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Review: EyePet - PS3

by Steven Williamson on 12 October 2009, 18:24

Tags: Eye Pet, Sony Computers Entertainment Europe (NYSE:SNE), PS3, Simulation

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Gameplay Impressions

Gameplay Impressions
We've had a mixture of emotions while playing with our EyePet. There's been times where we've been charmed by his cheeky ways and playfulness and been wowed by the tech that has allowed us to draw a picture and then watch him copy it on-screen. Equally though, there's been times when we've wanted to smack the living daylights out of him.

When the motion-sensing technology works well it's brilliant. Our little creature has done a number of things that have amazed us. He’s appeared to walk up our leg and sit on our lap craving attention. He’s jumped over a ball that we’ve rolled across our carpet and he’s copied - almost exactly - a drawing of a car that we’ve made on a piece of paper in our room. He’s then turned it into a 3D object and chased it around the room. Amazing!

When it doesn’t work however, it’s an absolute mess. Lighting plays a huge part on your enjoyment of EyePet and having the right light in your room will determine how well the camera picks up your movements. In natural daylight it works better but still there are cracks in the technology and the EyePet won’t respond to your commands or, referring to the example above, he’ll draw something totally different to what you drew.

When we played EyePet under artificial light all sorts of problems occurred. It took us 10 minutes of rocking our egg to hatch it because it didn't recognise our hand movements. We gave up on many of the objectives because he couldn’t recognise what we were doing. Despite hooking up some emergency lighting to make the room brighter, the EyePet struggled to respond to approximately 50% of the commands we issued. It frustrated us so much that we actually decided we'd wait until the morning and natural daylight to play it.

So, it’s worth bearing that in mind. If you have a bright space with a window that lets in lots of natural light than it’s not going to be an issue, though you’ll still suffer with bouts of frustration when the EyePet decides he’ll do what he likes. Nevertheless, the EyePet can be very charming. He's certainly been well-designed and animates well and the variety of objectives are enjoyable to play when motion-sensing is going according to plan. There are some great visual effects as well, for example, it does look like your actually showering your pet - the screen mists up and water looks likes it splashing on the screen. It's bizarre watching him run around your living room because it does sometimes feel like he's actually there.

EyePet is an endearing character and kids will probably instantly take to him. There will be times that you’ll be amazed at what he can do and want to pick him up and cuddle him, but equally they’ll be times where you’ll be utterly frustrated at his failure to respond correctly. EyePet is going to be a nice little stocking-filler for the kids to enjoy over Christmas, but once that’s over, like an unwanted puppy, we’d expect to find dozens of little chimps to crop up in canals all over Britain. Don't forget kids: an EyePet is for life not just for Christmas.

Final Score - 6.5/10

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