Don’t bother re-reading that title, it makes even less sense the second time you read it. Anki DRIVE has that familiar feeling of playing a car racing video game, complete with power-ups, upgrades, weapons and shields…expect it is real! Or maybe it is more like racing classic slot cars on a track, except the cars never go off the track and oh yeah, did we mention you have lasers, cannons, bombs and tractor beams!
Anki DRIVE Robot Racing has a familiar feel, even though you have never played anything like it before! The only hard part about Anki DRIVE is trying to describe exactly what it is…so let’s just show you instead.
Please watch our full video review of the Anki DRIVE Battling Robot Race Cars Starter Kit -
With Anki Drive Looks Can Be Deceiving
We had seen Anki DRIVE demoed at a few trade shows and to be totally honest, we just didn’t get it. We thought it was some remote control cars, you control with your iPhone and drive around on a playmat. A fine toy, but nothing we hadn’t seen before and clearly not worth the $149 price tag for the starter kit. As you can tell from the video, we were completely wrong about Anki Drive!
It turns out that “playmat” is actually a very sophisticated track, embed with data that the incredibly sophisticated Anki DRIVE cars can read and sample thousands of times per minute to know exactly where the car is on the track. The best part is – you don’t need to know a thing about all the sophisticated technology that went into Anki DRIVE, it is all hidden from you and everything just works…really well!
The Perfect Combination of Physical Feedback from The Digital World
Fire your weapons and your car lights up. Get hit by a rail gun and your car comes to a stop. Driving along and suddenly see your car being pulled back to your competitor – yep, your caught in a tractor beam. The ability to take all the cool weapons, upgrades and armor that you would normally find in a video game and transfer it to the real world of physical racing cars, is what makes Anki DRIVE stand head and shoulders over any other racing toy.
You Can’t Go Off The Track, And That Is Awesome
As a kid, I always watched commercials for slot car racing and was hooked. It looked so incredibly fun to have real life races with your friends, complete with passing, bumping and endless fun. The problem was, when I got the slot car racing, I quickly learned that ads are not the best indication of the real play value of a toy. The cars would constantly fly off the track unless you were an expert driver. I think I spent more time putting my car back on the track and arguing with my brother over what lap we were on, than actually racing and having fun.
The fact that the Anki DRIVE cars will stay on the track – no matter what your skill level – is a huge factor in making this toy flat out fun! Don’t get me wrong, you still need driving skills to go inside or outside lane and figure out how to best use your weapons, however, anyone can pickup the iPhone and get their Anki DRIVE car around the laps without ever going off the track. Rather than focusing on the mundane task of keeping your car on the track for 20 laps, you can focus on weapons, strategy and just having fun.
Anki DRIVE Can Grow and Expand
As much as we already enjoy Anki DRIVE, it looks like it could get even better. Software upgrades are free and add new features. You can also buy additional tracks and cars to expand the play value. We love the fact that Android support was recently added (initially was just iOS) and look forward to more games and challenges that should be coming soon.
Is Anki DRIVE For Kids, Adults, Boys or Girls? YES!
Anki DRIVE is definitely a toy that will have appeal to kids and adults, boys and girls. You can play with it in many different ways – race, battle, pimp out your car…just a lot in Anki DRIVE for anyone. Obviously kids who are fans of video game racing, would be the perfect audience for this toy. However, due to the fact you don’t need to worry about keeping the car on the track, even kids (and adults) who are not big into racing, might enjoy the whole robot battle aspect to the cars.
The Anki DRIVE set we reviewed is the Starter Kit ($149) and comes with –
- 2 robot cars (BOSON and KOURAI)
- 1 race track (STARTER TRACK)
- 2 charging cases + 3-port power cord
- 1 tire cleaner
- (You will need an iOS or Android device for each car you want to control)
If you are looking for a holiday gift that will actually keep kids (and their parents) entertained past New Year’s, the Anki DRIVE Starter Kit is an excellent choice.
Anki DRIVE Smart Robot Car Racing Game Starter Kit ($149)
Anki DRIVE Starter Kit is Available for $149 From Amazon.Com