Anki Overdrive: Review & Guide In 2017

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anki overdrive review

In a world that is defined by technology, it is not surprising to see concepts and principles of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics being integrated into the design and engineering of even the simplest objects known to man. This is none truer than those in children’s toys, gadgets, and gizmos. And when you combine the classic battle race with these space-age robotics and AI technologies, you get the Anki Overdrive car game.

Without any further delay, we are delighted to present to you the MyKidNeedsThat.com Anki Overdrive Guide for 2017.

The Anki Overdrive Review

The pure exhilaration, thrill, and joy of controlling these robots on wheels are simply through-the-roof. An Anki Overdrive car is not just any other remote control mini car that listens and obeys to every input you desire. It has a mind of its own. It comes with a really advanced artificial intelligence that allows it to study and analyze the battle race so it can blast opponents with a select array of virtual weapons. If you have been playing Crash Bandicoot for some time or have even mastered Mario Kart, then you know how it feels like to be racing, dodging obstacles, and blasting other racers to win the cup. This is the promise of the Anki Overdrive. And even if you are going to only get the Anki Overdrive Starter Kit for now, you can bet that the thrill of virtual battle racing will be very real. Anki promises the successful marriage of real mini car racing with virtual battle scenarios.

Getting Started with Anki

To start enjoying this magnificent robot on wheels with superb artificial intelligence, you will need an Anki starter kit which already includes 2 supercharged artificially intelligent robotic supercars. You also get 6 pieces of curved and 4 pieces of straight tracks which should help you create up to 8 race tracks or battle race course configurations. To add to the immense possibilities, the starter kit comes with two risers. It also comes with a charging system that allows you to power up 4 supercars all at the same time. A tire cleaner also comes as a standard.

In addition to the starter kit, you will also need a compatible mobile device that runs on either iOS or Android platform. Understand that device compatibility is very important to really enjoy the full benefits of the Anki Overdrive car game. Otherwise, you will only have a standard mini car race sans its robotics and highly intense artificial intelligence-driven action.

The Cars 

Coming straight out of the box are Ground Shock and Skull. These are not just any other cool-looking supercars; they are highly intelligent robots on wheels designed and programmed to race and do battle. Both are controlled not by dedicated radio control systems but by your iOS or Android compatible devices. You take the other supercar down with a variety of weapons.

Ground Shock features an Electropulse, a Charge Beam, and a Core Inverter as its weapons system giving it superb firepower and an almost impregnable defense. On the other hand, Skull’s arsenal is composed mainly of a Plasma Cannon, a Chain Gun, and Depth Charges. When it comes to firepower, Skull beats Ground Shock. But Ground Shock has a more impressive defensive capability negating the awesome firepower of Skull. Ground Shock electrifies the race and battle track with lightning-quick reflexes allowing it to dodge attacks just as quick. And when it attacks, you can expect it to be lightning-quick, too. If you’re driving Skull, don’t let it get in the path of Ground Shock as the latter can unleash a barrage of electric blasts in a flash. As gamers put it, Ground Shock shoots first, aims later. The Plasma Cannon of Skull, is nonetheless, a very impressive weapon. Skull’s tactics involves getting right behind the enemy and shoot it in a straight line.

Each Anki car comes with a 50 MHz CPU, optical sensors, and two high performance, high precision motors to give each one superb maneuverability up to 1 millimeter of accuracy. These are not your ordinary cars. They think. They adapt. They are geared for battle.

The Tracks 

As we have already said earlier, the Anki starter kit already comes with 10 useful tracks, 4 of which are straights with 2 risers. With this starter track set, you can build up to 8 different battle track configurations. The tracks have magnetic ends which allow them to stay firmly in their respective places. In addition to the magnetic features, the tracks come with their own unique locking mechanisms guaranteeing superbly continuous racetrack. Setting it up becomes super easy. The recommended track configurations on the Anki starter kit can be accomplished within seconds so you can get right to battle racing in an instant.

The Game Play

Here’s where it really gets interesting and where all other systems are left choking in the dust the Anki Overdrive has stirred up. After charging Ground Shock and Skull on the accompanying charger, you line them up on the battle track. You will also need to download the Anki Overdrive application on your iOS or Android compatible devices.

The game play is pretty straightforward. You have actual mini cars racing and trying to beat each other on a physical race track. This is actually where the reality ends because controlling these mini monsters are done in a virtual environment. Using your mobile device, you can drive, steer, accelerate, turn, maneuver, perform stunts, attack other opponents, and even defend your car from attacks simply by controlling the interface on your mobile device. Technically, your eyes will be both on the physical track and on the virtual environment displayed on your mobile device. It is for this reason that serious gamers of the franchise highly recommend using a tablet for greater viewing options. Technically, the whole concept is a very wonderful marriage between hardware and software.

Before each start of the game play, the app scans the supercars on the tracks and displays them on the screen of your mobile device. Here, you are given the option to either host the game play or even join an existing play hosted by other players. It is also possible to play against an AI opponent which should be quite fun considering you’re going to be going up against a fully independent-thinking robot on wheels. Before the game officially starts, the cars are sent through a warm-up lap to register the configuration of the track, pretty much like what they do in actual races.

