Kids today. They get all the cool toys.
(a pause as I put on my grumpy old man hat)
Back in my day, if we wanted to play with cars, we got down on our hands and knees and pushed the darn things around. If we wanted ’em to race, we made elaborate racetracks around the house with whatever we could find (and our imagination). If we wanted ’em to battle, we made sound effects and explodey noises by ourselves.
Kids today. They get everything done for them. And I’m totally jealous.
Anki Overdrive is every toy car lover’s dream. It’s basically slot cars for the 21st century. We’ve covered it several times before, and every time we set up the track at home, I’m still amazed by it. My son takes it for granted (of course he does), but to me: it’s still a kind of plastic, robotic magic.
If you’re unfamiliar with Overdrive, I highly recommend one of the videos that GeekDad Andy has put together for it. They’ll give you a great idea of what’s involved. But in a nutshell: It’s a battle car racing game with AI-controlled “Supercars” that are aware of their surroundings and level up as you play. Take control of one of the cars with the mobile app, and design your own track (lots of track pieces are available to make your options limitless). The cars then drive around the track to map it. Once they’ve learned the layout, it’s time to race.
Whatever track you build, they’ll learn it. Wherever you drive, the AI cars will hunt you down. The better you play, the better they become. Win races, earn points, enhance your car or weapons. Race some more, take down your opponents.
And now the game has its first full-fledged expansion. Yes, the ability to buy more track and design your own courses is an “expansion” of sorts. And yes, each new version of the app software has integrated new play modes into the game. But this month saw the release of Supertrucks!
The trucks are about three times the size of the cars and are articulated between the cab and trailer (as real trucks are). Two different designs are currently available – Freewheel and X52 – and each comes with new weapons and an entirely new style of play.
First, the weapons. X52 comes equipped with a Pulse Ram, which will blast opponents off the track, and Freewheel has the Gravity Trap, which will disable opponents’ Supercars, causing them to lose all control. Controlling and driving the trucks in the open play modes is pretty much the same as the cars. If you’re already comfortable maneuvering the cars around the track, then you’ll be fine. If you’ve never played before, it’s super easy to learn. Trust me.
The brand-new gameplay, though, really makes the expansion feel unique. Takeover can be played only if you have at least one Supertruck. Players start each match in their chosen Supercars. Chase down the truck and attack it with whatever weapons you have at your disposal. If you break through the truck’s defenses, you take control of it. In other words, you’ve taken over and are now driving the truck, and the car you were previously in switches to an AI driver. Then you can wreak havoc on your opponents until another player (or AI) disables you and takes command of the truck.
It’s all kinds of fun, even if it is voodoo plastic magic.
Shockingly, as of September 2016, players have logged in 3.4 million hours of gameplay in Overdrive, driven more than 2.3 million miles in the game, and built nearly 60,000 different track configurations. And all of those figures are only going to go up with the addition of Supertrucks.
Honestly, Anki Overdrive might be the coolest toy we have in our house…but it certainly doesn’t come cheap. Investing in the game is a serious proposition. The Starter Kit (which comes with 10 track pieces, 2 Supercars, a charging dock, and 2 risers to make bridges) runs $150, expansion packs (of additional track pieces) cost $10-30, additional Supercars will set you back $49.99, and the new Supertrucks are a beefy $59.99.
The starter kit comes with everything you need to play and should tide you over for a while. Soon enough, though, I can guarantee that you’ll be itching for some more track to design longer and more elaborate courses. And I wouldn’t blame you.
(GeekDad was provided with a Supertruck for review purposes. All opinions remain our own.)