Anki Overdrive in-depth review - Next level game play

A unique combination that puts together the beauty of Scalextric-style car racing with mobile app gaming, the Anki Overdrive has two thumbs up from our young reviewers who said this was their favourite toy for the Easter break.

 Anki Overdrive Review - Next level game play
4.5

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,4/4/2016 11:15:32 AM

8

out of 10

Performance

10

out of 5

Look and feel

9

out of 5

Ease of use

9

out of 5

Features

9

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Unique concept | Customisations |

Cons:

Cannot control all aspects of racing | storage of tracks can be difficult | App very heavy

- By Sunetra Chakravarti

 Remember Scalextric? For those who dont remember, they made slot car racing systems that could be used on tracks, gaining popularity and fans very quickly. Anki Overdrive is a variation on that but with an incredibly beautiful immersive app and some good story lines.

So how do you set it up & what's in the box?

I am not a gamer, in either real life or virtual and I was quite intrigued by the system so asked for it to be sent through for this review. I recieved the starter kit along with two toy cars, not unlike the Hot Wheels cars I sometimes have to buy my son when the grocery shopping takes longer than expected.

The starter kit had 10 pieces of tracks: 6 of the 90° curved track pieces and 4 straight track pieces that can be laid out in eight different patterns, we (my 4-year-old assistant & me) decided to copy a loopy track that was helpfully printed on the side of the box and layout was very easy- using magnets on the ends of each of the pieces.

There were two cars, very snazzily painted, that came with the starter kit and we were also sent two other ones. Not only do the cars look business but they also have very snazzy names including what their 'powers' are. We got Nuke (special power: DECIMATOR) and Thermo (special power: FLAMETHROWER) apart from Skull and Ground Shock that came in the starter kit.

How does the Anki Overdrive work?

I, then had to download the rather heavy app: 703MB on iOS and 317MB on Android and the size of the apps is probably my single biggest quibble with the anki Overdrive system. However, once downloaded, it is a breezy setup and the instructions are easy enough to follow for children. The starter kit comes with a charging base for the cars and you need to place them on it and connect via USB to a power point for about 10 minutes to get them juiced up. Once placed, the cars glow red, changing to green once fully charged.

 

The AI on the app takes you through the set up and there are different races you can go for on the system. You can race either against the AI mode or turn it into friday night entertainment with your friends as long as they have a smartphone each and enough space on their phones for the app.

Racing against the AI mode is very interesting and fun because the running commmentary and the hecling gives it a real edge to it. The IR laden zooming cars battling on your living room floor is an incredibly immersive experience.

If, however, you want to race against your friends, that's fun too- but I personally found the AI mode awesome.

After an initial lap, when the layout of the race track loads onto your phone, there is a short countdown before the race starts. Everytime you hit the 'enemy' car, the phone vibrates and lights flash on both the cars. During the race you can either fire at other cars or switch lanes, you have no control over the speed of the cars, however.

You get a choice of four, so you can either just race against an opponent, do battle by firing at them, do a time trial or compete to be 'king of the hill' by trying to remain in the lead for the longest period of time. As you play, you earn more weapons and rewards as you would do on any other game.

Anki Overdrive verdict- Should I buy it?

 The racing kit will give you hours of fun and enjoyment. It is well-built, can be used by children with little supervision and is certainly a novelty to have around. After having used it almost everyday for the past two weeks, I can say that I didnt encounter any glitches. The cars did spin out sometimes but that was because the charge was either winding down or because of dust on the wheels.

If you are struggling during school holidays and its chucking down buckets outside, buy the Anki Overdrive- it will buy you hours of peace.

Specifications

£149.99

Compatible devices

Minimum iOS 7 or higher - Bluetooth 4.00 (with full BLE support) / Android 4.4