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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.


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
0 User rating (0 votes)
  • 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
  • Trucks are relatively expensive - like the rest of the kit
  • You'll need to recharge regularly

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.

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I’m a tech journalist and editor with lots of opinions. 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

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Best new Early Access Android games to download today



Finding new games on the Google Play store is a never-ending challenge, so we’ve put the effort in for you to find some of the best new and currently unreleased Early Access games available.

Naturally, as they’re unreleased, you might still find some issues and errors. There shouldn’t be anything too major, but you’ve been warned. This list will be updated over time, so feel free to bookmark it for future.

SUP Multiplayer Racing

Up to 4-person, live multi-player racing with a bright graphical style you’re either going to love or hate. To race your way to the top, you’ll need to upgrade your cars – and once you’ve had enough of everything the game has to offer, you can start creating your own tracks too

[appbox googleplay com.ohbibi.sup ]

Super Sticky Bros

If platformer games are too frustrating for you generally, try Super Sticky Bros – it’s not easy, but there’s no limit on the number of times you can die and you’ll never have to go back too far when you do.

The controls are ridiculously simple too, with just left, right and jump buttons on-screen. Your goal, ultimately, is to reach the top of the screen, which continually extends upwards. It’s a pretty addictive, free, little time-killer.

[appbox googleplay com.chillyroom.smbfan ]

Forward Assault

Forward Assault is more of one to watch for future potental than it is one to play right now if you like your games polished. Or finished.

The game is the follow up to the hugely popular (between 5 and 10 million downloads) Bullet Force, and keeps to the first-person shooter genre. With realistic graphics for both locations and weapons, what Forward Assault offers is worth checking out.

[appbox googleplay com.blayzegames.newfps ]


If facing wave after wave of foes in a tower defense game is more your speed, Antidote is one of the better new pre-launches to hit Google Play.

In essence, you need to defend the body from attacking infections, bacteria and other bodily ne’erdowells by tactically deploying your defenses. With 17 levels and 14 different abilities to check out already, it’s not far from release.

[appbox googleplay com.psyongames.antidote]

Bonus game!

Battle of Polytopia

This one is no longer an unreleased game, but it’s been taking so much of my gaming time lately that it’d be remiss not to mention it.

Battle of Polytopia is a turn-based strategy game that pits your tribe, with unique starting talents, against other tribes on a square map. When you start, only your own small patch of the map is visible, but as you explore and research new abilities you’ll come up against rival tribes.

How you deal with them is up to you.

[appbox googleplay ]

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How do I listen to music and play games at the same time on Android?



How to listen to music and play games

OK, this is an easy one, but a question I was asked this week that you might just have wondered yourself. You’ll kick yourself though, the answer is so simple.

Ready? Start playing your music or podcast app of choice, then open up the game you want to play. Once it starts to load, your audio will cut out, but all you need to do is pull down the notification bar and hit play to start it again.

Yeah, seriously. That’s it. I did say it was simple.

If you have a question you want answered, get in touch.

Read next: Should I root my Android phone?

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