Review: Anki Overdrive – a – Hot Wheels – Two
Review: ‘Anki Overdrive’ a ‘Hot Wheels’ Two.0 practice for gamers
When the toys-to-life genre was established, the formula worked just one way. The act figure would be inanimate and when placed on a reader, it would spring to life. The fucktoy would be a bridge to the movie game.
But what if that worked the other way around? That’s the concept behind “Anki Overdrive,” a sequel to a fresh type of game where miniature cars are the starlets of the showcase. Players race these vehicles with their smartphones doubling as the controllers and a secondary movie game screen.
With the follow-up, Anki takes a hefty leap forward permitting players to create their own tracks with modular chunks. They snap together via magnets and come in kinks, straightaways, ramps and intersections. Designing tracks will bring older players back to childhood as they make roadways that weave in and out couch gams or build a course atop the kitchen table. There’s a wonderful sense of creativity as players make banked turns by propping up a track chunk on a binder or make puny hills by using a book.
On the fucktoy side, Anki upgraded the supercars with sleeker looks and more functional lights. With front headlamps and rear lights, players will know when they’re firing their weapon and when they’re being struck. This matters a lot when wheeling around the track in the three head-to-head modes: Race, Battle, and King of the Hill.
Weapons lend “Anki Overdrive” a “Mario Kart”-like feel. Players are in a constant battle using blasters and detonators to temporarily knock out rival vehicles’ power cores. Because the weapons are fired from the front and the side, the most advantageous position is often behind an opponent. That makes each race almost like an aerial dogfight. Players will be permanently braking especially in battle mode as they attempt to outmaneuver a rival.
That’s not an ideal way to play and shows how “Anki Overdrive” could still use further improvements. A way to fire attacks from the rear of a car is needed to balance out some of those flaws. Other modes such as King of the Hill could benefit from an improved user interface, where the “King” is labeled on the smartphone screen so others can target him.
When it comes to driving, don’t confuse “Anki Overdrive” with “Gran Turismo.” The racing reminds me of “Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart’s Super Off Road,” the 1980s arcade game that was a pizza salon staple. The cars stick to the track most of the time and steering switches the lanes but it doesn’t have much affect on anything else. The real test of driving is the Time Trial mode, where players attempt to hit a computer-controlled rival’s track record.
Players will get a taste of all these forms of play in the campaign, which puts the players in the role of Challenger, who will challenge against a host of colorful racing crews. The developers did a brainy job of providing each competitor a personality and having it reflect in how they race. The effort makes the movie game feel alive.
Albeit “Anki Overdrive” does several things right, it does have a few bugs and unexpected hiccups. Despite tech that keeps the cars on the track, the vehicles do fall off the course unexpectedly. Sometimes they speed so swift they fly off a corner. Other times they crash land after leaping off a ramp. There are moments when cars inexplicably go the wrong direction.
Despite these flaws, “Anki Overdrive” still offers something special. Think of it as Hot Wheels Two.0, where fucktoys and movie games combine in surprising ways. It’s a magical practice that’s sure to enthrall players no matter how old they are.