Game Review

Face Pilot: Fly With Your Nintendo DSi Camera! Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Soar spot

The 3DS will introduce a motion sensor to the machine's line-up of inputs, but the humble DSi has already been home to a few motion-detecting titles, with Face Pilot: Fly With Your Nintendo DSi Camera! the latest – and longest-named – of the lot.

You've likely already surmised what to do, but here's a quick description. You play a hangglider pilot who must pop balloons and fly through rings suspended in the air, and in order to move your craft you simply move your head or DSi. It sounds straightforward and, when it works, it's glorious.

You have the option to play with the DSi on a tabletop or in your hands. Placing the machine on a table is seemingly the more accurate way to play: to gain height you lean back and to descend you lean forward, whilst leaning left and right steers in either direction. Once you've had a few practices it feels reliable enough, and the sensation of drifting lazily through the clouds is akin to Wii Sports Resort's relaxing Flyover mode. Clipping balloons and dipping through rings has rarely felt so satisfying.

Holding the DSi in your hands boosts the feeling of flying still further as you turn the console itself to steer in each direction, and when it works well it's fantastic, but it's more difficult to keep within the frame when moving the machine around to snag that final balloon. For the sensation of calm drifting it's hard to beat though, and it's remarkably sensitive at capturing subtle movements: it only takes a few degrees to dip your glider towards a low balloon.

Whichever mode you choose, executing tight turns can be extremely tricky as you frequently leave the camera's field of vision, causing it to stutter. The courses are designed to avoid sharp turns, but the illusion of flight is spoilt when you try to turn swiftly and can't. The strength of the controls lies in their subtlety, and the course design reflects that, with wide-open spaces and large targets the order of the day.

What might appear a simplistic flyover game actually has a great deal more to offer. Each stage has various conditions to meet, from collecting 15 stars to finding hidden medals, and clearing one condition grants you a medal, unlocking content from extra courses to new glider designs. With 15 different stages available and multiple challenges in each, you're getting a lot of content for 500 Points, particularly considering the addition of minigames including dropping balls on targets to score points.

Your money isn't getting you a great demonstration of the DSi's graphical power, it must be said, with some blocky buildings and textures throughout, but the smooth and consistent framerate is more welcome. The bottom screen is used to display the ground beneath the glider, helpful for spotting any hidden medals or items but little else. The music is typical fare: jolly and upbeat but mostly forgettable.


HAL Laboratory is one of Nintendo's most prized internal developers, and with good reason. Although not perfect, the control method used here is innovative and mostly reliable, and once mastered makes the amount of content included in the 500 Point asking price an absolute steal. Regrettably there are no multiplayer functions included, but as a solo flight this is still recommended.

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User Comments (28)



irken004 said:

A camera based DSiware game that works well? What is this world coming to??? xD



Klapaucius said:

I think you should change the subtitle of the article... I almost dismissed reading the review, thinking the subtitle meant it was a terrible game ^^;



jdarrell said:

Most of the subtitles for good games here seem suspenseful to me, this one included. Guess it was a miss for some though?

I liked the controls in Looksley's Line Up so this review easily has me convinced to get this game when it comes out here.



Gavin_Rozee said:

I got fed up of waiting for a review to pop up and downloaded it the other day. Glad I did, it's great, and it works. I was so impressed, I downloaded Tales in a Box (Looksley) afterwards, but I'm a tad disappointed by the jerkyness of that game unfortunately.



ToastyYogurt said:

I thought the same as Klapaucius and jenisnape, but since I did read the article, I now know exactly what to do with my last 500 points! As soon as this comes to North America! Yeah!



Bassman_Q said:

Yeah I was expecting a 5 or 6 due to the subtitle. I really think this should be 200 points, though.



autam1 said:

This game is quite accurate though i download it ..... although you can't really play it in a dark room cozz of the lightning !!



cheapogamer4life said:

After reading the review I cant wait for this title to get here! Hopefully this will happen soon and not for 300 points more like the last airplane game to hit the (US) DSiware shop. I agree with everyone here about the tagline. I was expecting a 6 or maybe even a 7, but it seems like with all the content an 8 is just the right for this game.



ExploderReviews said:

I only read the review because i wanted to know what this game was about and the title gave me next to nothing about it.



piguy101 said:

Wait, is it in the place called like Woo Hoo island? The same place used in Wii sports resort?



cheapogamer4life said:

@Qwikman- I totally argee with you about the 200 point price for this game. Seems like if this were a Iphone app it would never sell for more then a few bucks.

@ jesussaves: if you could ever get the right lighting this game need to peform correctly I think you could really enjoy this title. I've had the best results when using a black background with a light that only highlights my face without any glare. Maybe that might work for you as well.



Mr-X9000 said:

these controls are HORRIBLE the game does NOT eserve an 8 out of 10, more like a 3 out of 10

might work better on a 3DS though, not sure...

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