The supercars connect to the Bluetooth of your device. Connecting is as simple as turning the Bluetooth feature on your device, no need to pair it, and let the Overdrive app do the rest. This helps minimize complications in the setup of the game.

As for the race itself, you have the option to play in a Time Trial, classic One on One Battle Race or Player vs. Player setup, or even King of the Hill competition. Anki promises continuous development in game play modes which should make for very interesting game plays. This also means you will never grow bored with the same race or opponents as the developers will keep on producing new weapons, better enhancements, and more thrilling game play modes. This alone keeps players on their toes on what Anki might come up with next.

Racing on a virtual environment is relatively fun with the Anki Overdrive car game. The controls are easy with all the race information accurately displayed on your mobile device’s screen. This even includes your current position in the race which should give you a heads up on whether you have some catching up to do or you need to be watching your back more often. As you make headway into the game, weapons and vehicle enhancements become readily available which you can use to really level up your game. You can arm these weapons to blast your opponents off the tracks. Some weapons are best used with the opponent right up front. It’s all about tactics. And while these attacks occur in your virtual gameplay, corresponding effects are also observed on the actual mini supercars. For instance, being hit with a blast can light up a car and slow it down in the process. This gives you the chance to overtake it and head for the finish line.

The different tactics take a lot of getting used to. You will also have to master the controls including which weapon to use for a particular effect. The point is, the more you learn about the Anki Overdrive car game, the better and more intelligent it becomes, and the more exciting each game play is.

Why Kids Love It

Kids and adults alike love the Anki Overdrive simply because of the following reasons.

  • Virtual game in a realistic setting – Obviously, kids love the fact that the Anki is a physical toy that’s played in a videogame-like environment. This helps them make more accurate visualizations of their virtual inputs.
  • Allows for tactical and strategic thinking – It’s not just a race; it’s battle royale. Kids will have to think fast on how to beat their opponents on the fly. This helps boost their problem solving capabilities as well as their strategic thinking.
  • Fosters creativity – With expansion products and plenty of gameplay updates, kids are treated to a smorgasbord of possibilities. With so many battle tracks that can be developed and a variety of tricks and stunts to be performed to outmaneuver and outclass the competition, everything relies on one’s creativity.
  • Enhances motor development – Laying out the tracks is one thing. Controlling the supercars is another. Both will require an excellent command of one’s motor skills.

 5 Popular Anki Products

Here are 5 of Anki Overdrive’s most popular products. We tried to be as comprehensive in our review of each one to give you a more or less accurate representation of just how well other people, especially kids, are making full use of these products.

Anki Overdrive Starter Kit 

Anki Overdrive Starter Kit

Everything starts with the Anki Overdrive Starter Kit. This is the very basic, the very foundation of everything fantastic and fabulous about this toy technology. It’s like having your very first LEGO building and construction play set that you eventually expanded to fill your entire basement with City expansions, Technics pieces, and even Architecture models. Such is the charm of the Anki Overdrive Starter Kit. As 7 out of 10 Amazon reviewers have given it the much-coveted 5 stars, the starter kit lays the very foundation to a more fruitful and really superb playing experience.

As was already highlighted in the earlier sections of this review, we already said that the Anki Overdrive Starter Kit is where all the dreams and magic begin. This is where you get introduced to your two very awesome-looking, very powerful, and very intelligent super cars, Ground Shock and Skull. This is also where you get introduced to 10 tracks, 6 of which curved, which you can configure into 8 different tracks or race courses. You can build a Loopback, The Point, a Quadra, a Capsule, The Wedge, a Hook, a Microloop, or even an Overpass configuration. In essence, you can actually create your very own track. You’d really have to ramp up your imagination, though. Regardless, you can always purchase expansion tracks to really create the most outrageous, most challenging race course you can ever think of. Besides, that’s the whole point of having a starter kit: to expand.

The Anki starter kit already comes with everything that you need to enjoy a really futuristic virtual battle racing game. The only thing that it doesn’t come with is the mobile devices that you have to use to take full control of your Overdrive car. It is highly suggested that you check first with Anki for compatibility with your existing device.

One very useful inclusion in the Anki starter kit is the tire cleaner. It is inadvertent that supercars will go off track and will pick up dirt in the process. Before you return these mini monsters onto the tracks, it is crucial that you clean the tires first to help ensure optimum race performance. This guarantees optimum operational performance of your cars as dirt and debris can literally dampen speed and maneuverability.

The Anki Overdrive Starter Kit also comes with a 4-vehicle base charging station. While the kit only comes with Skull and Ground Shock, you can purchase other expansion vehicles. You can then simultaneously charge all 4 vehicles on the base charging station and watch them fill their power up on the screen of your mobile device.

