When I try this out in Amsterdam, the 3DS reckons I look just like a giant potato with a huge bulbous nose and tiny little beady eyes. (Quiet at the back, thank you.) "You can change it," says the woman attached to the 3DS, hurriedly navigating to the Mii customisation screen. I can only assume there's nothing to be done with regard to my real-life giant potato head.

If gazing at a virtual representation of your own head is the kind of thing which makes you happy, you'll love Face Raiders. This, as Jonathan Ross put it during the Shaun the Sheep conference, is "the first game which lets you shoot yourself in the face".

You begin by taking a photo of yourself. The 3DS then tells you what kind of person it thinks you are, based on what it makes of your facial features. The unit I was using first decided I was a "Man". This was mildly insulting but not so much as its next stab - "Unidentified". Third time lucky? "Baby boy." Unless the 3DS turns out to have some secret, super-sophisticated ultrasound feature I'm not aware of, I'm unimpressed.

Once it's finished offending you, the 3DS takes the image of your face and turns it into a spherical floating enemy. It also does funny things with your eyebrows and mouth to make you look frowny, angry or just plain weird, or rather weirder, and sticks odd virtual helmets on your head.

Then it's on with the shooting yourself in the face. The mini-game I played involved firing tennis balls, some of which my virtual opponent caught in her mouth. Rumours of an unlockable adult version of the game, set in Thailand and involving ping pong balls, have just been made up.

The control system is a bit awkward. You aim by moving the 3DS around and you end up turning your whole body at the same time, as the 3D effect breaks unless your eyes are front-on to the screen at all times. It's not comfortable and it feels daft, but then so does firing computer-generated tennis balls into your own mouth.

The game's background is the world around you, as seen through the 3D lenses. It's all a bit ARG as the ball hits an invisible wall, causing gentle ripples in the fabric of reality between you and the entertainment software buyers from Asda. Fire hard enough and you can break off chunks of the wall, creating ragged windows into a mysterious galactic void beyond.

Just when you think it's all getting a bit existentially disconcerting for a Nintendo game, you get to face off with yourself as a boss. This involves spending seven minutes firing tennis balls at a flashing red diamond stuck on your own head. That's better.

With its fun but silly premise and awkward controls, Face Raiders probably won't keep you occupied for hours at a time. It's more likely to be one of the features you turn to when demonstrating your fancy new 3D toy to curious onlookers. The same could be said of the 3D camera and Mii Maker - these are gimmicks rather than game changers.

They're great gimmicks, though. And they're perfect for showing off just what 3DS can do, quickly, simply and impressively, and without the need for those daft old glasses. We'll just have to wait and see about the porn.

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About the author

Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson


Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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