|Release: November 2, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
Despite my tone of impending doom regarding this game, EyePet is by no means awful. It has too many faults to keep me interested, but that doesn't mean you and three other people on the planet won't enjoy it. If you want to raise a virtual pet in your own home, as in real life, there's a lot of responsibility. Maybe you're up to it, or maybe your not. The good thing is your pet won't die from neglect as in some other pet-rearing games. You can feed it, groom it, dress it, and train it, but these are shallow gameplay aspects that have little bearing on your creature's health or performance. Like your pet turtle, the fascination will wane and eventually you'll forget all about it, until in the spring, when you find the skeleton in your backyard. True story.
Your ultimate responsibility for the continued existence of your pet is not sustenance; it's mechanical. If you want to play with your pet, you're going to have to put up with long load times, terrible voiceovers, limited playing area, occasional crashes, and lots of camera-related glitches that even the most saintly of players will find frustrating. Getting set up takes some planning. In order to get your environment onscreen with the magic creature card you have to be mindful of your distance and perspective. A sharper angle is better, as you'll see better results with the card on the floor while you are in an upright position than you will with the card on a table at waist length. This basically precludes the game from being played while traveling in any kind of vehicle, except perhaps an empty Hercules aircraft.
There is one mode you can play anywhere. It's the Pet Home. This is where you tend to your pet's health, hygiene, and haberdashery. The magic card is not required in this mode as it's presented as a standard game, sans your world. It would be good if you could play the mini-games in this mode during times when you can't use the card, as this mode is void of any type of challenge with the exception of running an obstacle course with a wooden car. It's fitting because this mode is a basically a pit stop, one that doesn't allow you to do more than kick the tires.
The biggest problem is operating the control buttons while watching the screen and keeping the magic card within the magic parameter. Lighting conditions also have to be taken into account, and of course you have to keep the gaming system relatively steady. That's not easy when you're used to moving it in relation to the onscreen action. If the camera can't read the card for any reason, you'll momentarily lose the pet. Overall the control scheme and menus are easy to execute and access. The music is catchy, if not defiantly optimistic of the game it's representing. The tutorials are comprehensive, but the voiceovers are absolutely awful. Even young children will realize something's wrong.
The main feature that sets EyePet apart from other virtual pet games is the augmented reality. At its core, the gameplay is shallow and largely unchallenging. It's not so much caring for a pet as it entertaining a guest. Save your money, and take your dog for a walk.
CCC Senior Writer