The PS3 version of EyePet released last year in the European market, after being delayed in the states until the game had support for the PlayStation Move. Both versions were a smash hit for Sony, with the title particularly making a splash in Europe. Now, just like almost all of Sony’s big franchises, it has received a PSP version to complement and expand upon the EyePet series. Should you run to the local store and adopt this ‘ultimate virtual pet’ or let someone else take it home?
You’re probably wondering how exactly the game translates to the world of the PlayStation Portable. The teams at London Studio and Spiral House did a modest job at bringing augmented reality to the PSP even if it’s a bit touchier than Sony’s previous augmented title, inviZimals. The game requires you to make use of the EyePet magic card which is similar to the original version of the game released in Europe last year. The card ‘magically’ allows the EyePet to run around your very living room to your garden around back. A few problems do appear though. If the lighting is too bright, you won’t be able to play. Too dark, ditto. Or if there is too much outside noise, it will interfere with the game. It can be a bit touchy at times, which could really annoy kids quickly, which the game it is clearly aimed at.
While people of all ages will, and can, enjoy the PSP version of EyePet, kids will enjoy it the most and there is plenty for them to do. The game offers a collection of mini-games to keep them busy such as bowling, driving, trampolining, fishing, sailing, flowers, and treasure hunting. All are fun, enjoyable, and easy to control by using your PSP and the PSP camera except for the driving mini-game. It was such a pain having to control a car with the analog nub, as the steering was way too slow in responding to my movement. Thankfully, the game gives you plenty of time to complete your race, but you will do so in frustration. While all of this sounds fun for kids, older games will quickly cycle through the content and want more.
The game also teaches kids responsibility with their EyePet by feeding it, bathing it, grooming it, and using their very own voice to call the EyePet when they need it. They let your record a short and brief line of dialogue so that your pet will come to your call via the PSP camera’s mic.
One of the console’s brothers coolest abilities was the EyePet’s ability to ‘draw’ a select amount of object you placed in front of the PlayStation Eye. Wanted your EyePet to patrol around in a car? Get our your pen and pad and boom, his very own car is yours to play around on. This feature has made its way to the PSP but is slightly screwy in the process. The camera would often fail to recognize some of my artwork and give me something that resembled half a car. Sure, the PSP could never handle everything the PS3 can do in terms of power, but it was aggravating seeing my ‘masterpiece’ incomplete on-screen.
Kids will also love the fact that none of their friend’s EyePet will ever look like their own. With each mini-game you complete, you’re awarded with some type of clothing or accessory, along with new hair colors and fur designs. Does your little one want a pink EyePet with short hair similar to that of a pony along with a pimping cop hat and glasses? Your fashionable EyePet can do it! Customizing their pet of choice is going to be something that the little ones will love and do, however they aren’t going to enjoy the game’s long load times.
Though the PSP camera and the augmented tech can be a iffy at times, the worst technical problem that reared its ugly head was the load times present in the game. Most major titles on the PSP now feature the ability to install a portion of the game to your memory stick to help shave off precious time in your gaming life. EyePet unfortunately does not and you’ll be wishing it did. There’s almost a load time between anything and everything that you do. It doesn’t take away too much from the game, but it can ruin some of the title’s magic.
The game’s appeal will quickly wear thin for older, more mature gamers, as the game’s lack of a ‘goal’ besides keeping your pet happy. For those looking for the ultimate virtual pet experience for their children on the PSP, EyePet is their answer. Even though the tech can be a bit touchy at times, it won’t ruin the smile on your kid’s face as they spend countless hours taking care of their own virtual pet.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
– The game’s tech can be too sensitive at times.
– Load times can be annoying.