Home > Games, Reviews > EyePet Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas

EyePet Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas

It’s a common request from thousands (if not millions) of kids around the globe: they want a pet for Christmas, but it isn’t always practical. For starters, Santa Claus has to find a way to transport them, and putting them in a bag with all the rest of his presents is just cruel. That, and he can’t guarantee that he’ll be able to keep the boy puppies and girl puppies away from each other. That’s why Santa invented the Tamagotchi a few years back (there’s an argument over rights, at the moment, so you won’t find him credited on Wikipedia just yet) and now, why Sony have invented the EyePet.

Exclusive to the PS3, EyePet provides what every kid dreams of: a pet in a box, all with the parental dreams of minimal clean-up and the ability to be turned off when it gets too much. The game comes packaged with the PlayStation Eye Camera and a card (more on this later) with the combined effect of allowing players to interact with a pet in their own home. By placing the camera at knee height, the console maps your living room (or as much of it as it can see) and then puts your EyePet inside, giving him (or her) their own space to play and interact. Movement within the area of play will impact the EyePet, whether an encouragement to jump up, to pounce on your hand or to rub the animal.

Like the aforementioned Tamagotchi, gameplay is all about looking after your pet, including feeding your pet, playing with it and exercising, along with the obligatory customisation that comes with so many games these days. The card that comes with EyePet, a black piece of plastic with an embossed paw print, is recognised by the game as a variety of different instruments: when the camera registers the image, it will overlay the card with a cup (for a feeding mini-game), or a variety of grooming or play products to interact with your pet. In real life, you’ll be sitting in your living room playing waving around a piece of plastic, but on-screen, you’ll be brushing your pet.

EyePet does exactly what it sets out to do, effectively bringing pet-based gameplay from a portable to a home console, but like those other games, the appeal wears thin rather quickly when you’re more used to using the PS3 to shoot aliens or watch movies. But what should interest any and all gamers here is the use of the PlayStation Eye Camera as a means of interacting with the game: it’s a simple game, but the technology at use and displayed is impressive thanks to the motion recognition, a logical next step from the Wii and already giving what Microsoft hope to provide with Project Natal. It’s a suitable update, moving the pet-based gaming from the realm of single button input, through touch recognition and out the other side.

Looking at just the technology, it’s going to be very interesting to see the what Sony brings up next. While EyePet itself will go down a treat with kids under ten, you might want to wait until they go to bed and have a go yourself, just so you can see exactly what Santa will soon be trying to push down the chimney, and what you’ll be asking him to bring as your own present this time next year.

Zombie Rating: B

EyePet is available now for PlayStation 3 on its own, and packaged with the PlayStation Eye Camera.

  1. November 25, 2009 at 2:39 AM

    PS4 will be a pill you take to enter game worlds.

    Mark my words.

    • Ken
      November 26, 2009 at 1:43 AM

      In the ultimate team-up of The Matrix and PS3-peripherals, I hope it’ll be a blue pill for player one and red for player two.

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