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Bloxels Review: Make a Video Game in Real Life!

Bloxels Review: kids playing bloxels

Image from Amazon

Everyone dreams of making their own video game someday. Who wouldn’t enjoy the endless fun of walking around an area they made, fighting monsters, solving puzzles, and truly having their piece of the game world to explore? That’s often why games like Minecraft are so popular, because they allow the players to tailor the experience to their own style. Another game that does the same thing is covered in our Bloxels review.

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What Is Bloxels?

bloxels

Image from Amazon

Bloxels is a game that combines a virtual world with physical items that your kids can hold in their hands. They work by educating kids about coding and challenge their development skills and imaginations.

You create characters, items, and animations by placing cubes on the board, then scanning and uploading them into the game through an app.

Product Specs

inside the box of bloxels

Image from Amazon

You use a free Bloxels app and a gaming board to create pixel artwork. By placing small cubes into a 13×13 game board, you can create characters that inhabit the game world as well as the player characters. Then you scan the item into the app with a camera, and the design appears in-game.

Within the app, you can also create terrain, obstacles, and other items to create levels.

The Electronic Portion

Once the item is scanned into the game, it becomes available for use in the game world. The game functions as a side-scrolling platformer, almost like the Super Mario games. So, you have the character go through the level, collecting coins, fighting enemies, and trying to make it to the end. You can also use text to tell a story through the game.

bloxels electronic side

Image from Amazon

The app also focuses on creative thinking and designing levels that are both fun and practical that other people want to play. The app also features a code board, where you can insert commands and make new rules for the game. For example, you could code that every orange terrain block is lava, or that once the final boss is defeated, the game ends.

Bloxels Review


There is a good mix of skills for both new and old coders alike. We found during testing that it was a lot of fun to try and stump one another with levels. Plus, those of us who grew up with the old pixel platformers really enjoyed the nostalgia factor. In addition, we could easily transfer characters and data from different devices, as long as each device had a free Bloxels account.

Pricing

kids trying out bloxels

Image from Amazon

For our Bloxels review, we bought the kit. The physical game board and kits can be bought for around $20 dollars at Amazon and the Bloxels Store, as well as various physical toy shops. The app is free, and while you don’t need the game board to have the full experience (as you can build your characters and items within the app) it is fun to actually build your characters from scratch.

How It Compares

We compared the Bloxels App and game board to other games on the market to see how they compare in our Bloxels Review:

  • Osmo Coding Awbie Game
  • Shifu Plugo
  • Botzees

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What It Does

The App and Game board integrate well together, allowing for physical designs to quickly be uploaded into the virtual world. The blocks come with their own separators, so you don’t have to worry about losing them and can organize them easily.

Design Quality

It’s very obvious that a lot of hard work went into this, and it showed during our Bloxels review. The design is wonderful, and the physical items are durable, so they can withstand playing from younger kids. The app is well designed and for the most part easy to understand, so you’ll be creating worlds in moments!

Recommended Ages

The recommended ages are 8-13. The blocks are fun to play with, so we could see younger kids having fun with just the physical components. The coding might require an adult’s help for the first few tries, especially if the kids are creating their own games.

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This game operates on the same basic fundamentals of Bloxels, where physical shapes are designed to help kids learn to code. But instead of designing your own game, this product has you code an existing one. There are shapes with numbers and pictures on them, and you stick them together to manipulate a character on the screen.

What It Does

The blocks that you connect together are actually fun to play with on their own, snapping and clicking together. The app requires an iPad or tablet device and teaches coding very well. By putting the character into different situations and giving the kids tools, they pick up coding rather quickly.

Design Quality

Again, this was a product that had a lot of thought put into it. When most people hear the word coding they think of difficulty. But this simple game teaches a lot of coding mechanics while presenting the instructions in a clear way. Even novices will be able to pick it up without too much trouble.

Age Range

Forget the age range, this game is fun for kids and adults! It has enough basic stuff for younger kids to grasp, while older kids will be able to create more complex commands and solve the problems faster.

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This game doesn’t use blocks but instead uses hexagons to stimulate STEM skills and promote problem-solving. The physical items all contain numbers and mathematical symbols on them. You can play counting games and linking games, that use the pieces as playing tools. Children will have to design the shapes with the hexes or solve the math problems with the counter tool to win whatever game they are playing.

