Anki stole the show when it was announced at Apple’s keynote just a couple short years ago. I know myself and many others wished we had cool toys like this when we were growing up. Luckily, you don’t have to be a child to enjoy Anki’s racing tracks, or their newly released Fast & Furious Edition.
I’ve spent the last week or so testing out the Anki Overdrive Fast & Furious Edition. It has several unique aspects that bring you right into the film, and that separate it from Anki’s standard tracks.
For the best look at the starter set, check out our video where we go hands on with this nitrous-infused race track.
What is Anki Overdrive?
Anki Overdrive is like a new superpowered version of the old slot cars many remember from our childhood. You can race against the computer, or your friends in a variety of different game modes. As you race, you collect digital currency and use that to upgrade your car with new weapons, support, and mods.
Setting it up
Setup is dead simple. Build any track you’d like as long as it forms a complete loop. Throw the included cars on the charger, download the app, and you’re good to go. Connecting to the cars was absolutely seamless, and didn’t ask me to pair or anything. It just… happened. Once the cars are charged, place them anywhere on the track to start racing.
When you go to race, the cars will drive around the track, scanning it, and sending the configuration back to the app on your phone. I really liked this because I was worried I would have to tediously build or choose the layout in the app.
The Fast & Furious Edition includes two cars to use. The International MXT and the Ice Charger. From the film, that is Hobb’s truck and Dom’s racer. They both have different characteristics.
The MXT is heavy and powerful. It has more armor than other vehicles, though not as fast. Its primary weapon is a rocket launcher that deals massive splash damage.
The Charger is built for speed. It is definitely faster than the MXT, though you still have to be a smart driver to keep the lead. Its primary weapon is a grappling hook that can slow down and pull the car in front of you closer.
Each car is very detailed and matches the film very well. There is a 50Mhz computer and built-in camera inside each car. Together, they process over 500 track data points per second. It does this to measure its point on the track, its speed, and its position relative to other cars. It uses that information to accurately doll out the punishing blows from the cars virtual weapons.
On top of each car is a variety of lights that give you different feedback. While racing, it will go in a variety of shades from green to red, representing the remaining health of your vehicle.
The track is really easy to clip together. The edges are held together by magnets as to prevent it being dislodged during racing. The actual surface is a highly durable plastic material that should hold up well over time. They make it easy to store too with the included travel box. Unfortunately, there is no travel box for the cars and charger.
When you set it up, there are more than 20 different configurations you can build. Even more if you add on additional tracks.
One of my favorite things is the fact you can put risers underneath. So you can make hills and other elevated areas, including sections that overpass other areas of your track.
When racing, you can play against your friends, with each taking control of a different car. Though the kit only comes with two cars, you can buy additional cars to expand your collection. Each with their own special weapons and effects.
Other than multiplayer, there are also several single player modes. There is a campaign as well as free-play options. You can do standard races to see who finishes first, or more adventurous ones like demolition, where you race to see who can disable the competitors car a certain number of times.
Luckily, you don’t have to fully steer your cars. They handle the turns automatically, but you control the speed, acceleration, and lane. This still takes a bit of skill as you can cut cars off, block them, or line up your shot.
In the app, you can view the garage of the different vehicles you have. Each car upgrades over time as you level it up. There are different weapons you can unlock, support items, and individual upgrade mods. It really lets you customize your car. It takes something like physical hardware, and adds all these unique capabilities to let you build the one that works best for you.
You can shop for new mods and upgrades in the in-app shop, compete in challenges that update each day for additional credits, and shop the Anki store for additional vehicles.
Wrapping it up
My girlfriend and I had a lot of fun testing out the new Fast & Furious Edition of Anki Overdrive. It was pretty amazing to see these AI powered cars react to weapons and your controls as if they were real. I was a bit surprised at how loud the cars were along the track. Having the audio just come from your phone was a bit anemic and would have been cooler had I put it through a Bluetooth speaker instead.
It was great to hear the real actors voices egging you on as you race, though it seems that they could have recorded a few more clips. At times, I feel I heard the same lines too often.
If you want to try out Anki Overdrive Fast & Furious Edition, you can find it over on Amazon for $169. Each car sells for $49-$59 extra, so that entry price seems like a good deal considering you get 10 pieces of track, two risers to make ramps, guard rails, a four car charging pad, a tire cleaning kit, and other bits and bobs. These two special edition cars are only available as part of the starter set, and you can currently find it over on Amazon.