EYEPETS AND FRIENDS is cute and has a lot of activities to enjoy. Kids should take to it easily. Unfortunately, it suffers from frequent and slow loading times and some occasional challenges with the PlayStation Eye Camera. Switching activities involves loading screens that can take 20 seconds or more. When you've spent less than a minute to feed or wash your pet before moving on, it can be frustrating. Starting the game is also quite a process. Plan on at least 10 minutes -- and possibly more like 20 or 30 -- until you're allowed to play freely with your pet. Once in the game you'll suffer through endless instructions from an overly cheery narrator, including the exact same prompt each time you attempt to save custom content in every area of the game. You can skip through (or repeat) the instructions by pressing the triangle button, but the game never really tells you this. This is enough to try the patience of even the most mellow child.
Once you're beyond all of the hatching and instruction, the mini-games can be fun, but aren't particularly challenging. You also start with only one vehicle, one mini-game, one set of stickers, and one set of blocks unlocked. You'll need to earn enough coins to move on and that can take some time. It would have been nice to start with a couple of games, since that's where the coins really build up. One of the places the game shines is in its creative tools, which allow you to really create your own environments, clothes, and toys for your EyePet. With plenty of patterns, stickers, and stencils, you can make a wide variety of designs and use them in your play space and place them on vehicles. You can also create your own vehicle, but it's important to make sure the parts work -- the game will not compensate for a lack of wheels in a bulldozer. That said, it's much more rewarding to use a vehicle you designed yourself. Kids will also enjoy seeing themselves on-screen with their pets, but the multi-player mode can be muddied by two excited kids on-screen at the same time.