EyePet – PS3 – Preview

E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

Virtual pets have been tried
time and time again. From Tamagotchi to Pokemon, these imaginary creatures have
been amusing some and inspiring thoughts of torture in others for over a decade
now. Be that as it may, the concept of Eyepet is nothing new, but the way
that it is presented is. Using the Eyetoy camera and a paper thin object known
as the magic card, Eyepet lets you interact with these furry critters in
every way imaginable, offering all new dimensions of functionality to these cute
little varmints. 

The goal of Eyepet is to
bring the virtual pet into your living room and make them just as interactive as
an actual pet. You start by aiming your Eyetoy towards a surface, placing the
included magic card down within the camera’s view and tapping that area to bring
your pet to life. The demo that we witnessed had him jaunting forward from the
middle of the card and beginning to prance around. The creature looked like an
amalgamation of a monkey, dog, and cat, happily running to and fro within the
camera’s view. The woman sitting behind the table began to wave her arms near
the pet, and he reacted to them realistically. When she swiped her hand across
the surface, the pet leaped to avoid getting smacked. When she waved her arms
over the table, the critter jumped upward attempting to nip at her fingertips
while waving his tail incessantly. When she waved her arm over the pet’s back,
the little guy smiled and purred like any regular household pet would. This
level of interactivity is astonishing, and there was plenty more to be
revealed. 


EyePet PlayStation 3 screenshots

Placing the magic card on the
floor and tapping it brings up the toy menu, which is full of fun activities to
entertain both you and your pet. One of these is a bubble machine that sends a
ton of bubbles flying in your pets direction when you press the button on top of
it. Your pet will be overjoyed at this development, jumping at the bubbles and
smiling when one pops. The developer then created a trampoline toy, which has
the magic card appearing as a trampoline that your buddy can bounce on. You have
to move the card underneath the bouncing pet so that he doesn’t land on his
rump, which the developer promised would be one of many available toys for both
of you to enjoy. 

The Eyepet needs
nurturing just like any other animal, so you have to pay attention to their face
to see how they are feeling. The creatures are very expressive, as it was
visibly upset when the developer removed the trampoline from the screen. You can
turn the magic card into an X-Ray, which shows you the innards of your critter
as you wave it in front of him. This presents you what the creature is feeling,
be it happy, sad, hungry, weak, or dirty. We were also shown the customization
options, which allows you to change the fur color, fur length, skin pattern,
clothing, and almost anything else. This insures that every single pet can be
completely unique. I officially call dibs on the turtle costume, as it makes the
little dude look totally rad. 


EyePet PlayStation 3 screenshots

There are over 250 outfits and
toys available within the game, and they are unlocked by completing various
challenges. You will be given new toys every day, giving you reason to check in
with your pet as much as possible. If you get tired of the preset toys, it was
revealed that you will be able to create new ones in a unique way. Using an
ordinary piece of paper, you can draw an object and your creature can bring it
to life for you. The example that was shown was an airplane, which was scanned
in by holding the paper near the Eyetoy and recreated in-game by the pet. A 3D
plane then popped out of the pet’s notepad, which he was able to hop on and ride
up into the sky. This drawing feature was very impressive, but I am afraid to
think of what more deviant minds will create. After flying through the clouds
for a bit, a minigame launched that had the pet popping a certain number of
balloons within a time limit. This is just one of what the developer promised
would be dozens of available minigames to try. 

From what I saw, Eyepet
looked remarkably impressive, though the limitations of what they showed—like
the drawing feature—were not discussed. Eyepet will be launching in
October 2009 for Europe, but no US date has yet been determined.

 


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