Review: Master of Illusion Express: Funny Face (DSI)

Master of Illusion Express: Funny Face
Genre: Magic Performance
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 04/05/09

The Master of Illusion DSi titles are stand-alone pieces of the DS title Master of Illusion, which came out about a year ago to an unenthusiastic reception. Master of Illusion was essentially a magic show on the DS, so it stands to reason that the DSi products of the same name are also essentially magic tricks you can download and play around with. As they’re not really “games” in the strictest sense of the term, judging their merit AS games is a little awkward, so instead we will apply the same concepts we use to judge games to instead judge these downloads as magic trick simulators. Funny Face is a group trick that requires audience participation, a decent amount of memorization, and ideally, a deck of cards. The trick is fairly interesting and impressive if you have the time to learn the method behind it, but it’s fairly complex to learn and even more so to perform effectively, which might make this a little less than ideal for the casual magician.

Visually, the Master of Illusion titles are all decent looking, and the designs are colorful and magic-themed. The text is clean and easy to read, and the menus are easy to navigate and use, and the tricks are all designed in a cute, appealing fashion. Funny Face also comes with tutorial information that’s also well formatted, clean and easy to follow, which is nice. Nothing here is technologically outstanding, of course, but that’s to be expected. Aurally, the tunes are cute and mysterious, and the various audio effects are solid and fit the product well. Funny Face also features a bit of voice acting, which is a part of the trick, and the voice itself is clean and easy to understand, which is good to see. Again, the audio isn’t particularly amazing and you won’t be humming the songs in the shower, but what’s here works well enough.

Funny Face uses a deck of cards and the DS to have a face drawn on the DS touch screen say the card your volunteer drew. Of the three magic tricks, this trick is the hardest to actually perform, as it requires a good amount of practice drawing the face the correct way to make sure it says the right thing, and unless you perform the card-cutting trick that’s recommended to control the card drawn, you’ll have to see the card yourself to make it work, which is not particularly impressive (“Ooh, he looked at the card, then made the DS SAY THE CARD, how shocking.”) when compared to the card-cutting technique. Assuming you can master the card-cutting technique AND the drawing technique, the trick is fairly impressive and probably worth the download, but otherwise it’s an awful lot of work to go through to make the DSi say the name of a playing card, especially when one realizes that if you’re going to go through the trouble of using the card-cutting trick, YOU could just say the name of the card and avoid the drawing part entirely.

Funny Face also comes with a bonus trick, Vanishing Card, which asks you to pick a card and watch it disappear. This trick is cute the first time you see it, but easy to figure out if you’re paying attention to more than what the DSi is telling you to watch. Funny Face is also already included as a part of Master of Illusion itself, meaning that if you own that, you own these already, and if you can find that for cheap, you might not even need these. If Funny Face sounds like something you’d really be interested in, you might actually want to track down Master of Illusion instead, honestly, as that comes with a whole lot more magic tricks to perform, and if you’re willing to invest the time and effort into learning how Funny Face works, you might be the sort of person Master of Illusion was made for.

Basically, if you’re an aspiring magician, the Master of Illusion downloads are cute and fun to use, but if you’re just looking to goof around, Funny Facemay be beyond you. It’s good for the amateur magician who wants to practice tricks and use gimmicks, but for most folks it’s going to be too complex to learn how to follow along with it, let alone if you want to incorporate the card-cutting trick that’s recommended along with it.Vanishing Card, though cute, can be figured out in two tries, and also comes with the other Master of Illusion downloads anyway. If performing magic is your thing, you’re better off buying Master of Illusion itself, because Funny Face, though impressive if done correctly, not going to be for the casual magic fan, and if you’re dedicated enough to learn how to do THIS, you’re most likely dedicated enough to want to own the full experience instead.

The Scores:
Game Modes: POOR
Control/Gameplay: MEDIOCRE
Replayability: ABOVE AVERAGE
Balance: POOR
Originality: MEDIOCRE
Addictiveness: MEDIOCRE
Miscellaneous: MEDIOCRE

Short Attention Span Summary:
The Master of Illusion downloads allow you to perform magic on your DSi to amuse yourself and friends, so if something like that amuses you, these might be worth checking out. Funny Face is the most impressive of the tricks, but is also the most complicated to learn and perform effectively, which might make it too complex for anyone who isn’t actually an aspiring magician. Vanishing Card might be worth showing to others, but it comes with all of the downloads, and unless you’re willing to learn the complexities of Funny Face, one of the other tricks might suit your needs. All of these tricks come from the retail version of Master of Illusion, mind you, so if you own that, you don’t need these, and if you’re a fan of magic tricks, you might be better served buying that instead. Funny Face is really a very good trick, to be fair, but it’s a hard trick to really master, which makes it more of a product for someone who actually is interested in magic than someone who just wants to play around with some tricks.



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