Eyepet’s an oddity, a strangely off-centre release for a brand previously known for futuristic racers, hardcore first person shooters and driving simulators so real you can, metaphorically of course, smell the tarmac. That’s not to say Eyepet doesn’t have its place – it’s a game catering for a specific market, for sure, but it’s one that, at least in theory, fills a gap in the Playstation ethos. Cute, fluffy and rather clever, the PlayStation Eye-powered title provided an interesting diversion for anyone wanting to try something a bit different with their PS3 and entertain the kids at the weekend.
The problem was the interface – a plastic card with a big paw print might well have been the only way to interact with the game at the time but it was a confusing, buggy and problematic way to control what was a multitude of different toys, from washing your Eyepet’s flee-ridden hair to using him as a bowling ball. The card, as magical as the blurb tried to make out, wasn’t ideal, and thus when we learnt that a Move version was coming out, effectively replacing one tech with another, hopes were high that any UI issues could be brushed aside and gamers could finally try Eyepet as it was intended, without fussing over lighting conditions and camera angles.
Of course, you still have to have your room within a few prescribed parameters – the lighting needs to be ‘not too dark, not too light’ and you’ll still need to be able to house the PlayStation Eye at a specific height (around ‘knee height’, if you’re wondering) but once the initial set up is done and the Move’s calibrated (just point and click) you’re good to go. Our version of the game did get a little bit confused between the Move’s glowing orb and a stationary cuddly red donkey more than once, mind, but a re-calibration fixed that – just try to ensure that the Move is the brightest thing in the camera’s view when you first start the game and you’ll be fine.
If you’re used to Eyepet you’ll be happy to know that the Move works brilliantly – we went through the training sections again (although the game does attempt to import your progress) and things like feeding the critter and washing his fur are dramatically improved, not just in terms of ease of use but also intuitively too – the game maps the current toy or device to the end of your Move controller on screen (via some fancy augmented reality) and the 1:1 control is so much improved over the card that it feels like a completely fresh new game. Eyepet Move Edition features a few new toys, too, including a glove and ball and a really clever water pistol, complete with reflective water.
Sadly, though, some of the changes feel a little half hearted – the game still needs you to use a Dualshock to enter your Pet’s name for example (either that, or you fudge your way around the onscreen keyboard using the trigger and various flicks of the Move) rather than offering a point and click interface, and sometimes it’s not clear what you’re meant to do with regards to pointing the Move to select on-screen choices. In addition, for some bizarre reason, the game still wants you to wiggle your fingers to make the Pet jump, or to stroke him – why you need to do this when you’ve got a Move controller in your hand is beyond me. And don’t get me started on still needing to draw with a real pen on a real piece of paper…
Still, Eyepet’s an interesting title and one that, above paragraph aside, works really well with the Move. It’s like it’s a natural fit and although there’s still some annoying design choices, for the most part the game now flows much better than it ever did before. If you’re fond of Eyepet and can look past the niggles, interacting with your chosen furball has gotten a whole lot easier and more intuitive – and whilst it’s not going to hold your attention for too long, it’s well worth the upgrade for fans.
- Some of the new Move-only toys are quite fun
- Much of the game is the same as before
- Some odd UI choices spoil the overall experience