Anki Overdrive Thermo Expansion Car Toy 

Anki OVERDRIVE Thermo Expansion Car Toy

Thermo is an expansion Overdrive car that is characteristic of an old-school muscle car mated to a stylishly futuristic chassis. It’s well known for burning the tracks, thanks to its uniquely engineered internal combustion engine, hyper-charged to leave a wake of fiery destruction. This unique feature also allows Thermo to project fireballs at any hapless racer on its path. This is the primary function of Thermo’s Flamethrower. It shoots a continuous stream of lava-hot flame over a wide arc. While this weapon is short ranged, it can nevertheless, create substantial damage to nearby vehicles. For long range fires, Thermo can blast a beam of intense pulsating heat much like a laser that can render anyone in the beam’s path helpless and virtually destroyed. And if all of the enemies are already incapacitated or have significantly slowed down, Thermo’s Afterburner can send it flying through the course at lightning speeds. Thermo offers superb firepower. However, its defensive capabilities are mediocre, at best, with only the rear-mounted Afterburner enabling it to escape any attacks from enemies coming up from the rear.

Anki Overdrive Guardian Expansion Car Toy

Anki Overdrive Guardian Expansion Car Toy

Guardian reminds us of the signature styling of the Lamborghini Aventador or even the Sesto Elemento. With its superbly sleek styling comes piercing sonic attacks that can readily shred even the thickest armors of rival riders. It’s got a great balance of speed and firepower and substantial defensive capabilities. Its primary weapon is the Sonic Beam which actually reminds us of the true power of the Decepticon, Soundwave. Guardian fires a highly concentrated form of pure, intense, and ultra-high frequency sonic energy waves that can obliterate its enemies directly in front. If you have the Guardian on your tail, your best defensive strategy is to go on a looping pattern because even if you’re hit with its sonic blast, it needs to stay centered and focused on a specific target before it can do enough damage. Now, to counter this defensive strategy, the Guardian can let out a Banshee-like shriek that literally sends a tsunami of sound waves to blast everyone else nearby. No defensive maneuvering will save hapless victims as the Sonic Blast can pierce right through armor in all directions. Offering defensive capabilities to the Guardian Anki Overdrive car is the Scramble Mine. This makes the Guardian a venerable minelayer, scattering mines all over the track to either blast everyone to smithereens or to put them on the defensive.

Anki Overdrive Nuke Expansion Car Toy

Anki Overdrive Nuke Expansion Car Toy

Nuke Anki Overdrive car is one of the fiercest battle vehicles you can ever find. It has exceptional offensive and defensive capabilities thanks to its use of nuclear energy-like energy blasts. Unfortunately, it isn’t that fast. Nonetheless, with such pure energy being unleashed from the car, there’s no need to speed up because the Nuke will have no opponents on its path. And if there will be the fortunate ones, these will be obliterated by the Decimator which fires high energy fuel slugs at vehicles directly in front. This dissolves armor, exposing the opponent’s vulnerabilities, and making it more vulnerable to future offensive actions. While the Decimator is charging up, Nuke can use its Disintegrator which sprays a continuous stream of high energy charged particles to damage cars in front. And if the Decimator and Disintegrator won’t work, Nuke will simply jettison its Fuel Bomb onto the track to be detonated remotely. This causes substantial damage to all opponents within the blast radius. So, you see, the Nuke may not be that lightning fast, but there really is no need to.

Anki Overdrive Big Bang Expansion Car Toy

Anki Overdrive Big Bang Expansion Car Toy

It’s slow but, never underestimate the Big Bang. If you require superior firepower and an impregnable defense, the Big Bang Overdrive car is the one to get. It boasts of a Graviton Core which, as the name suggests, makes the Big Bang a true heavyweight. It’s more like a heavily armored van that has the makings of the next Batmobile, only meaner, tougher, and has more firepower and defensive capabilities. Take for example the Power Stomp. This creates powerful earthquake-like vibrations and aftershocks that can literally send the whole pack in disarray. Opponents will be wobbling on their wheels, trying to establish grip with the track surface. The shockwave can disable any steering controls on opposing vehicles. Opponents coming from behind, lining up to take a shot at the Big Bang are in for a big surprise. The Back Fire 27 or BF-27 is a large gun mounted at the rear to cover the back. And if there are lucky ones who can dodge the BF-27’s highly explosive rounds, they will never survive the Big Bang’s Frag Mine. This explodes into smaller, high velocity, high energy projectiles that will damage any opponent these bomblets will hit. Big Bang may be turtle-slow but nothing can get way past it.

Pros

  • Superb integration of superior robotics technology with sophisticated toy engineering design
  • Modular and easy-to-build race and battle tracks
  • Continuously updated game modes, enhancements, vehicles, weapons, and a whole lot more
  • Video game meets physical mini car racing

Cons

  • Requires a separate mobile device for each Anki Overdrive car
  • Can be frustrating to control especially if the car goes off track

The Verdict

If you want to give your kids a wonderful example of how the joys of physically playing with racing cars can be fully integrated into a virtual environment, the Anki Overdrive is an excellent choice. With superb robotics technology and a very useful mobile technology interface, this is one toy that is more a video game.

Find more great products like this in our electric toy category here.

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