When it comes to video game journalism, the job isn’t always wine and roses, or in gamer talk, Mt. Dew and Funyons. Sure, I get to play huge games like Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3 and then tell people what I thought about them, but then I also have to take one for the team, and review a game that normally wouldn’t be on my radar.
Sometimes, a new game that I never expected to like surprises me. And sometimes I’m surprised by a good game gone bad. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Luckily, this was a good surprise.
Recently I was given the indelible task of playing and reviewing EyePet & Friends for the PlayStation 3. EyePet, if you remember, was a launch game for the PlayStation Move controller that debuted last year. It was a showcase game that was released to really show off the PlayStation Move controller’s capabilities, as well as make headway into the burgeoning Augmented Reality (AR) game genre.
The game features a creature that closely resembles a cross between a mon chi-chi (look it up) and a monkey. The EyePet (you do get to name them) is hatched on your living room floor (via the PlayStation Eye camera) and you are tasked with playing with it in a multitude of mini games and interaction sequences. You can pet it, tickle it, make it jump and roll over; it’s just like a real, live pet, minus the mess.
You also have a palette of customizable features to really make your EyePet yours. You can cut and color its hair, dress it in fun clothing ensembles, and even equip it with helmets and armor. The possibilities are endless.
That’s it. That’s the game.
The new edition, as you might have guessed by the title, is that EyePet can now be played with two creatures at the same time. Or, EyePet can play with friends. Get it? EyePet & Friends? See what I did there?
Of course, you need at least two PlayStation Move controllers to “play with friends.” Also, you can share your EyePet online with others, which, opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
EyePet & Friends is actually a pretty fun experience. The little games that you can play with your creature are pretty entertaining, and each time you play you can earn tokens to buy new articles of clothing to dress it up. There are twelve new game challenges in this edition of EyePet, in addition to the original list of things t do with your new friend.
Now, at some point, the games will run out, the trophies will all be collected (including the platinum), and the cuteness will have worn off. At that point, there isn’t much you can do. This is the kind of game where you get out of it what you put in to it.
Graphically, the EyePet looks great. The game outputs at 480p, 720p, and up to 1080p. The colors really pop, and the motion of the creature is very fluid.
The one drawback visually is the inferior camera that is the PlayStation Eye. We turned on every light in my house, and focused them all toward the living room floor, and still, while the EyePet was bright and vibrant, my floor looked like mud.
This doesn’t affect the game play, but maybe SCEA should have toned down the creature graphics to better match the real world pictures of your living room or game room floors that are being broadcast through your TV.
The game allows for customizable soundtracks, though the in-game music is upbeat and fun, to match the action.
The announcer’s voice does tend to get a bit annoying after only a few minutes, but for the younger crowd, he might be just right. Luckily, after the tutorial, he tends to blend back into the game and is only there when help is needed.
EyePet & Friends is a great game for children ages six and up. The PlayStation Move controller can get a little tricky to navigate, but once you get going, the controller blends into the game to become an in-game laser pointer, handheld fan, a water gun, and a trampoline, among other tools. At that point, you forget you even have a controller in your hand.
Families will also enjoy the clean and fun atmosphere, and the deep level of customization works for both boys and girls.
EyePet & Friends is rated E for Everyone, and everyone can and will enjoy the little creatures if given the chance. I mean, how can you not? They are so cute.
Shop for EyePet & Friends on Playstation 3 for a discounted price at Amazon.com (November 15, 2011 release date).