EyePet (PSP) review
Removing the portable aspect of the PlayStation Portable and combine it with the augmented reality of having a pet and that’s outcome of the EyePet.
Making use of the PSP camera – thankfully bundled with the game – and a cardboard card that must remain static for the pet to interact with the user, the EyePet is one of the most cumbersome titles to be released on the PSP. The card must remain in the front of the camera with nothing obstructing the view in order for the pet to do its thing.
Always having to carry the card around to any destination where I want to play with my furry critter was an obstacle to overcome since I had to position the card on a flat surface to continue my play sessions. In addition, there must be enough room between the camera and the card for it to work properly. Too many times I would accidentally move the camera too far forward and my pet would enter its bubble – the game’s safe haven for the pet until the camera recognizes the card – and have to readjust. Other times the pet would glitch from one side of the screen to the other, even with the correct amount of lighting.
Another roadblock keeping EyePet from ever taking the leap out of the game and into the hearts of the gamers with its charm is the countless load screens. Before players ever jump into the game, they’ll have to be prepared for close to 2-3 minutes of loading and then another 3-4 minutes of tutorials to even see the pet break free of its egg. After that, more load screens arrive on the scene as players learn about how to teach tricks, play with their pet, send it to bed, wake it up, etc. EyePet tests the patience of the gamer and, in the long run, it’ll wear thin and potentially have gamers quitting before they ever get to know their pet.
There’s only one aspect of the game that rids the requirement of the silly card and that’s the pet home. Within the pet home is where players are eligible to feed their pets, dress it with clothes, lay it down to sleep to save the game, and a few other activities. None of them are particularly entertaining, but they at least allow the player to escape the confines of augmented reality and get “closer” to their virtual pet.
Speaking about the virtual pet, while it does look alien, it does have its moments of charm. A cross between a chimpanzee, cat, chipmunk and a bunch of fur to make it look cuddly, the EyePet is an oddity that won’t win everyone over; especially since it’s hard to identify what it even is. The menus do provide a quaint setting with inviting blue backgrounds and settling music.
Due to the limiting nature of the EyePet, it’s hard to recommend to anyone without the capacity to sit in one place and play their PSP at countertop.