What It Does

While getting into the game requires parental permission as well as the use of the pieces to select the game and level you want to play, it a fun product. It’s more about the hands-on and building aspect, as your child plays with the pieces, but it can be used to teach creativity.

Design Quality

The app and pieces are all designed really well, allowing for clear instruction to play the games. You can also connect either a phone or a tablet to the gamepad, although some sizes are not supported. It really encourages a lot of tactile play, perfect for kids who love to get their hands on things.

Age Range

It’s a good game for kids who have trouble focusing on one thing at a time, or who need to improve their motor skills. There are also several additional modules to add to the number of games you can play.

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If you want to have fun with how coding works in the real world, then this is the item for you. Botzees are little robots that kids can control with their coding skills. The robots come with parts that you can use to build one of 6 pre-designed bots, or you can build your own and code them yourself.

What It Does

The machines teach coding skills by allowing kids to build their own robot friends. You build the robots using over 130 different pieces, and once they are all put together, you can go into the app and start issuing commands and programs.

Design Quality

The robots are very well designed and incredibly customizable, and you can easily put together your own custom robot in minutes. Then you can use the app to make the bot move, and even play augmented reality games right on the floor!

Age Range

The robots will be loads of fun for younger kids, and if they like Lego sets, they will love these toys. Older kids might have more fun with the coding and online aspect, especially once they get a good understanding of what coding is. Still, kids will need parental help to get logged on and get the bot connected.

Conclusion for Our Bloxels Review

Bloxels is a fun game that not only teaches coding but encourages it. By stimulating the imagination of its players, soon they will graduate from making characters to making levels, to making levels that are more complicated to play. It’s fun for the whole family, and it really promotes the ‘hands-on’ aspect of coding.

By being able to use both physical and electronic mediums to teach the subject matter, the players see both sides of their education. Instead of passively absorbing the information and being glued to a screen, they are actively touching and building what they want to create. That’s a skill that can never be taught too much.

If you want to teach your kids coding skills, then this is the game for you. Our Bloxels review gives the product 5 stars and we encourage you to keep an eye on it as it moves forward.

Kidibuzz: Teaching Responsible Phone Usage

girl with a tablet

featured image source: amazon.com

Do you want your child to have access to a tablet or smartphone device, but dread the thought of them destroying an expensive device or accessing inappropriate content? There are child-friendly devices on the market that will provide a safe way for children to play games and use apps while offering protection against bumps and drops. Devices like the Kidibuzz are a great choice to introduce your child to smartphone and tablet devices.

Comparison Table

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What Is The Kidibuzz?

kid with a gadget

image source: amazon.com

The Kidibuzz offers a safe alternative to a smartphone that doesn't lack features. This phone from Vtech has a kid-safe browser that allows parents to approve access to certain sites and parentally approved apps. One of the best features on this phone is that children can message parents and approved contacts over Wi-Fi. The device comes with over 40 apps to be used out of the box and has a camera for selfies and photos.

Product Specs

The Kidibuzz offers a safe alternative to a smartphone that doesn't lack features. This phone from Vtech has a kid-safe browser that allows parents to approve access to certain sites and parentally approved apps. One of the best features on this phone is that children can message parents and approved contacts over Wi-Fi. The device comes with over 40 apps to be used out of the box and has a camera for selfies and photos.

Kid-Friendly Messaging

The Kidibuzz has a child-safe messaging feature that allows parents to set approved contacts for the child to message. The device's messaging system only works on Wi-Fi and has the capability of recording voice messages.

Selfie Camera

The Vtech phone is equipped with a camera that can turn 180-degrees toward or away from the user. The camera is perfect for taking selfies or pictures, and the device stores photos on the 8GB of memory or microSD card.

Durable And Portable

The kid-friendly phone is just like a normal smartphone in its portability. The phone manages to keep a sleek and portable profile, but it also has a shatterproof screen and protective bumpers to keep it safe when dropped.

Pricing

The Kidibuzz from Vtech is available at Amazon for under $. Parents may also find this device at retailers that sell toys or learning products for children.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.


Kidibuzz

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  • Capabilities
  • Parental Controls
  • Durability
  • Recommended Ages
  • Warranty

Vtech covers the Kidibuzz with a one-year limited warranty.

