Eyes On With Sony's EyePetS

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's EyePet is one of the increasing number of games that's hard to go hands-on with. The augmented reality pet-simulation is played mostly by interacting with an adorable on-screen creature with little more than your hands.

We sat in on a EyePet demo at E3 that showed off some of the game's feature set, some of which is controlled using a special card that acts as a menu. Place that card on the same platform as the pet and an options menu pops up. From here, players can select toys for the EyePet to play with, including a bubble machine and mini-trampoline. These toys will rest upon the card, but can be shuffled around the screen for the pet to interact with.

There's even an x-ray type machine, one that the player can use to see the pet's innards. In addition to seeing the EyePet's skeleton, you'll get vital info about its physical fitness level, health and need for food.

Eyes On With Sony's EyePetS

The pet can be customized to be distinct from the stock Monchichi-esque appearance, letting the player select unique fur colors, fur patterns and fur length. SCEE reps stressed that the PlayStation 3 was rendering hair strand-level details on the EyePet, which would behave in a physically realistic manner. In our demo, we wound up with with an electric blue and orange pet, with a lion's mane style haircut.

The EyePet also has an extensive wardrobe, some 250-plus outfits that include hats, shirts, flight suits and even a turtle outfit.

Finally, we saw some of EyePet's other tricks, including the import of a real world sketch into the game. Our presenter showed a pre-drawn sketch of three airplane parts, which were recreated by the in-game pet. The game character's sketch was then turned into a 3D propeller plane, which spawned an airborn balloon popping mini-game.

The depth of what we saw at our E3 demo was impressive, another fascinating implementation of Sony's PlayStation Eye technology. The only technical hiccup we saw came during the game's loading times, when our presenter switched from the EyePet's physical exam to its character customization. Other than that, no quibbles about EyePet's promise.

We look forward to going hands-on with the game in the future, but will have to settle for E3 media for now.