Please note: Faceless is a game meant for mobile devices. I got a build that could run on my laptop. It’s the same game, essentially the finished product (aside from some minor tweaks according to the studio) however I played it a little differently.
It’s not hard to open up the App Store or the Google Play Store and find a 2D runner. That genre has become very common on the mobile market mostly because of it’s easy accessibility, and addictive gameplay. While many of them blend together, Code Bunny’s Faceless manages to offer something fresh, unique and challenging in a genre that’s pretty over saturated. While it does have issues, it’s pretty fun.
Players are dropped into an 8-bit medieval land where a faceless man is the King’s new jester. Eventually, the ruler tells our hero to bow to him, Faceless decides to zap him with lightning and get the hell out. All the characters are pixelated, while the foreground looks cartoony, and the background is a nice silhouette of trees and a skyline. It’s something that you’d expect out of an indie title, but for whatever reason, that direction still has a lot of charm. This is especially true with the protagonist Faceless. He looks more heavy-set, and is dressed more modern than everyone else. It’s a nice contrast to everything in the world. On top of that, there’s a feudal setting opposed with a generic techno loop that gradually adds more layers the farther you go.
On the surface, there isn’t much to it. Faceless runs, jumps, and zaps, but it takes some real getting used to if you want to actually progress. The lightning attacks are really satisfying. The whole camera shakes when you use them. It makes the move feel powerful. But it has a limit. So when the meter runs out, players must wait until his magic is completely recharged. This can lead to tight situations where there are a lot of enemies and not a lot of room to jump. But that’s alright because players can control faceless a little more than a lot of runners allow. You can actually shorten your jumps or even stop his running completely. It really messes with his momentum, but it’s needed sometimes. Those two things, mixed with an insane difficulty are what make the game feel distinctive. The sense of control mixed with a Zeus super power makes the game feel original and unique.
But while in theory the ideas sound good, they don’t always work. I found that more than once, the lightning wouldn’t strike while my bar was full, or Faceless wouldn’t respond to my jumps. It didn’t happen a lot, but it was enough to cause added frustration to an already hard game. There is also a lot of luck involved. There are multiple paths that lead to death that only trial and error can solve and it seemed like at certain points I got different results the more times I had to replay it. This really took me out of the game as I felt there was a very fair and natural difficulty curve, but the luck factor made it seem artificial.
Regardless, it’s still fun. I logged a lot of hours just sitting, trying to beat my high score—so in that sense the game is well made. But it’s really hard to ignore some of the glaring issues like control issues or just luck based trial and error gaming. It takes away from what would be a really great title, and makes it just good instead. But hey, it’s still pretty damn addictive.