This year’s Skylanders Superchargers is adding racing to the mix, but there’s another toys-to-life game that takes the racing into the real world. Anki Drive was released in 2013, but now Anki is amping up the power with Anki Overdrive, which will be available this holiday season. Rather than racing your cars on a pre-designed mat, you can make your own custom tracks with Anki Overdrive’s magnetic track pieces.
Anki Drive and Anki Overdrive are racing games where you use real cars to race around a real track, with the controls coming from your smartphone. It’s kind of like a sc-fi techy Mario Kart but in real life. In addition to driving, you can also upgrade your car by giving it items for more speed or adding weapons to take out your foes—all on your phone. We took a look at the original game earlier this year. Anki Drive flew somewhat under the radar when it was released, but the toy and tech press heaped tons of praise upon it. We didn’t see the same thing happen for other toys-to-life games.
One of the things that may have made parents skeptical about Anki is that the systems are not cheap. The Anki Drive starter kit runs about $100 on Amazon and the starter kit for Anki Overdrive will set you back about $150. That’s about twice as expensive as a Skylanders or Disney Infinity starter pack, but the difference here is that you don’t need a console to play on.
The Anki Overdrive Starter kit includes two cars, 14 track pieces of various configurations, a four-car charging station, and a tire cleaner. Additional cars cost $50, but there aren’t very many of those out there. And the new version is backward compatible with the original Anki Drive cars. There will also be new game modes rolled out after launch for no additional cost.
The most interesting thing about the Anki systems and other smart toys is that they’re evolving the toys-to-life genre outside of video games. This makes them potentially more preferable for parents who don’t want to slap down the cash for a gaming console.