A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that at its heart, this platform-jumping action game is no more violent or offensive than a Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog game. However, since kids can use the DSi to take photos and record sounds, and then add those sounds and pictures into the game, the potential exists for Foto Face to become something much less wholesome. Most kids, though, will probably simply enjoy the silliness of seeing a their faces on video game characters and have fun with the opportunites for creativity that the game offers. Parents should know which group their kids may fall into, and may want to make sure to activate the DSi's parental controls.
What's it about?
FOTO FACE: THE FACE STEALER STRIKES is a downloadable game for Nintendo's DSi handheld, which allows players to take photographs of people's faces and put them onto the game's characters. It also allows players to record their own sound bites that will become characters' speech within the game. The game itself is an old-school 2-D platformer, in the style of the original Mario Bros. games. The plot revolves around a villain known as the Face Stealer, who has made himself look like the hero (a.k.a., the player). The hero must traverse haunted mansions, wild west frontiers, and the Far East to track down and stop his (or her) doppleganger.
Is it any good?
Without its photo-capture capabilities, Foto Face: The Face Stealer Strikes would feel like a been-there, done-that sidescroller from the early '90s. But the game's big gimmick works far better than you might imagine, and adds a huge helping of fun and replay value to the whole experience. You can customize every character in the game, from the hero and major villains to random bats and snakes, giving each of them a face and voice of your choosing. Taking the pictures is very simple -- all you need to do is center the subject's mug in a circle on the DSi's screen. And for every character, you'll take several pics, each with different expressions, allowing the software to animate the faces (it's not great animation, but it's enough to make the mouths open and close while talking -- and it's funny). There's enough here to make Foto Face's $8 price tag seem like a huge bargain.
Online interaction: Snapshots of the hero -- with the player's chosen photograph as the hero's face -- can be shared with friends or posted online to Facebook. Since there's no guarantee that pranking teens won't photograph something other than their faces, this online component can be risky. Be sure to use the DSi's parental controls.
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