|Eyepet and Friends|
|Developer: London Studio/Climax
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: 1-2
EyePet and Friends is a PlayStation Move compatible sequel of the original game we liked so much two years ago. The original game was also updated to have Move compatibility and this fixed a few of the issues we had with it. For one thing, the rather fiddly, easily lost or damaged “magic card” has gone, to be replaced by the considerably more ergonomic and kiddy-friendly Move motion controller. For EyePet and Friends the motion controller becomes a selection of tools, from a shower head to shampoo dispenser, hair dryer, food scoop, X-ray health scanner, laser pointer... as well as being the way you control and manipulate the toys and various other items you use to keep your EyePet healthy and happy.
If you’re new to EyePet then the hatching of your pet will be a cute and possibly emotional moment. If you’ve done it before you’ll wonder why you can’t just use your old one and get on with it, as the hatching process is kind of tedious the second or third time of asking and also inexplicably mixes the use of the Move controller and ordinary hand movements to tap on the egg.
The wacky but likeable mad professor from the original game has, for some reason, been replaced by an over-caffeinated children’s TV presenter. You WILL want to shoot this guy after a while as he insists on excitedly telling you how to do EVERYTHING, so it’s handy to know that pressing the ‘Triangle’ button quits his tutorial so you can get to the game/pastime in hand. You will then probably realise that you don’t know all the controls and so slink back to his tutorial with your tail between your intolerant legs (or maybe that was just me).
Vehicle-related pastimes in the Toy Box are the best way to earn credits and the first two are Digger Hoops, a game that involves scooping up basketballs so EyePet can dunk them (someone rather unkindly remarked that the digger has better handling and physics than Climax’s last Moto GP game), and Ricochet Range that would appear to require as little interaction from you as possible as you simply shove the ball at the Pinball-like scoring panels and then get out of the way until the ball comes to a rest again. Other games involving a boat, rocket, flying saucer, submarine and helicopter are all cute and highly playable, but I’m not sure you’d revisit them too often unless you were ‘paid’ to, so it’s just as well you are. For some reason the games were designed by communists so it doesn’t matter how well or badly you score, i.e. I zoom around like Stingray pilot Troy Tempest to collect coins in Submarine Challenge, score 1600 points and get rewarded with 150 tokens. I restart the game, go and get a coffee while leaving the sub sat on the bottom of the sea getting repeatedly stung by an electric eel (seems like an odd choice of aquarium pet) and score 480, and get rewarded with... you guessed it... 150 tokens! This is odd, even in our messed-up, post-Blairite non-competitive PC Britain...
The game’s menus are well laid out and easy to navigate with the Move motion controller. The Creativity Centre contains Paper Craft (you can make cards and stickers), Toy Factory (make personalised toys for use in the games; tractor, rocket, flying saucer, submarine, helicopter, boat etc.). Fancy Dress is where you can change the appearance of your pet, including the colour, pattern and length of its fur, and should you be so inclined dress it in clothes that are bought with tokens. Soft Play Creation is where you can customise your blocks with a selection of colours and patterns for use in the soft play area.
In ‘training’ the ‘trick stick’ allows you to draw a rainbow line on-screen and your EyePet can be taught to recognise certain shapes and symbols as a prompt to perform tricks like playing dead or dancing. I began to like it most when it played dead...
I was hoping for more from this EyePet sequel, and although there’s a ton to do I’m not sure any of it is enough fun or presented well enough to induce anyone to do it for long. One thing’s for sure, with Christmas around the corner EyePet is still probably an excellent way of finding out if your kids could actually look after a real pet; After all Eyepets don’t whine all night or poop on the carpet...
- EyePet is back, with Move controls, and it can have a friend round to play!
- Loads to do and tokens to earn.
- Maybe too much to do and too many tokens to earn.
- Intrusive loading times.