Dragon Touch Y88X Plus Tablet for Kids

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Affordable

The Dragon Touch Plus is affordably priced, so you don't have to worry about spending a fortune to get your child a tablet.

Kidoz Parental Control

The Kidoz is pre-installed on the Dragon Touch Plus. A parent or guardian can choose which content the child will have access to on the Dragon Touch Plus.

Disney Stories Pre-Loaded

The Kidoz is pre-installed on the Dragon Touch Plus. A parent or guardian can choose which content the child will have access to on the Dragon Touch Plus.

  • Capabilities
  • Parental Controls
  • Durability
  • Recommended Ages
  • Warranty

Dragon Touch covers the tablet with a one-year limited warranty.

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate

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Loaded With Content

The LeapPad Ultimate comes loaded with $$ worth of free games and activities. This provides access to over 1000 activities on the tablet. The content grows alongside your child with the LeapPad.

Durable

The LeapPad Ultimate has a durable shatterproof screen and a bumper to prevent shock or damage in a fall.

Longevity

The LeapPad can be used by your child for a recommended 6 years. Parents can add websites to the kid-safe browser, and games and activities will teach the child age-appropriate skills with the tablet.

  • Capabilities
  • Parental Controls
  • Durability
  • Recommended Ages
  • Warranty

LeapFrog covers the LeapPad Ultimate for one year after the purchase date with a limited warranty. To claim a warranty from LeapFrog the purchaser must have proof of purchase.

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet

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Includes FreeTime Unlimited

The Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet includes a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited with 20,000 kid-safe apps and activities. The free content included with the tablet is valued at up to $$$.

Large Memory Capacity

The Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet has 32GB of memory included and can be upgraded to an astonishing 400GB capacity with the microSD card slot.

Spanish Learning

If your child is learning Spanish, the Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet includes access to over 1000 Spanish movies, music, and stories using FreeTime Unlimited.

  • Capabilities
  • Parental Controls
  • Durability
  • Recommended Ages
  • Warranty

The Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet comes with Amazon's 2-year worry-free guarantee to replace the tablet for free in any unfortunate event.

Conclusion

We give the Kidibuzz from Vtech a 4 out of 5. We were impressed by the Wi-Fi messaging capabilities of this device and like that it allows parents to set pre-approved contacts. Being able to receive messages from your child using this device can give peace of mind.


We also like that the phone is protected from bumps and drops but maintains a small and portable size. The Vtech device comes loaded with over 40 activities for children, and parents can add popular Android apps. The phone is an entertaining and educational device with a camera and capabilities much like a smartphone. We found the warranty to be not very long, but the phone is overall a good investment for your child.

Brixo: Enhancing Your Legos

BRIXO Genius Kit

While ordinary LEGO can provide hours of fun and educational construction, Brixo takes both those aspects a notch higher. Using Brixo means children get to learn about electronics, which is sure to get many children excited while offering them a broad range of construction options.

What Is the Brixo?

Brixo is an electronics kit that has conductive blocks, lights, motors, and sensors. It also comes with LEGO compatibility, eliminating the need for the costly reinvestment of buying new building kits that work with it. 


The LEGO-compatible and chrome-coated bricks allow the adding of motors and controllable lights to projects without the need for wires.

Product Specs

The Brixo comes with a micro USB cable that can be used to power it. Alternatively, it can be powered using the included 9V battery. The proximity sensors consist of a reed switch that is triggered by the bundled magnetic robot head. 

rocket
blocks

The sound sensors act as a toggle, with one clap closing the switch and the following clap reopening it. The light sensor can detect light and turns off when it detects light as well as on when it's dark.

The blocks can make cohesive connections both vertically and horizontally. A large horizontal circuit can be created vertically on a large LEGO board. Because of this, it's easy to build a big structure while providing it with power. In the event of short circuits, the protected power supply results in the flashing of a red light. Pressing a button instantly resets the unit.

 Pricing

A Brixo kit with 43 pieces fetches for around $60. You can order kits on Indiegogo and online retailers such as Amazon and eBay.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare:

  • E-Blox Power Blox Builder
  • Snap Circuits Pro SC-500 Electronics
  • Makeblock Starter Robot Kit 
rocket
blocks

BRIXO Genius Kit, Electricity Conducting Building Bricks
Image from Amazon

Brixo is an electronics kit that has conductive blocks, lights, motors, and sensors. It also comes with LEGO compatibility, eliminating the need for the costly reinvestment of buying new building kits that work with it.

