EyePet – Move Edition
We're starting to see a trend here. David Cage's dark opus Heavy Rain is one of a few games currently recieving what we like to refer to as a 'Move-over'. Given that Sixaxis motion control played such a large part of the original's gameplay mechanic, we simply have to ask if retro-fitting the game with Move compatability was really necessary. It's the same as Capcom's 'Wii-make' of Resident Evil 4. Sure it worked, but did the presence of motion control really add anything to the overall experience?
We found ourselves asking the same of EyePet Move. If developers truly want to use motion to create the richest, most immersive gaming experiences then surely the presence of a controller serves as a stop-gap to achieving those peaks. The clever use of PlayStation Eye in the first release of EyePet lets players use their bare hands, along with a bundled magic card to frolic and play with their furry companion. It worked well and took players one step closer to experiencing an almost symbiotic gaming mechanic.
Does the implementation of Move compatibility in this new version add anything new to the EyePet formula? We didn't notice anything glaring, other than it replaced the magic card and the tandem need for a dual shock controller, with Move giving you full functionality via one device. However, as we didn't want to assess Studio London's re-release on these merits, we kept an open mind, took Move controller in hand and started waggling the controller furiously to get our furry friend to leap into the air and run around the screen. Again, you can also use your bare hands to pat the ground to call over your pet, stroke his fur and perform other motions.
There is real innovation beneath EyePet's cutesy exterior, and this really shows when you delve into the rich toybox of gadgets available to you. The demo came bundled with some familiar favourites, namely the bowling game, trampoline and others. The latter is one of the first toys you unlock in the original game which, onscreen, turns your Move controller into a trampoline that your pet instinctively jumps on. It's then your job to move the controller left and right to keep the bouncing furball in the air for as long a possible.
Bowling overlays pins onto your camera view and turns your controller into a scoop that your pet climbs into, curling up into a little ball. By pressing the trigger, you can fire him at the pins and earn points. Again this is technically impressive and families are sure to have a riot playing together, but despite the game's undeniable charm and technical prowess, we were constantly met with a sense of déjà vu throughout our hands-on session.
It's charming, perfect for kids and works well, but were already becoming wary of games retroactively recieving Move implemntation as we've found they simply aren't proof of concept. If Sony is to avoid replicating the glut of weak third-party titles that currently clog the Wii market, the publisher will have to ensure it opts for games built from the ground up with the control method firmly in mind. For now though, EyePet is as fun and endearing as it was the first time round, even if it's almost a carbon-copy of what has gone before.