It’s easy to forget you are holding a phone.
Like most middle-class suburban kids, I grew up around “toy” race tracks. Everything from the simple Hot Wheels tracks you could assemble yourself to the hyper-realistic powered rail tracks we would all race at the local mall on weekends. Every time I’ve played with an Anki Overdrive kit, there’s been a combination of nostalgia and surprise at how well this race kit was aimed at every age group. But I never went and actually bought a kit for myself, and never seriously considered having a space in my house set up for friends to come over and race.
For a couple of different reasons, the latest addition to the Anki Overdrive lineup has changed that. Not just for me, either. As soon as the buy buttons go live, several of my friends will be ready to smash the buy button.
More than just racing
For the uninitiated, Anki Overdrive is about the furthest thing from a model car racing experience you can have while still managing to look exactly like a toy racing experience. You assemble a track made out of flexible sections that clip together magnetically, charge your little cars on a very simple USB-powered pad, and you need a controller to be able to race your car around the track you have built.
Once you actually start racing, it quickly becomes clear this experience is unique. The cars you are racing have an AI, which handles how the car goes around turns and how it switches lanes and a ton of other things. As the driver, you control how fast the car is going and what lane you want to be in, but you’re not really driving the car around the track. Which is good, because you are way too busy doing the other