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Educational Value

Warranty

Pros

  • Responsive sensors
  • Protection against short circuits
  • Powered through both micro USB and by a battery
  • LEGO compatibility

Cons

  • Vertical connections don't always hold
  • Pricier than alternatives
rocket
blocks

E-Blox Power Blox Builder
Image from Amazon

Brixo is an electronics kit that has conductive blocks, lights, motors, and sensors. It also comes with LEGO compatibility, eliminating the need for the costly reinvestment of buying new building kits that work with it.

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Educational Value

Warranty

Pros

  • Metal coating provides durabilit
  • Makes it easy and intuitive to build circuits
  • Entirely wireless

Cons

  • Lack of sensors limit its educational value
  • Assembly time takes long at first due to learning curve
  • A few small parts may be hard to store safely  
rocket
blocks

Snap Circuits Pro SC-500 Electronics Exploration Kit
Image from Amazon

The Snap Circuits Pro SC-500 has a conspicuously small design and varied parts that allow for diverse constructions. This kit's design shows a clear focus on tidiness. Despite containing over 100 experiments, the kit itself takes up little space.

rocket
blocks

The circuit board is small and lightweight and, in keeping with the theme, all the other pieces are smaller than you'd expect. The packaging allows all the components to be tucked away easily.

The pieces are durable and well made, particularly the plastic base which we found to be resilient. The kit requires two batteries, which you'll have to buy separately.

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Educational Value

Warranty

Pros

  • Original hands-on concept
  • Offers significant educational value 
  • Small size makes it easy to store

Cons

  • Includes very small pieces that may be easily lost
  • Batteries are required to power it
  • Some kids may find it too complex and challenging
rocket
blocks

Makeblock Starter Robot Kit
Image from Amazon

The Makelblock Starter Robot kit is comprised of two packages. One has the mechanical parts while the other has the electronic parts. It doesn't come with assembly instructions, but you can access them on the Makelblock wiki. 

rocket
blocks

The mechanical and electronic parts included in the kit are enough to build two different robots: a track drive robot and a two-wheel-drive robot that has a caster wheel. All the tools required come with the kit.

These include a screw driver and three hex keys that work with different sizes. It's possible to expand the kit with Lego Mindstorms parts.

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Educational Value

Warranty

Pros

  • Original hands-on concept
  • Offers significant educational value 
  • Small size makes it easy to store

Cons

  • Includes very small pieces that may be easily lost
  • Batteries are required to power it
  • Some kids may find it too complex and challenging

Conclusion

The Brixo offers kids a fun way to learn about electronics and its short assembly time makes that easier. We are giving it a rating of 5 stars because of the multiple features it comes with, its impressive specs, and the convenience it offers by being compatible with LEGO blocks.

Icons  source: flaticon; Featured Image from Amazon

Makeblock mBot Review: Teach Your Kids To Code

MakeBlock mBot

Are your kids watching too much YouTube and you're worried it's rotting their brains? You know they're addicted to their screen time so just cutting them off and ordering them outside won't work. What's a parent to do? How about introducing them to the Makeblock mBot? It's a friendly little robot they program on their smartphone, tablet or laptop in a game-like setting that also just happens to teach them the fundamentals of computer programming. They get their screen time, and you get some peace of mind.

In today's fast-evolving world of borderline science fiction technology -- handheld communicators were fantasy on the original Star Trek, now we can browse the internet on cell phones -- it's more important than ever to give our children the tools they'll need to compete. That means they can't just learn how to read, write, add, multiply and divide. They're going to need more than history and literature and art (although a well-rounded education is still vital!). To survive in tomorrow's hi-tech economy, our kids are going to need to be able to build and program...robots!

No, I'm really not kidding! Robots are going to take over the world. They're not going to knock down your door and eat your medicine, but they're going to play an increasingly large role in our daily lives. We're already starting to see automated cashiers, automated warehouses, and self-driving cars. Computer programs are starting to take over customer service, tax preparation, even medical prescriptions!

The people who can create and program the future can write their own ticket. The first step in getting them started is building and programming your Makeblock mBot!

