Hands on with Foto Face: The Face Stealer Strikes on DSi

Stealing a glance at EA’s new DSIWare game

Hands on with Foto Face: The Face Stealer Strikes on DSi

Foto Face: The Face Stealer Strikes represents EA’s first original title for the DSIWare store and is shaping up to be an interesting experiment in combining traditional gameplay with the unique features of the DSI platform.

The game is primarily an action-platformer. You navigate spikes and moving platforms, and perform switch puzzles while dishing out pain to a colourful cast of enemies with your chosen costume’s weapon.

Costume? Yes indeed. In Foto Face the player doesn’t play a cheery plumber or an anthropomorphic woodland creature: they play themselves, albeit wrapped up in a variety of very silly outfits.

Face off

Upon starting the game you're confronted with your mug placed within the ‘Barbarian’ costume’s frame and asked to take a picture of five expressions ranging from surprise to anger.

Foto Face then wraps these images around the character model and creates simple 2 frame animations of your character’s expressions during gameplay. It all works surprisingly well due to the transitions being quick and seamlessly integrated.

If seeing your own face gurn as it hits some spikes wasn’t enough, there’s also the opportunity to record the respective sounds for your hero.

As with the photos, these can be re-recorded at any point. Helpful for when, say, you were in a crowded bus when you first attempted your ‘evil laugh’ and it ended up sounding like an embarrassed cough.

This customisation doesn’t stop with just the hero (and by extension, the main villain who has stolen your face). As new monsters are introduced you get the chance to place willing volunteers into their frames and record their own unique sounds.

Monster Mash

The monster design is varied and seemingly intended to make your friends look even sillier than you (which is pretty silly to start off with).

‘Cow Boy’, for instance is a massive cow with a rifle, while ‘Hot Shot’ adds a fantastic moustache to the picture frame instantly making any willing victim/volunteer into a Spaghetti Western villain (albeit one with a walking, fire-balling chilli as it’s antagonist.)

There are 15 levels to blast through, with hundreds of obligatory random items (in this case, stars) to collect, and while the platforming action isn’t going to win any awards for originality, the controls and gameplay felt solid during my short time with the game.

I did find a few too many leaps of faith for my liking during the later stages, but the levels in general are a good size and will take some time to fully complete.

The reward for completing a level is a short victory dance with your chosen costume that can be almost instantly uploaded and shared on Facebook, in case you’re feeling proud of your achievements or wish to get back at friends who spam movie quizzes at you endlessly.

Costume Party

As you vacuum up the masses of stars more costumes are unlocked, allowing new weapons and differing control behaviours.

The aforementioned Barbarian, for instance, is a slow but powerful melee attacker, while the Ninja is quick and uses less-damaging shurikens to strike at range.

Levels often require you to switch guises to overcome certain obstacles, with the quicker costumes able to leap farther and the slower used to negotiate small tricky platforms (and to beat up that annoying fire-balling chilli.)

Foto Face looks to be an interesting addition to the DSI library, combining easy to use customisation and sharing with basic platforming gameplay.

We’ll find out if it steals our approval when the game strikes European stores later this week.

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Will Wilson
Will Wilson
Will's obsession with gaming started off with sketching Laser Squad levels on pads of paper, but recently grew into violently shouting "Tango Down!" at random strangers on the street. He now directs that positive energy into his writing (due in no small part to a binding court order).