The loveable virtual pet from Sony can now embark on its very own adventure.
Eyepet Adventures is the latest virtual pet installment from Sony, offering a furry bundle of fun for PSP users. The game comes packaged with a special ‘Magic Card’ which, when used with the required PSP Camera, brings the pet to life. Simply placing the card on a surface enables you to view the augmented version of the Eyepet and its Explorer Craft. Watching it submerge into the surface of whatever the player placed the card on is a really impressive effect. But I digress, let’s start at the beginning…
The game starts with vibrant and colourful graphics and introduces you to the interactive world of Eyepet. You’re introduced to the Eyepet Explorer’s club in which you engage with a bunch of children who are hunting or have hidden a variety of items. Your Eyepet can jump inside the Eyepet Explorer Craft, which is kind of a yellow helicopter capsule in which the Eyepet can explore the strange world beneath the ‘Magic Card’.
Once inside the Explorer Craft, you will be introduced to a main hub split up into four areas. Go Explore is simply where you can choose to travel to the Under or Surface world. In the Sleeping/Feeding/Photos area, you can put your Eyepet to bed, drop some cookies in a bowl to feed it and look at your collection of pictures you’ve taken with the Eyepet PSP camera. Taking pictures is achieved by simply pressing the right shoulder button. On the Adventure Wall, you have four main options to choose from; toys, Explorer Maintenance, Club Noticeboard, and Pet Gear.
Toys allow your Eyepet to interact with the augmented toys you’ve collected in the Underworld and even try out a mini game. For instance, if you’ve found the scarecrow, the mini game will require you to protect grain from hungry mice and birds. Luckily they are frightened of the Eyepet and, in the augmented environment, simply sending the Eyepet frightens them away. If it’s all getting too much, just pressing on the circle button enables the scarecrow to activate it’s pest stun turn, which sends him spinning to scare off annoying birds. Make your way through enough levels and you’ll be rewarded with some handy pet tokens.
Even though your Eyepet Explorer Craft is robust and sturdy, it sometimes will need some extra maintenance or helpful add ons. In explorer maintenance, you can attach helpful tools such as a drill, air tank or light. These are all used in the Underworld. The Club Noticeboard allows you to participate in experiments in the real world, such as what makes a good or bad egg. The Pet Gear section shows what items you’ve recovered from different children as part of your tasks.
Taking good care of your Eyepet is important. Within the washing and styling area, owners can style their Eyepet’s fur in different lengths, styles, colours and finish off with dressing them up in a cool range of clothes from sailor hats to Triceratops suits. If you have saved up enough pet tokens, you can go on to purchase more as you progress through the game. Simply pressing the triangle button gives your Eyepet a quick wash, looking ready and fresh to take on the next adventure.
In the underworld, your Eyepet embarks on a 2D exploration journey beneath the surface. Your craft submerges into an underground labyrinth. Navigating this world with the use of the analogue stick enables you to explore and discover some wonderful things, such as hidden toys that children had lost or hidden, and you’ll need to collect shiny Magic Tokens, which enable you to explore out of reach places with the use of upgradable tools. It’s very easy to play and can take some time to explore. You can use the triangle button to zoom in and out, but a map would have been helpful as I found myself revisiting many of the same areas a number of times. Some children could find this frustrating at times, and an area showing you where you had explored could of been more helpful.
You’ll have to overcome puzzles areas as you carefully guide your way through turning windmills or dead end areas. Simply tapping some rocks can provide a way out sometimes, but other times you’ll need to upgrade your craft. Diving deeper into the depths, you’ll find yourself slowly moving past giant spiders, over-sized snails and some evil pilot fish. At times you may be drilling your way through dense rock or lighting up darker areas with your new light.
Eventually you’ll explore even deeper by using an air tank. Occasionally you’ll get stuck in the seaweed and you’ll need to move the analogue stick back and forth to detangle yourself, or a spider will come running towards you trying to snare you in its spider trap. Having said that, it’s all fairly relaxed. The serene environment that you explore has a certain amount of charm to it. Before long, hours have passed, you’ve collected tons of magic coins and your craft is fully loaded and ready to take on anything.
Overall, the Eyepet itself is an adorable creature with a friendly personality and children will enjoy the augmented side of Eyepet as you can explore above the surface and play with Eyepet in a more interactive way. There’s plenty of mini games to engage in and a nice selection of costumes and toys. Eyepet Adventures is a great game with lots of features to experiment with and I’ve really enjoyed the experience. I thought the underworld area was brilliant and somewhat mysterious, although I would have liked to see more mini games to interact with. The graphics are vibrant and inviting, gameplay is simple and easy to pick up. Any child would be happy to find this game under the Christmas tree.