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Robots: The total STEM package


MakeBlock mBot

STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math. It's the catchall term used to describe the various fields forming the core of our modern world. Pretty much everything from the food you eat to the clothes you wear to the city you live in is made possible by some aspect of STEM. Getting a head start in STEM is one way to get a head start in the coming tech-heavy economy.

That's what makes the Makeblock mBot so awesome. It combines every part of STEM in one easy to understand package that's both fun and educational.

What Is The Makeblock mBot?


The Makeblock mBot is a boxy, clunky-looking, yet somehow adorable little robot. I'm still trying to figure out how they managed to make a box cute. It has two large back wheels and an omnidirectional marble "wheel" in the front that gives it surprising maneuverability. It comes disassembled, but it's so easy to put together that even taking your time, you'll need, at most, 20 minutes. You can purchase the Makeblock mBot Robot Kit for between $70 and $120 depending on where you purchase it.

The software the mBot runs on, however, is free to download on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The Makeblock mBot comes with either Bluetooth or WiFi capability depending on your need. Makeblock's recommendation is Bluetooth for home use and WiFi for use in schools (so the signals don't get mixed up). The software is simple to use and lets you program the Makeblock mBot to go pretty much wherever you want it to go.

The Makeblock mBot also a built-in obstacle avoidance feature (which helps you program it to play some pretty lively soccer games with other mBots). This is located in the "eyes" on the front of the mBot so don't cover them up! There's also a "follow the line" mode that allows you to create a map or a maze for you mBot to navigate and complete tasks. This is a big part of various robot competitions for kids so this is an excellent way to practice at home!

What's it for?

What can it do?

What the heck is block coding?

Think icons

Is it a toy or a learning tool?

The Competition

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There's a lot of different DIY robot kits on the market. Many are more expensive or more limited.


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There's the UBTECH Astrobot which looks an awful lot like a certain treadmill robot from a certain film from the 1980s (cough Short Circuit cough). It's other two forms are a car or a two-legged robot, and its block programming is great for kids. It has 371 snap-together parts, 1 infrared sensor, 1 speaker, 2 LEDs, and 5 smooth motion robotic servo motors.


[amazon box=”B072MK1PDV”]

Then there's the LEGO Boost System. This is pretty cool because it can fully make use of all of your regular LEGOs. That gives the set a much wider variety of applications than any other DIY robot kit. You can build a robot, a cat, a working guitar, various vehicles, a dragon that shoots (plastic) lightning bolts and more. The Move Hub features Bluetooth connectivity, an activation button, internal tilt sensor, two encoded motors, and light.

It also has a color and distance sensor that detects motion, color, and distance. To operate it, you must have a mobile phone or tablet. It is compatible with iOS, Kindle, Android, and Windows 10 devices. The system is designed for younger kids, so the programming is more basic and limited. 


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On the other hand, there's the other Lego DIY robot set: LEGO Mindstorms. This is the hardcore stuff before you wander into adult robot territory. The Mindstorms line has available for purchase infrared sensors, color sensors, ultrasonic sensors, and all kinds of additional attachments. It also uses block programming and can switch over to regular programming when your child is ready to advance to the next level. But LEGO Mindstorms is meant for older kids. 

Ten and over compared to eight and over for Makeblock mBot. Also, the mBot is the better choice for first-timers.


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We should note that the Makeblock mBot also has a slew of extras you can buy to keep the fun going. One kit has a temperature sensor, a light sensor, a three-color LED, and more. Another has a sound sensor and a small LED screen to display information (or a face) on. And still, another comes with servos to add moving parts like arms to your boxy little buddy.

Getting the full set is an expensive proposition but, remember, these are accessories, not required items. You can always have your junior robot builder save up their allowance or do extra chores to save up enough money to buy one when they're ready.

BEEP BOOP Destroy All Humans!


OK, we're probably a few decades away from Skynet turning on the human race and wiping us all out. And the Makeblock mBot is just too darn cute to ever be the end of humanity. But while we're waiting for the rise of the robots, why not set you kiddo's creative juices flowing with a little box of fun that will keep them entertained for weeks on end? And while the mBot is being adorable, it will be teaching them what's already one of the most in-demand skills in today's economy. Not bad for an oversized LEGO brick with wheels.

