Anki Overdrive is the future of slot(less) car racing – updated

Anki OVERDRIVEAnki has shown what the future for miniature car racing looks like in the form of their modular Overdrive set.

I loved my TCR and Scalectrix sets back in the day and so was quite excited about the prospect of Real FX racing, but Anki brought out their Drive set which gave the tiny RC cars a brain so they could stay on a track without the need for slots or rails in or on the track.

Now, Overdrive brings totally free racing complete with crossroads, ramps and anything else you can think of.

The Overdrive tracks allow you to build a track in any layout or shape, thanks to modular sections held together with interlocking tabs and super strong magnets. Because each section is made from flexible but durable polystyrene, you can add hills, ramps, and even jumps to your customisable course.

Anki OVERDRIVE carsThe cars themselves are loaded with a camera and 50mHz processor which has the smarts to be able to keep the cars on the track which could be different every time they race on it.

Anki has today revealed that the new £149 starter kit will officially go on sale starting September 20th. The starter kit comprises of 10 pieces of the modular FlexTrack: four straights and six 90-degree corners, which is enough to build eight different courses right out of the box. It also comes with two cars so you can immediately compete against a friend, or with the AI driver.

Anki OVERDRIVE trackAnki will also sell track expansion packs that vary in price from £10 for just a couple of straight sections, to £30 for sets that include accessories for building jumps or banked corners to increase the difficulty. Additional cars will also be available for £49.99 each, letting you race up to four vehicles at any time.

If you’ve got enough floor space, enough money, and enough time, the only limitations are the range of Bluetooth from your mobile device, or battery life of the cars.

[youtube id=”i8AxNdczY3I”]

Update – hands on with Anki Overdrive!

I went along to Amazon’s Christmas Wish List event in Bloomsbury Square, London and actually had the opportunity to meet Overdrive in real life.

The track is super-speedy to connect thanks to the magnets and bridges are easily built just by shoving something under the track – obviously the official supports look better.

Anki Overdrive trackUsing a pair of iPhones to pair with and control the cars was simple too. Each car has slightly different attributes and characters attached – as well as weaponry!

We set up for a battle game which, as you’d expect, involves haring around the track chasing each other and getting in position to fire off a few rounds. That sounds fun enough but as well as your weapon you have a tractor beam which slows down your opponent to make it easier to get that killer shot in.

There’s a slider on the left of the screen to control speed, the weapon is top right and tractor beam bottom right. To change lanes you simply turn your phone as you would a steering wheel. You really can’t get any more intuitive.

Anki Overdrive iPhone appHang on though, there are three cars and only me and another guy racing. Yup, the new clever cars can even join in so, if you have more cars than players, the extras become drone cars who will also join in and shoot at you. The AI is fantastic.

Overdrive left me wanting more! With more cars being introduced and a few wrinkles to iron out of the app this is still an incredibly fun toy.

Anki have spent ages to allow cross-platform gaming so, Android and iOS owners can race together on the same track 🙂

I have asked begged them to send me over a review sample when they become available later in the year – then it will be a party around my place to thoroughly review Overdrive. Who’s in?