* Prices may differ from that shown
On a school night I don't let my children play computer games, but on a weekend in the evening I allow them to play on the computer as we all play together and always have great fun. Recently grandma and grandpa bought the girls the EyePet and Friends game for the Playstation after a recommendation from a friend with similar aged children. Although we normally play as a family on the Wii, we also have a PS3 (for my childlike husband!) and this was the first game that they had played on the PS3. Luckily we already had the PlayStation Move as my parents didn't realise that this was needed (despite it saying quite clearly that this was needed to play the game!).
For those of you who don't know what EyePet is, it is a sequel to the EyePet which allows younger children to experience virtual pets in their own home through the PlayStation. I would say that while the Wii is well known for its family content and family friendly games, in my opinion, the PlayStation is more well known for it's Fifa games or Call of Duty and definitely not for family friendly games, although it seems to have tagged on to this in the last few years, this game isn't as successful in its aims as many of the Wii games are.
The EyePet and Friends game is the sequel to the original and allows that you can have two pets at the same time through the PlayStation Move. By using the intuitive controls of the Move, you can look after and play with your pet as well as customising accessories such as toys and outfits (The Move is a hand held wireless controller which uses advanced motion sensors and the PlayStation Eye Camera to mimic your movement. The pets love to have dress up and play and you can customise clothes, their fur and toys.
The game works on a reward system so the more you play, the more tokens you receive which then allows more content to become 'unlocked' and you can spend your reward tokens on various content. As with most games, the EyePet has its own website and online community where you can show off your photos and videos of your pet and share them in a child friendly online community. I quite like this idea although we have only done this a few times as I don't want to promote online communities to them just yet.
My girls enjoyed playing with the pet, but rather than allowing them to perform tasks with their pet such as playing etc, they had to spend time on the game to earn reward tokens to buy the toys. While I don't mind them spending the odd half an hour on the game on a Saturday teatime, I don't want them getting hooked on 'gaming'and this really wound me up that the game was actually promoting them to spend what seemed like endless amounts of time on the game just to be able to gain rewards.
The game works through the motion sensors and the Eye Camera which allows that every move is mimicked on screen. I quite like camera based games and this is a clever little introduction for children. The last experience my children really had in a camera based game was through a V-Tech toddler game which allowed them to dance, and the moves be captured on the TV. This game is a world away from their previous game which was blurry and anything but high definition! This game has a fantastic on screen quality and is accurate and with a motion control which is excellent (if not for the occasional blip it seems to have).
The EyePet follows a cute little pet which my children warmed to instantly, but they found it difficult to navigate around the many menus in the game, and couldn't manage this without the help of mum or dad (grandma and grandpa were nowhere to be seen by this point!). The game follows your pet right from hatching from its egg, which I quite liked the idea of as the children gained a sense of slight responsibility for something (even if that something is a rather furry virtual pet!). You can watch the pet perform new tricks as you teach them how to do it with the aid of the controller.
As well as playing with your pet, you have to feed it and bathe it, as well as drawing and creating cards. The main point of the game is to keep the pet happy as you would expect, however I think the game is 50% game and 50% online community which we don't really have any interest in. The game reminds me somewhat of Nintendogs for the DS but doesn't seem to have pulled the pet based game off in the same way that Nintendo has.
Currently for sale on Amazon for £9.44. I wouldn't recommend paying any more than this, it just isn't worth it.
When Eyepet, from Sony, first appeared back in 2010 we were instantly hooked. The on-screen little fur ball was great fun - being one of those games that you need a camera for. The game saw you interacting with your own eyepet and what was a fresh and compelling idea was only enhanced by making a Move version. We loved Eyepet, and spent, as a family, many a happy hour playing with our virtual pal, unlocking challenges and generally marvelling in the wonder of technology. When, at the end of last year Sony released a new title "Eyepet and Friends" we were first in the queue to pre-order online. The five year old was beside herself with excitement and told every Father Christmas within a five mile radius how another Eyepet was on her list. Having enjoyed the original the premise of playing with two on-screen pals at once could only add to the enjoyment, interest and fun, right? Wrong. This game is, quite simply one big disappointment from start to finish.
The original game saw you hatching and nurturing one pet. Here along the same lines, but with the addition of a rather too talkative narrator, you get two eggs. This is where the frustration starts, play together and inadvertently swap over controllers and nothing happens, the game from the off is slow to load and prone to falling over for no obvious reason and when you do play it's really not at all obvious what the actual purpose of the game is. Where, previously, there were day to day challenges to unlock and things to do, the new game sees you trying to find your way through a maze of menus working out what the point of the whole thing is. Any concept about the original game that was good has been removed and so you find yourself pottering around the game, earning random tokens for random things and getting more frustrated and, actually bored the longer you play because what was a simple game for children to play seems to have been transformed into a poor Tamagotchi clone which fundamentally misunderstands what children enjoy, and makes the bits that they may actually enjoy really hard to find within a mass of pointless activities.
Instead of growing food we get making a soft play circuit using the move controller as a mouse - tedious and bewildering. Where previously playing sports or with the toys was fun, now we have to earn tokens to buy toys and when you do so it's not clear why you would really want to, unless for some reason uploading pictures of your pet onto the web is what you really want to be doing. The basic things you have to do to keep your Eyepet happy, like feeding them and washing them are now over complex and - the Move controller is not used to full advantage either, using it as a laser pointer to "train" your pet by making eg circular movements so he rolls over is unintuitive and tedious. Somehow amongst this mess of a game where before you could forgive the inadequacies of the Eye camera and the rather grainy picture of you playing with the pet that was always inevitable, when this is coupled with far too frequent freezing and just downright pointlessness even the most devoted to Eyepet five year old (that would be my daughter) is going to get disillusioned and frustrated. Gaming really should be more fun than this.
Yes this game does provide two pets, (assuming you have two Move controllers of course) but two near identical pets with added clothes options but a highly increased likelihood of crashing, freezing and just generally being annoying. This game really is not an improvement on the first one despite the increased ability to draw and create cards and your own toys, there are just too many aspects that are less good. That the price of this game has plummeted to somewhere around £7 (sadly I paid over double this) is I suppose telling. Where before my kids loved this game and could play happily by themselves, now they need supervision and help and are not sure what they are supposed to do - I'd like to be able to tell them but in all honesty I find it all pretty pointless and frustrating myself. Not recommended on any level - buy the first game instead.