Saturday, 20 November 2010

Game Of The Week: EyePet (PSP)

The ultimate virtual pet is here. EyePet finally came to the PSP handheld console yesterday. Mini Gamers first reported that Eyepet was coming to the PSP in June earlier this year, but despite its original early Spring release date, the virtual little critter was unable to make his handheld debut until mid-November. Nevertheless, it seems that this game was really worth the wait!

The game makes clever use of the PSP's camera attachment. Players can use the GO!Cam  along with the Eyepet 'Magic Card', which is included in the game. The result is amazing. Want to see your Eyepet sitting on your desk or kitchen table? This game actually makes it possible and gives Eyepet a greater realism than any other virtual pet game currently on the market.

However, the game also contains many other interactive functions which helps to engage the player into this virtual world. For example, Eyepet contains several mini games including Fishing, Gardening, Treasure Hunting, Trampolining and Bowling, amongst others. Each mini game contains different challenges, which can be unlocked as the player progresses. The mini games are usually timed and get gradually harder each level.

Bowling is perhaps the easiest game to complete. Use your Eyepet as a bowling ball (not recommended for real pets, kids!) and knock down the row of pins that appear on your chosen 'Magic Card' surface. More and more pins appear each level and they change position from the previous level so that it gets harder each time. A successful amount of Strikes can unlock new customisable items for your Eyepet.

Fishing is probably the hardest mini game. You and your Eyepet must team-up to catch as many fish as you can within two minutes. However, only fish which appear on the itinerary will count towards your final score. This makes it very difficult to complete the task within the allotted time, however, with a bit of practise it can be achieved eventually. The Fishing mini game also includes a Free Mode which allows you to fish without a time limit. Any fish which are caught in this mode are automatically added to the aquarium in your Pet Home.

The Pet Home is where players can take care of their Eyepet's basic needs including feeding, washing and sleeping. It is also where players can style their Eyepet and even change its fur colour or style if they wish. Players can keep up to four Eyepets, so changing their fur length and colour can create some interesting variations between the different pets.

The Pet Home can also store photos of your EyePet and is the space where new car and boat toys can be created. Draw an image of a car or boat on a plain piece of paper and Eyepet will convert it into a 3D car, complete with a range of customisable style options.

The only potential negatives about Eyepet concern the 'Magic card' and the loading screens. This game is understandably very intricate and detailed. As a result, Eyepet features some lengthy loading screens, which might test the patience of  younger gamers.

Furthermore, the game's Magic Card has to be centred on the screen exactly at all times while out of the Pet house otherwise your little Eyepet will end up floating in a bubble in front of you and won't be able to complete any of the mini games etc.

It sounds easy, but Mini Gamers found that the Magic Card needed to adjusted several times before our Eyepet could be clearly seen. Lighting can also affect how well the Magic Card performs as well. If it is too dark or too light in the room then your card will not function correctly. Nevertheless, the positives of this unique game totally outweigh any negatives tenfold.

Eyepet on PSP really does have to be seen to be believed. This is the most innovative game to reach the PSP in a very long time. It is also a great game for all the family. If you have always wanted a pet, or  if the kids have put a pet on the top of their christmas lists but  you can't be bothered with unsightly messes, daily feeds or huge vet bills, then Eyepet on PSP is a viable alternative. Overall rating: 10/10.

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