Anki Cozmo Bot: It’s Cute and Teaches Your Kids How to Code

robot car

We all got at least one "slot car" on Christmas or our birthday at some point in our boyhood. They may have been wind-up cars that zoomed through a plastic chute. Also, how could we forget the thrill of turning the knob of the transformer just high enough to ensure maximum speed without derailing the electric slot car? Well, the slot car has just gotten a digital makeover.  It's called the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit, and it's reviving an old American pastime.

Comparison Table

[amazon box=”B00V6951I0,B01EHTJG18,B012B5GZ6Y,B00IGNT40A” template=”table”]

What Is the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit?

There's certainly a lot of hype surrounding these somewhat magical self-driving cars. However, for most of our testers, the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit dazzle beyond expectations. It's a mix of digital and physical; old-school Christmas-worthy toy tradition and the latest in big-boy technology.  You know, the kind of technology that drives all your interconnected devices.

It's about time someone put it all together, and the geniuses at Anki have devised a gift-opening experience that, no matter what the occasion, is sure to leave a lasting impression on whoever has the privilege of opening the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit.  At least - until they're old enough to drive.  But, even if you do drive a real car, you'll be amazed at what the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit can do.

Technology That "Feels a Little More Human"

The Anki company, started by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute alumni, is dedicated to making Artificial Intelligence Technology accessible to everyone. Their mission is to "create robots that move you," and the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit fulfills this mission of making technology that "feels human."

How did they make a more personable robot in the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit? Well, as fascinating as the actual racing cars in the kit are, notably, each car has its own story, much like a character in a drama. Each car brings to a race (or "battle") its own strengths and weaknesses, much in the way that drivers in a NASCAR race bring their personalities to the race with them.

We'll be comparing the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit to some slot cars much like the kind most of us grew up with, but doing so is an injustice in some ways. As you keep reading, we trust you'll discover that the Anki Overdrive Battle and Rae Robotic Supercars Starter Kit is in a brand new class and category all of its own. As you watch your child drive one for the first time, don't be surprised if you find yourself wondering: "Why can't my car do that?"

Product Specs

3 Robots built from robotic kits

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

"Specs" don't do Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit justice. It's a phenomenon so far and above slot cars, it's difficult to describe, but we'll do our best here. We do need to caution you that these are some of the most addictive miniature, apparently self-driving vehicles you've ever encountered.

Self-Driving Cars

Much like the cars that Uber and Google are testing these days, the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit cars drive themselves.  Unlike Uber and Google cars, though, nobody is falling asleep behind the wheel or getting into accidents.  I know, it sounds too good to be true, which is why you need to pick up yours today.  There's no risk to buying them if you keep your receipt, as most stores are happy to take them back if you're not satisfied.

After a quick charge, the cars are off and zooming around the track you just built with a nudge of your fingers.  Remember how the Furbies used to "talk to" each other? Well, these new Akai technological hot rods actually line up at the starting line in a formation so perfect you wonder how on earth they do it.

Play with Friends or Alone

As long as your friend and you each have a compatible device (see below for "phone specs," you're good to go. For those moments where all your friends aren't available, feel free to challenge automated opponents to a race. However, be forewarned that your computerized opponent is a fast learner and will know everything about your driving quirks very quickly!

​Phone Specs

Basically, if your phone can download Anki's app, it's likely compatible with the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit. You may wonder, why even bother with the phone when you could push the car along the track yourself, old-school. And we suppose you're more than welcome to do that. We just think it's more fun to use your phone or tablet as a steering wheel and "drive" the cars as the geniuses at Anki designed the app to do.

Pricing

The Anki lines of cars come with a somewhat hefty price tag, but of course, we cannot expect an innovation like this to come for cheap.  When you see the cars zooming around the track with no guard rails or tracks to keep them in line, sometimes cutting each other off, you'll begin to realize the tremendous value you just bought into.

Self-Driving Cars

Much like the cars that Uber and Google are testing these days, the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit cars drive themselves.  Unlike Uber and Google cars, though, nobody is falling asleep behind the wheel or getting into accidents.  I know, it sounds too good to be true, which is why you need to pick up yours today.  There's no risk to buying them if you keep your receipt, as most stores are happy to take them back if you're not satisfied.

After a quick charge, the cars are off and zooming around the track you just built with a nudge of your fingers.  Remember how the Furbies used to "talk to" each other? Well, these new Akai technological hot rods actually line up at the starting line in a formation so perfect you wonder how on earth they do it.

