EyePet Review

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Your EyePet does some amazing things, but the tech is so inconsistent that you'll want to slap him just as much as stroke him.

We like

  • How cute he is! Those big eyes are adorable
  • His animation. He moves around your living room like a real animal
  • Some of the amazing things he can do, like draw a picture that you've created

We dislike

  • The inconsistent response to our commands
  • The lack of any real aim or purpose

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Do you remember Tamagotchi, the stupidly addictive hand-held digital pet that made its maker a fortune in the 90’s? If so, you’ll be instantly familiar with the concept of EyePet, which is essentially a modern day take on that time-consuming, some would say time-wasting, activity of nurturing, feeding, playing, cleaning and loving a pet that actually doesn’t exist. Technology has obviously advanced significantly since Bandai’s tiny egg-shaped computer, as have gamers’ expectations, so EyePet represents the future of what can now be achieved in the pet simulation genre. EyePet’s biggest selling point is its promise to blur the boundaries between on-screen entertainment and reality.

EyePet does that fairly impressively by making a virtual pet appear to interact with you in the comfort of your own living room. When the furry, ape-like creature hatches from his egg, jumps onto your T.V screen, but appears to sit there as if he were right in your home space, you’ll probably initially be quite excited. After naming our pet "Samson," feeding, showering and then stroking him lovingly to sleep our first reaction was that children are going to absolutely love this endearing, playful creature. However, after a couple of hours of pampering and exercising “Samson,” despite enjoying some brilliant and charming moments together, we became frustrated by the problems that have occurred as a result of the clumsy motion-sensing functionality of the PlayStation Eye.

The only time prior to EyePet that we’ve spent any quality time using our PlayStation Eye camera has been to upload videos of ourselves murdering popular songs on SingStar, so it is nice to be able to put its motion-sensing capabilities and microphone into effect; even if does inadvertently end up being the game’s downfall, as well as its unique selling point. When the PlayStation Eye works and your furry friend responds to your commands EyePet is brilliant, but when it fails to recognize your gestures it’s excruciatingly frustrating.

EyePet begins with a series of well-produced video tutorials that help you to set up your room ready for the birth of your EyePet. Placing the camera at knee height and ensuring that you have decent lighting in the room, as well as clearing a space on the floor where your virtual pet can run around free from obstruction, are the first set of instructions you have to follow. The PlayStation Eye captures what it sees on the T.V. so you'll see yourself sitting in front of the screen waiting for your pet to arrive. After placing the "magic card" on the floor, which comes boxed with the game, the EyePet appears as an egg sitting between your legs, ready to be hatched. After rocking the virtual egg with your hands, flapping at thin air in front of the camera, the EyePet is born. A word of warning though: the EyePet loves natural daylight. In fact he loves it so much that when we've tried to play with him in the evening he hasn’t wanted to respond to a good chunk of our commands under artificial lighting; that’s despite us plugging in two extra lamps in the living room to comply with game's request for ample lighting.

The gameplay in EyePet involves completing daily objectives. As well as using your hands to interact with your EyePet, you also use the aforementioned “magic card." You pick up the card and point it at the camera and on-screen it transforms into a variety of physical objects, including the likes of a baby’s bottle so you can feed him, a hairdryer so you can dry him after a shower, or a trampoline that he can leap about on to get some exercise. You can then tilt and move the magic card in front of the camera and your actions are translated on-screen. Similar to the Nintendogs set of videogames, EyePet is all about tending to the needs of your creature, giving him the required love, exercise, food and stimulation on a daily basis. As you progress you unlock rewards so that you customize your pet and you unlock further tasks that get more bizarre in nature. Kids will probably love the vast array of outfits and the fairly in-depth customization options. This is a family-friendly game after all which isn’t designed in any way ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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