When you walk into an Apple store, you're surround by bright lights, shiny screens and plenty of aluminum. Hidden past the sea of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks lies a small section of awesome connected accessories — everything from fitness bands to Phillips Hue to the most awesome connected toy of them all, Anki Drive.
Anki Drive truly sets the bar for connected toys. It builds upon the popular slot car systems from years past, adding plenty of sensors, lights and other gizmos to the mix to make for one awesome play set — all of which connects to your iPhone or iPad for an immersive, real-world gaming experience.
The $199 Anki Drive starter set comes with everything you need to get going — the giant 8ft track, two cars, a charger that can charge up to three vehicles at once, and various "getting started" manuals. With the download of a free app you're on your way to becoming an Anki Drive master. Open the app, follow the tutorial and it's off to the races.
The tutorial gives you a quick overview of how to run the cars, use the weapons systems and change lanes. It packs your driving lesson into just a few short minutes so you don't have to waste too much time before hitting the road. Of course you can choose to skip the lesson and dive right in if you're feeling bold. Anki Drive comes with two cars in the starter pack, but we added two more to increase the action. You can have each car controlled by a user with an iOS device, or let the AI take charge, which it does exceptionally well. You can choose between Race, Battle and Practice modes. Race is the newest of the bunch and has you completing a set number of laps before your opponents. Battle goes for points by taking out your opponents.
I've been playing with Anki Drive for about two weeks now, and I have to say it's truly an awesome connected toy. With new a brand new app update as well as new cars & tracks, things are getting even better too. The hardest part for me now is trying to find time to play (and a place to do so since the track is so darn big). We'll have a full review of Anki Drive coming up soon — so stay tuned!