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The Otaku’s Gaming Study #5 – PSP Augmented Reality Mini-Reviews (Eyepet Adventures and Invizimals: The Lost Tribes)

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The Otaku's Gaming Study #5 - PSP Augmented Reality Mini-Reviews (Eyepet Adventures and Invizimals: The Lost Tribes) 1

Earlier this month, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia provided me with a number of Playstation Portable titles which have been released over the last couple of months, and after trenching through all four of them in my spare time, I have decided to share my thoughts on them all over two convenient articles. The four games include Eyepet Adventures, Invizimals: The Lost Tribles, Geronimo Stilton in the Kingdom of Fantasy and Disney Pixar Cars 2 (The last two of which will be reviewed in the second article). They are perhaps targetted at the more younger games than those who enjoy the bigger violent games on the market, however they each encompass a sort of genre that might be to your liking. This review took so long as they use augmented reality cards and a PSP Camera – which I didn’t have so I had had to track one down and then find someone else who had one to do multiplayer tasks with.  However, I have finally play-tested them and I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts in these bite-sized reviews.

The Otaku's Gaming Study #5 - PSP Augmented Reality Mini-Reviews (Eyepet Adventures and Invizimals: The Lost Tribes) 2
The Otaku's Gaming Study #5 - PSP Augmented Reality Mini-Reviews (Eyepet Adventures and Invizimals: The Lost Tribes) 3

Despite this being the third installment in the Invizimals Playstation Portable series developed by Novarama and continues the storyline while offering the same gameplay was previous installments with improvements. Let me be honest, as you may have gussed from what I said above – I have never played a game in the Invizimals franchise so everything from past games is just second-hand knowledge, but I welcomed the chance to check out their PSP augmented reality series as they have promoted them quite heavily in the lead-up to the Vita’s release. In terms of the games storyline, you will be given the chance to either follow on from where Invizimals: Shadow Zone left off and try to find Keni after he traveled into the Shadow Zone, or alternatively begin an adventure anew with Jasmin and Alex. I personally don’t consider the plot anything special, but it is still a decent enough plot to justify collecting Invizimals and adds a purpose to doing it all.

In a very “Gotta Catch em’ All” sort of style, there are 150 Invizimals to collect in total, each of which have different appearances and abilities, and are viewable your Playstation Portable monitor through the use of an Augmented Reality card which comes packed with the game. There be no ball throwing where you are travellin’ partner, instead you must trap them using a sensor, your AR card and a bunch of simple movements which is very simple, but gives you a bonus capturing mini-game and is what I would consider all-ages friendly game mechanics. What is slightly annoying is that you do not only require a suitable surface to play the game, but capturing Invizimals require specific coloured backgrounds which might be tricky if you don’t have a variety of coloured furniture or items in your house on a solid surface. The aforementioned mini-games are actually pretty enjoyable and make good use of the augmented reality through the use of the AR card. Admittedly, augmented reality jigsaw puzzles might have been pushing it for me.

The Otaku's Gaming Study #5 - PSP Augmented Reality Mini-Reviews (Eyepet Adventures and Invizimals: The Lost Tribes) 4

As you can imagine, the entire purpose of this game is the battles, and it is a system that might not be perfect but still functions well to an extent given the obvious limitations of the systems capabilities and the relatively average camera attachment. The game provides you with four types of attacks, each of which are equipped to one of the four geometric shape buttons in order to select. There are two basic attacks, a weaker but quicker attack and a slower but stronger attack, each of which can be included in a perfect battle strategy when balanced with the stamina system. To add to it, there are also special abilities you can use occasionally through the of buttons or console movements such as shaking the PSP to perform an earthquake. While it is fine enjoying this game in single-player, without a doubt it is the multiplayer that really adds to the game with Playstation Network functionality and local support.

The game is very creative and it was pretty fun collecting all the Invizimals with some interesting designs, but the limitation would be the camera coming in at I believe 0.3 megapixels and a few small and occasional camera problems that I found frustrating. However, the quality of the Invizimals was of an acceptable quality and the live-action sequences presented for the story (I mean, how else do you expect to feel you are in different areas around the world through just a camera?) were brilliant with some over-the-top but brilliant acting on the behalf of the actors. The game was enjoyable, and if you have a camera or can get one as part of a kit – it might be a good family oriented game.

Story: C+
Design:
C+
Music/Voice Acting: B-
Gameplay: B
Replayability: B
Personal Opinion: B
Overall Score: B-

The Otaku's Gaming Study #5 - PSP Augmented Reality Mini-Reviews (Eyepet Adventures and Invizimals: The Lost Tribes) 5The Otaku's Gaming Study #5 - PSP Augmented Reality Mini-Reviews (Eyepet Adventures and Invizimals: The Lost Tribes) 6

While this game does have its merits, if I were to choose between the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable versions of this game series, I would go with the recently released Eyepet and Friends on the Playstation 3 which I recently reviewed and gave a grade of B+. While you may have been expecting more of the same Eyepet style of virtual pet raising, Eyepet Adventures is more about mini-games and exploration than actual feeding, buying toys or squirting them with a water gun. As with Invizimals, it comes with a slightly bigger and bulkier AR marker which will be used to bring your Eyepet into the realm of the living and take part in missions with you.

The AR Marker words similarly to the original Eyepet game on the PSP and as with the previous installment, is a solid if not slightly-outdated visually experience and it is fun to watch your pet scamper around your desk, bed, floor of your garage or wherever you happen to be sitting. You can style and wash your pet, and do a number of other things however it was the bonus additions to the game that brought it down. The main addition was the Explorer craft, where you can take your Eyepet to the Underworld where the can fight the undead, try and escape dungeons filled with deadly traps and face an epic battle against the Grim Reaper himself let him stay safe in his transport and explore a rather dull environment on the look-out for items and coins to buy more items and clothings for your pet. Honestly, after an hour of trying I gave up as it felt very grindy and boring. The redeeming factor is that you can find toys which allow you to unlock one of a handful of mini-games which showcase the potential of augmented reality and were pretty fun overall.

Honestly, there isn’t much else I can say about the game that has not been covered by any other Eyepet game. It is essentially a slightly-watered down version of the series with a bonus gameplay mechanic and the advantage of the Playstation 3 of being able to use an Augmented Reality card which saves you the hassle of trying to set up a Playstation Eye camera perfectly. I was not impressed with this title, but would gladly redirect you to the other games in the Eyepet series which have proven to be brilliant games for kids and families alike.

Story: D
Design: 
D
Music/Voice Acting: C
Gameplay: C
Replayability: C
Personal Opinion: D
Overall Score: D

Sam
Sam
Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fifteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.
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