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Review: Anki’s AI robot trucks are pricey fun for all ages this Christmas

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Review: Anki’s AI robot trucks are pricey fun for all ages this Christmas

Last year, Anki’s Overdrive robot car racing Starter Kit really impressed me. For anyone uninitiated, it’s like a hybrid cross that blends Scalextric with video games, and quickly became my ‘Christmas gift of the year’.

The hybrid approach means you get physical cars driving on physical tracks and ‘shooting’ each other with virtual weaponry, all controlled from the comfort of your smartphone, so there’s no concern about losing the controllers either.

This year, the company is looking to capitalise on the festive period by launching trucks as a new vehicle category – anyone that’s familiar with the game will get to grips with the trucks quickly, though they do have a slightly different control system.

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Instead of using a slider to control the throttle (as the cars do), the racing trucks have a button that looks like an accelerator, and responds much more slowly than the equivalent slider. That’s to be expected though, trucks just aren’t ever going to accelerate like a car, though the top speed seems to be comparable.

The controls for the weapons are also placed differently, and there’s a new ‘Rage’ mode that you activate by filling your ‘Rage Meter’ (by continually accelerating) – once activated, just driving past other vehicles will inflict damage and knock them off the track. It’s extra fun on the occasions that the vehicles that have been knocked off track seem to almost magically make their way back on, though not always.

For anyone with an Anki Overdrive Starter Kit (or other Anki kits), the addition of trucks to the mix is a bit of a no-brainer, with one caveat: things are going to get expensive quickly. Racing trucks against cars might not seem fair, for example, which means you’ll really need to shell out for two trucks, which cost £60 each at their retail price.

That means just to buy the Overdrive Starter Kit and 2 trucks (you’d also get 2 cars included in the kit) would cost around £270, and that’s no cheap Christmas gift.

Fun comes at quite a price in 2016.

Anki Robot Trucks
8.4 RATED
0 User rating (0 votes)
Pros
  • Really simple to set up track
  • Trucks charge quickly
  • Really fun!
  • Easy to use/play
  • Trucks and 'Rage Mode' add a little variety to gameplay
Cons
  • Trucks are relatively expensive - like the rest of the kit
  • You'll need to recharge regularly
Summary

Anki's Robot Trucks already require that you have bits of track to get going, but if you don't already have any Anki gear, a Starter Kit is the most economical way to get up and running, though you'll then need to buy a truck. While the game's not intended for very young children, it's simple enough for a child as young as three to get the hang of it with a little practice, at least in my testing.

The Trucks bring extra variety with a new control scheme and a Rage Mode that knocks opponents of the tracks, and what's not to like about that?

The only potential downside is the initial outlay, but if that's no problem, Anki's Robot Trucks will keep adults and kids entertained alike.

Design8.5
Fun8.5
Price7.5
Features9
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I'm a tech journalist and editor with lots of opinions. 10second.tech is a place for me to put those. All views expressed are personal, and not those of any titles for which I write in other capacities. As well as running this site, I also write for WIRED, Engadget, Trusted Reviews, and a number of other leading technology titles. I also run SexTechGuide.com.You're welcome to contact me via [email protected] if you have news or anything else to pass along, on twitter at @10sectech or @TheNextWoodsTech startup founders that need media advice or PRs and brands that need content strategy advice should visit benwoodsish.com.

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