Consumer robotics company Anki is releasing two new racetracks, two new robotic toy cars, and a new mode of gameplay for its racing game, called Anki DRIVE.
Anki DRIVE is pretty much a heavily modernized take on slot cars — steer your car around the track using your smartphone as a game controller and fire weapons at your enemies, which can be controlled by your friends or the software’s AI. We’ve previously profiled the company here — Marc Andreessen, one of its investors, calls it “one of the best robotics startups I’ve ever seen.”*
The first new track is called Crossroads, and it’s laid out like this:
The huge intersection in the middle of the track adds a new strategic element to the game because it adds a prime location for causing or avoiding crashes. Anki writes that “this track blends hard corners with a challenging new obstacle. An intersection puts your driving skills to the test, requiring perfect timing and the optimum strategy to survive. Or blast your way to victory from across the track with a well-aimed shot at your opponent.”
The second new track is called Bottleneck. Note how the track narrows into a chicane at the bottom, leaving only enough room for one car to get through at a time:
As Anki puts it, “the challenging bottleneck shape requires the perfect line to edge past your opponents. Timing is everything.”
On to the new cars!
Each of the cars has its own unique set of characteristics. “Corax,” left, is all about weapons that can disable opponents on the track but isn’t terribly concerned with speed. “Hadion,” right, is the opposite. It’s the only car that has access to “Turbo Boost,” which sends it hurtling down the track at a high speed for a short distance.
There’s a bit of a twist in that Corax is strictly an AI-controlled car until you beat it in a race on a medium difficulty setting. Only then does it become available for you and your friends to control.
Anki is also launching a new “race mode.” Previously, the game determined a winner based on points — shooting opponent cars off the track earned points and the first to reach a predetermined total was deemed the winner. The new race mode maintains all the weapon elements, but instead of accumulating points, you race to be the first person to accumulate a certain number of completed laps.
The new tracks are available for $US99 each beginning on May 6. The new cars are available today for $US69 apiece. To get the new race mode, customers only need to update their Anki DRIVE app.
*Disclosure: Andreessen is an investor in Business Insider.
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