Play with Friends or Alone

As long as your friend and you each have a compatible device (see below for "phone specs," you're good to go. For those moments where all your friends aren't available, feel free to challenge automated opponents to a race. However, be forewarned that your computerized opponent is a fast learner and will know everything about your driving quirks very quickly!

Phone Specs

Basically, if your phone can download Anki's app, it's likely compatible with the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit. You may wonder, why even bother with the phone when you could push the car along the track yourself, old-school. And we suppose you're more than welcome to do that. We just think it's more fun to use your phone or tablet as a steering wheel and "drive" the cars as the geniuses at Anki designed the app to do.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.    

  • Hot Wheels Ai Intelligent Race System Starter Kit
  • Max Traxxx R/C Tracer Racers High-Speed Remote Control Starter Track Set
  • Real FX Carbon Black Ai Car

Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit

[amazon box=”B00V6951I0″]

​Price $$$ out of $$$

If you're on a budget, you may be tempted to go with a lesser kit.  If you do, you'll be cheating yourself out of one heck of an experience.

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Fun Factor

PROS

  • Amazing out-of-the-box experience including audio during the device setup
  • Advanced technology keeping cars in line
  • Distinctive strengths or "characters" define each car on the track
  • Weapon features allow the driver to creatively attack opposing racers

Cons

  • It's a highly addictive gaming experience, and you may lose track of time while playing with this set

Hot Wheels Ai Intelligent Race System Starter Kit

[amazon box=”B01EHTJG18″]

You're really paying for the brand here.  The featured Anki car really mastered the art of AI, which keeps the cars knowing where they are on the track. But Hot Wheels are a decent, recognizable brand name competitor.

Price $$ out of $$$

Economically priced compared to the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Fun Factor

PROS

  • Classic, well-known Hot Wheels design
  • Works on and off the track
  • No external devices (smartphone) required
  • No compatibility issues

Cons

  • Not as intelligent as the featured model
  • Dust can gather in electrical contacts

Max Traxxx R/C Tracer Racers High Speed Remote Control Starter Track Set

[amazon box=”B012B5GZ6Y”]

If you appreciate a good, old-fashioned RC car that you just happen to enjoy racing, this is your low-financial-risk bet. It's the KIA of your racing selections.

Price $ out of $$$

If the Hot Wheels racers are economical, Max Traxxx is max-cheap!

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Fun Factor

PROS

  • Value, value, value! Excellent price
  • Simple enough for younger kids to work
  • Swag undercarriage lights
  • Variable speed
  • Track glows in the dark

Cons

  • No artificial intelligence
  • No virtual obstacles or weapons

Real FX Carbon Black Ai Car

[amazon box=”B00IGNT40A”]

"No lanes, no limits!" is how it's advertised; that, and of course, the buzzword of the season, Ai. And while nobody comes close to the mastery of the roads of our featured product, this one has one very important edge over our featured product.

Price $$ out of $$$

We scoured both the used and new markets, and you can get these cars surprisingly cheap if you look in the right places. Problem is, many of the most readily available deals don't include a complete startup kit, so the price you see at first might be deceptive because you have to buy the other accessories separately.

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Fun Factor

PROS

  • Cars race a long time without changing batteries
  • Continuous artificial intelligence system exchanges info between cars and handsets
  • The handset includes different settings for different skill levels

Cons

  • Artificial intelligence is robust but not as capable as Anki models

Conclusion

Easily the best player in the new "Artificial Intelligence" class of "slotless cars" is the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit. Hot Wheels is a recognized brand with bigger and flashier cars, providing the comfort and nostalgia that defines most American brand-driven tastes. Max Traxxx' undercarriage bling might also be tempting for some audiences, complemented by its glow-in-the-dark track. Real FX may not seem to have any huge differentiators, but it's a capable racing toy car.

That said, Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit is arguably the most intelligent option, edging out its Hot Wheels competitor in the realm of both control over the car and virtual bells and whistles which amount to a better user experience. The Hot Wheels don't offer nearly the same degree of control over the physical car.

You can't go wrong with the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit. It is sure to impress even the staunchest toy car critic over eight years old. More importantly, the memories of their first artificially intelligent car will live on in their real intelligence for a lifetime. That's because the Anki company seems to be really passionate about creating quality, human-friendly technology, and it shows in the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit.