Hated

Horrible Discomfort: Face Pilot offers two control schemes. With table mode, you set the DS on a table, hover you face over it and lean your head this way and that to control the glider. If you are a pale white man like me and have white ceilings, this mode will seldom work. The DSi can't distinguish pigment from paint.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The game's other control scheme lets you hold the DS. The camera locks onto your face and uses that as a point of reference as you tilt the DS in ways that would steer or tilt your glider. This does not work if you are a pale white man like me and have white walls. Nor does it work while you are riding the subway and the gray metal doors are behind you. Nor does it work (well) when you lie on your navy blue couch, stack pillows above your head and hope that this will provide enough contrast. Why? Well, that worked while I used the game's standard glider, but stopped working when I scored well enough in the game's challenges to unlock a faster glider. The speed of that new glider compelled me to steer more vigorously, which confused the camera. Late last night, after an hour of struggle in various postures in various rooms in my house, I finally found a spot where I could play Face Pilot reliably. Check it out (spoiler: this was prior to the toilet discovery, which I'm getting to):

FacePilot

This Alternative Controller Scam: Face Pilot would be a boring game if you could control it with an analog stick or d-pad or accelerometer. You'd fly through the game's 15 challenges in under an hour and wonder what the point was. Simple courses. Simple challenges. Simple level design. But Face Pilot has a special face-controlled control scheme! That makes it special and lumps it into one of gaming's worst categories: a motion-controlled game that is notable only because it is controlled by motion.

Advertisement

This morning, while I was doing something else, I discovered that the bright lights over my toilet cause enough contrast to enable Face Pilot to work properly. When I bought my Brooklyn apartment I wondered why it had been built with a bright light over the toilet. The builders must have had a vision of Face Pilot!

At E3 in June, I played a couple of game demos on the Nintendo 3DS that used the system's cameras and motion sensor to allow me to see myself in the game and let me feel like I was flying my handheld device toward some sort of augmented-reality victory. One of these demos worked well because it used the 3DS' outward-facing camera to focus on a small patterned coaster that was placed on a table. In one of the 3DS' screens, a dragon appeared to pop out of the coaster. I could walk around the coaster, pointing my 3DS at it, and shoot different sides of the dragon with a virtual blaster. That worked. That was a good idea. Face Pilot does not and is not.

Advertisement

Face Pilot: Fly With Your Nintendo DSi Camera was developed by HAL Laboratories and published by Nintendo as a downloadable-only game for the DSi on July 26. Retails for $5.00 USD. Nintendo points were supplied to us by the publisher. We used them to buy the game. Unlocked two thirds of the game's levels. Wished the darned thing worked. Thought I might need to get a tan.

Confused by our reviews? Read our review FAQ.