Hands On: EyePet

When you’re writing for a site like TheSixthAxis there’s only so many games you can keep your eye on – if you’ll excuse the pun – and Sony’s in-house EyePet hasn’t been one of my ‘must-haves’ at all, despite the fact that the cute little virtual pet is due for release at the end of the month. So, whilst I might have already seen the Eyepet Trophies, I wouldn’t have really been all that excited about finding out about the silverware unless I’d got my hands on, literally, with the thing itself recently – and yes, from now on I’m definitely going to be keeping one eye on the game.

This isn’t some in-depth report on the PlayStation Eye powered title: to be honest my playtest was rather impromptu and, as my photographs show below, my Hero doesn’t really cope terribly well with televisions bleached by Glasgow’s rather directional sunshine. So, apologies for the shots, but what I wanted to capture was the depth of things you can actually do with Eyepet, because whilst all this might have already been covered elsewhere in various previews, I was hugely impressed with the fluffy little monkey.

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First off, the graphics are wonderful. Yes, the majority of the screen is naturally whatever the PlayStation Eye is looking at but the Eyepet itself and the various pop-up boxes that come into play all typically show that first party Sony flair that we get with UK developed games. Bold colours, intuitive design decisions and clear, easy to read menus, and although it wasn’t terribly easy to use your on-screen hand to move between menus given the lighting around us you can always use the DualShock 3 anyway, and must do for certain aspects of the UI.

A lot of your success with Eyepet will depend on how much you put into it – whatever you call your monkey he’ll require a good amount of attention, and whilst he’ll often suggest games to play and activities to do you appear to be free to override him and he’s responsive enough to your ideas anyway. We drew a house, showed it to little critter and he immediately not only redrew the same design but then he made it pop-out into 3D and even converted it into a puppet-like mobile, and proceeded to then try to teach us some dance moves with it.

Whilst Natal and Mylo might be unproven technology destined for the future, Eyepet is now and very much real. The technology is hugely impressive, and whilst the otherwise smart little monkey had no idea what we drew was a house it didn’t really seem to matter, he was happy enough playing with the design and we’d imagine young kids would take great delight in seeing such an instant response onscreen. Intelligent? Perhaps, perhaps not, but I certainly saw enough to suggest Eyepet could be a huge success for the PlayStation brand.

I’ll try to answer any questions you have in the comments. I also played Uncharted 2, but that’s for another day…

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