Anki Drive turned heads last June when it took the stage at Apple's WWDC 2013 with its iOS-compatible toy race cars powered by a form of artificial intelligence. As of today, Anki has expanded the lineup, offering new cars, new tracks, and a new race mode.
You’re never too old to play with LEGO. The colorful, interlocking plastic bricks do wonders for creative thinking and enhancing your imagination, and they’re fun too. We’ve picked out 10 cool, useful, and fun LEGO-themed or related apps and games that appeal to adults as much as—or even more so than—the young’uns that’ll be pulling at your iPhone or iPad the moment they see them. Whether you’re a big LEGO collector, a lapsed or current builder, or just someone with fond memories of a childhood filled with the bricks, these apps are sure to help keep the fire burning inside.
Sometimes, the folks over at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood seem to say, there really can be too much of a good thing. As AllThingsD reports, in this case the culprit is the Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPad, which is a bouncy seat that you can use with an iPad from a suspension bar.
Last fall's release of the HeroClix TabApp tried to bring together the worlds of physical and digital games, letting users place specialized figures from the HeroClix tabletop game series on an iPad screen and transport them into a game. Unfortunately, while it did a solid job of recognizing the figures, the game itself was an utter mess: Painfully repetitive, both ugly and filled with lag, and lacking the strategic spirit of the tabletop source material. The brand new HeroClix TabApp Elite forges a fresh path with distinct gameplay and much different figurine implementation, but while it's thankfully a much smoother experience, the game itself still isn't strong enough to warrant the investment.
When we reviewed the Sphero as part of our Group Test of iOS-controlled toys, we mentioned that "putting Sphero through its paces is all about software. Happily, there's plenty of it." And as of recently, there's even more. We charged up our little robotic orb and tested 11 Sphero-compatible apps. Go ahead, ask us if we had a ball. (We did, actually, but that's doesn't make the pun any less lame...)
In the world of console gaming, the Skylanders franchise – spun off from the once-popular Spyro the Dragon series – has been one of the biggest surprises over the last couple of years, enthralling kids and adults alike by letting them collect physical figurines that can be imported into the game using a portal peripheral. Following a couple of digital-only iOS entries, Skylanders Battlegrounds finally brings a similar experience to iPhone and iPad, though while the toys and process are much the same, the game built around it struggles to captivate.
Whether you’re a kid stuck at home on a snow day or a kid stuck at the office on a workday, toys rock. And kids of all ages know the coolest toys are remote controlled, letting you fly or drive away a dull afternoon from your couch or cubicle. If anything can beat that, it’s toys that you can control wirelessly with your iPhone or iPad.
It's a clever idea, using physical figures or toys to interact with the iPad's touchscreen, but much of the time it simply proves a novelty: a short-lived diversion that deflates once you realize you'd rather be playing a great, standalone tablet game -- or with better toys, for that matter. That's certainly the case with the HeroClix TabApp and the recently released sets of compatible Marvel Comics figurines, which span X-Men and The Avengers. Much as they're properly recognized by the free app, the game experience itself proves terrible throughout.
If your kids are going to be using your lovely Apple gear, you may as well protect it. And maybe you can pick up a new toy or two while you’re at it. We've picked out 8 of our favorite iOS toys for kids. Some you can control with your iPhone, and others just make your iPad easier to cuddle with. One thing is for sure: all of the things featured turn your iOS devices into kid-friendly gadgets.
Don’t get me wrong. iOS games are great. But sometimes all the tapping and dragging leaves us wanting some old-school gaming--moving stuff around and actually interacting with physical objects. Sifteo’s cubes bridge that gap, bringing tactile sensations back to digital gaming. The cubes have little color screens on top, but gameplay isn’t all virtual. Onboard accelerometers sense motion, and the cubes also register their positions in relation to each other. You’ll be tilting, flipping, and moving these cubes all over to win.