Guess the Celebrity with Badly Drawn Faces

I spent many a college day whiling away the hours on, a trivia quiz website jam-packed full of games. One of these games was Famous Faces (Badly Drawn), a surprisingly difficult quiz in which you had to name as many of the 48 on-screen characters as you can within an eight minute time frame.

Much to my delight, Famous Faces (Badly Drawn) is now available to play on iOS under the name of Badly Drawn Faces, albeit in a slightly different format. Can you guess which celebrity is being (badly) drawn? Find out after the jump!

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In a Nutshell

Badly Drawn Faces is a free, single-player guessing game developed by Sporcle, Inc. and hosted by Sharpy, an Arctic-dwelling narwhal who is seemingly unaware of the fact that he cannot draw. For the uninitiated, a narwhal is a rather peculiar looking whale with a long, straight tusk. Similar to a unicorn, but with flippers and far less attractive. Sorry, Sharpy.

Bonus points are awarded if the character is guessed before the image is fully drawn.

Reminiscent of popular doodling app Draw Something, Sharpy invites the player to guess a multitude of famous faces, each one drawn as badly as the last. For each face guessed correctly, one fish and a number of points are awarded, and bonus points are given if the user guesses the celebrity before the image is completely drawn.

Guess Who?

Played in portrait mode, Badly Drawn Faces takes place under the sea, with Sharpy doodling on presumably waterproof graph paper in black ink. Working from top to bottom, the drawing is revealed piece-by-piece, and at any point during the sketch, the player can tap the screen and make multiple guesses as to who this talentless narwhal is attempting to depict, earning more points than waiting until the image is complete. With no time limit enforced, users can take as long as they’d like, allowing the cunning to consult Google if unsure — not that I condone cheating, of course!

Earn fish and points for every correct guess.

Once the famous figure has been successfully identified, the player is presented with a well-known quote by the person in question beneath the sketch, and the points and fish accumulated during the guess are added to the tally.

Users are able to compare their score with friends and other players around the globe via the Game Center, and several achievements are up for grabs, including “Fat Narwhal”, which appears to correspond to a threshold of fish being reached and “Art Snob”, given to players who correctly guess 50 faces, and so forth.

Food for Thought

Once the player has collected a sufficient amount of fish, they can then be used to feed Sharpy, who in turn will provide the player with a hint as to who he has drawn. Three fish equals one hint (this artistically-challenged sea mammal drives a hard bargain,) and additional bait can be purchased in-app if supplies are running low, with prices ranging from 99 cents for a bucket of 100 fish to a rather costly $19.99 for 5,000, an islands worth.

Alternatively, the player can also ask a friend for help via Twitter or Facebook, no fish necessary, bringing an element of social networking to the app.

Pads can be unlocked by correctly guessing a certain amount of faces.

Sharpy’s beloved flounder can also be used to unlock levels, or “pads” as they are known in the game. Each pad comprises 40 new faces, and with 12 pads in total, there are plenty of individuals to keep the user guessing – over 450 in fact, ranging from actors and sports personalities to fictional characters and more. Not collected enough fish to unlock the next pad? No problem! Pads may also be cracked by guessing a set number of celebrities, with the amount varying for each level.

Boo Hiss

As with a lot of free apps nowadays, Badly Drawn Faces requires the user to sit through five seconds worth of advertisements, which appear every few guesses, before continuing. These can be banished by paying $1.99 via an in-app purchase, something I’d highly recommend doing before embarking on heavy gameplay as, although five seconds doesn’t sound like much, it’s definitely enough to ruin the flow of the game.

Advertisements can be banished by paying $1.99 via an in-app purchase.

The Verdict

Originally a web-based “diversion”, Badly Drawn Faces translates well to the iOS format and its simple pick-up-and-play design makes the app accessible for players both young and old.

Considering the fact that our host has no thumbs and is severely lacking in drawing skills, it’s actually not that hard to guess which person Sharpy is attempting to sketch. Well, most of the time anyway. One complaint, however, is that the game is quite clearly catered towards a North American audience, and users in other regions may find it difficult to recognize many of the faces which would ordinarily be household names in the U.S.

Overall, Badly Drawn Faces is a fun, simple and addictive game that the whole family can enjoy, though this very accessibility is perhaps indicative of a lack of depth and longevity. To its credit, however, one is never given the same face twice and this contrasts favourably with titles such as FreshPlanet Inc.’s SongPop which rotate the same few songs frequently.


Correctly guess an artistically-challenged sea mammal's badly drawn faces.