Face Slapper

Just by hearing the description of Face Slapper, you’ll know it’s on the wrong platform.  The idea is a bunch of faces will appear on a play field.  Using the analog stick, you line up a cursor over a face and press a button to slap it.  You get points for smacking dude and lose points for hitting chicks or animals.  Yea, this was without question a game designed with a touch-screen interface in mind.  Face Slapper is also out on Windows Phone, which is likely an okay fit.  I would personally prefer a bigger screen like iPad, but WP is easier to program for, even if it has a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the users.

On the Xbox?  Meh.  Face Slapper is actually pretty dumbed down.  The slapper is made to be pretty generous, smacking only the things that give you points, so if a bunch of faces are together, feel free to get button-stabby.  In fact, I theorized that you could chuck effort out the window and just button-mash while wiggling the controller all over the screen.  My previous, “pretend like I give a shit” efforts resulted in scores ranging from like 5,000 points to 8,000 points.  My “don’t give a shit” button-spammer approach netted me over 12,000, and I only stopped because my thumb got tired.  That, my friends, is broken game design.

Oddly enough, I did have an extremely limited amount of fun with Face Slapper, but that was had trying to unlock all the fake achievements in the game, which are pretty clever.  The real challenging one was trying to finish the game with a score of exactly negative one point.  I never actually accomplished it, but for a total of ten minutes I actually did want to.  Then the feeling passed.  It was like a bout of gaming constipation.

I can’t go out and recommend Face Slapper, just because it really is on the wrong platform.  This is a game designed with the precision of a touch screen in mind.  I can’t blame them for at least attempting to port it over the XBLIG, because as lightweight as the platform is, it’s unquestionably more viable than Windows Phone.  But Face Slapper’s problems extend beyond its control scheme.  The graphics aren’t distinctive enough, the background images can be disorienting, and I don’t feel there’s enough variety in gameplay.  If you have a Windows Phone, it might be worth a look at.  Also, ha ha, you own a Windows Phone!

Face Slapper was developed by Highbrow Games

80 Microsoft Points came this close to putting a game on the leaderboard designed by the guys who made Avatar Planking in the making of this review.

 

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

4 Responses to Face Slapper

  1. Want to give a shout out regarding the sound effects in this game – they are addictive.

    There is something cathartic about slapping six dudes in a row, in less than a second. I was playing it today, and burst out laughing at the ‘symphony of slaps’.

  2. Dan says:

    Wow, that was the fastest review ever! I think it was up five hours after the game released (and you actually played it, unlike some XBLIG reviewers :). Anyway, much of what you say is fair, but I wanted to address the broken game design comment and get more feedback. I don’t think it is broken in the way that you imply (that button-mashing will get the player a higher score than trying to pick and choose targets). A player can get over 100,000 points, which can’t be accomplished with button-mashing.

    I think what wasn’t communicated/reinforced was that clowns increase your multiplier and women/animals reset the multiplier, and having a high multiplier is key to getting a high score. Cues and (never-read) instructions probably aren’t sufficient to communicate this – maybe a tutorial is necessary, although I thought that for simple games like this, tutorials would be cumbersome. Might’ve been wrong on that!

    Also I could have amplified the penalty from -50 to something like -200. On the Windows Phone version though (where there are fewer man-faces), many people end up with negative scores, and I felt that created an overall negative feeling in the player. I thought, “I’d rather give button-mashers a positive score that increases with button-mashing than make them feel bad about having a negative score”. Obviously there’s probably a happy medium that allows button mashers to feel satisfaction by mashing faster, while not allowing them to outscore players who choose to focus. Still this is a band-aid and I feel like communicating the benefits of clown-slapping better via a tutorial is the key.

    So I don’t think the game design is broken as much as player-education. Or maybe the latter is part of the former. Anyway let me know what you think about this, and thanks for the lightning-fast review! Glad you liked the awards too 🙂

    • Hi there. I was aware of the clowns and the negative scores. BUT, you do give players very generous leeway in terms of the cursor “auto-targeting” the stuff that gives you points. Because of that, I was able to wildly just move all over the board slapping things and racking up points very, very slowly. I also got most of my achievements during that play session. Even with the negative scores from hitting the wrong targets, I’m confident that if I had kept up with it, I would have scored over 100,000 points. I think if I had a controller with autofire it would have happened.

      • Dan says:

        If you can hit clocks fast enough. But yeah, I definitely should increase penalties so the scores go negative in the “autofire” scenario. Someone even suggested this in peer review, looking back. Thanks for the feedback.

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