April 4, 2011

Face Raiders and the 3DS hinge problem

One of the games built-in to the 3DS is Face Raiders. In theory, it is a very fun idea but in reality, while it is fun, it also unfortunately showcases the some of the weaknesses of the 3DS design.

The biggest problem: the 3DS hinge. There is a little bit of jiggle. Which would be ok when playing the 3DS traditionally and not moving it around... as is how its played for most games. But Face Raiders *demands* that you physically move the 3DS around, that's how you aim at the faces. So you're holding the 3DS vertically the entire time AND swinging it around in the air. Knowing that a game they bundled inside the system *needs* this much movement to play, Nintendo should have heavily reinforced the hinge so that it's tight tight TIGHT. Also, they KNOW they included tilt/gryro controls into the thing... again, for these reasons why did they not spend extra time with the hinge area? If the 3DS was a one-piece unit like my HTC Legend phone or the PSP, then this wouldn't be an issue.

In fact, I have a pre-loaded marble tilt game on my HTC Legend and it plays great. In contrast, I just bought Super Monkey Ball 3D for the 3DS and the tilt controls are ok, but the loose hinge does cause a bit of annoyance.

As for Face Raiders, it's a great idea which actually works very well at capturing faces using the 3DS camera. As long as you line up the eyes and mouth markers correctly with the face, it will be able to effectively manipulate the face image's expression; making it evil or happy, etc. It's very cool to look at. Even if the face has a completely neutral expression-- in fact it works better if it does.

But... I honestly can't tell how the HELL to play this game. Sure, I know all you have to do is shoot the faces projected onto the background but there's certain things you have to do that I have no idea how to progress beyond. I'm on level 3, and the hint they give to defeating the boss is: "deflect the faces back at him". Ok....... so I shoot the faces, they turn upside down and a chime sounds, and the chime goes higher pitched (think Do Re Me La Fa Ti Do) if I'm somehow making progress.... but it's all so chaotic I have no idea what's going on.

Face Raiders reminds me of when I was a little kid and I'd come across an arcade game that I had no idea how to play but it was flashy & fun-looking so I'd pop a quarter into it and just press all the buttons like crazy until it said GAME OVER (and maybe even that wouldn't stop me from continuing/pretending to play it) yes Face Raiders is fun... I just wish it wasn't so random.


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