Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: SCEE London Studio
EyePet was one of those PlayStation 3 titles that could and should have been a lot better. The game had a lot of promise but it also had various problems that prevented the game from being something really special. If you don't own a PlayStation but do have access to a PSP then here's your chance to experience what it's like to have your very own virtual pet. After all, given the lessons that have hopefully been learnt with the PlayStation 3 version of the game you might think that this PSP could even be the better version of the two.
In order to play EyePet you'll need a camera attached to your PSP. Fortunately the game can be purchased with the camera should you not have one to begin with. You'll also need to use the magic card that comes with the game and have an area which is adequately lit. The one major difference between the PSP and PS3 versions is that you can't use your hands to touch or play with your pet. The camera needs to have a clear view of the magic card at all times whilst you're in Free Play mode and putting your hand in view of the camera would prevent this. This arguably removes one of the most appealing aspects of the original EyePet and the game is a poorer experience because of this limitation.
In the game you'll have the Free Play and Pet Home areas to visit. In Free Play area you'll need to make sure you can see the magic card at all times and you'll have to pull the PSP away from it sufficiently to be able to view the virtual play area that the games have. You can play bowling, driving, trampolining, fishing, sailing, treasure hunt and flower games. In the Pet Home you won't have to use the camera or the magic card. In this area you can take part in driving challenges, style (you can change the colour and length of the pet's fur as well as adorn it with all kinds of clothing you've unlocked), feed and wash your pet, record your pet call, view the aquarium to see the fish you've caught, view the diary (to see a record of what your pet has achieved), or get your pet to do some drawing as well as being able to put your pet to bed.
The games in the Free Play area work well enough but in truth they are far from being entertaining. None of them will keep you occupied for more than a few minutes and that's a real shame. Playing the games at home with plenty of space available was no problem at all (aside from the drawing game and that just wouldn't work for me as the ambient light was insufficient throughout my home) but you do have to wonder how practical the game is when using the PSP whilst on your travels. You simply wouldn't have the space on public transport unless you were just focusing on the Pet Home area of the game.
The game's presentation isn't bad but you're still stuck with a choice of one pet and that's just as disappointing here as it was in the PS3 game. The PlayStation 3 version of EyePet was a mess for deaf gamers with the game not being subtitled and not even providing text for tutorial information. Thankfully the PSP version is much better in this respect. All of the main dialogue and tutorial information is subtitled so you'll be aware of what's going on and what needs to be done. Some speech isn't subtitled but it's only things of no importance such as comments on your performance during one of the mini-games. You do have to record a 'pet call' but this can simply be any noise of your choice and you only need to record it once as it's played back by pressing the R button.
EyePet felt like a missed opportunity on the PlayStation 3 and it's difficult to see the PSP version in any other way. The PSP version does have better support for deaf gamers however. The game works well enough under the correct conditions (such as ample space and ambient lighting) but there's nothing here that will have you coming back for more when the novelty wears off which is something that, unfortunately, won't take too long.