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Hot Wheels team up with Apple for new high tech toy cars and ambitious kid's video game (Pic: Mattel)

Hot Wheels is one of the best-known toy brands. I remember fawning over my collection of die-cast cars when I was younger — although Matchbox cars gave them a run for their money. While there have been various apps and updates to the toy line, they have largely been just dipping the toe in the digital water. Until now.

Hot Wheels id is a new line of die-cast Hot Wheels cars that have NFC chips in them. This is the same technology used in Skylanders, LEGO Dimensions and Disney Infinity. It means that the cars are not only uniquely identified but keep track of every time you play with them.

Register the new Hot Wheels id cars on the related app using your Smartphone and you can use digital versions of them in a video game racing challenge. This virtual play starts racking up distance, speed and wins for your car.

The game is a slot racing challenge with the considerable finesse needed to do well. Its made by a team at Studio Gobo who were responsible for the Star Wars levels of Disney Infinity, amongst other things.

Where it starts to get really interesting is with the Hot Wheels Race Portal. Like the Skylanders portal, this enables you to scan in your cars, even if your Smartphone or Tablet doesnt have an NFC reader.

It clips to your existing track so you can log how many laps and how fast each of your Hot Wheels id cars has gone.

This also unlocks a new Slingshot mode in the video game. Here you have to time the drop and speed of a physical car on the track to trigger a virtual cars launch in the game.

It starts simple but as more complex timing and targets develop it needs quite a bit of skill.

The real advancement here is the Smart Track Kit. This extends the interactions from the cars to the track itself.

This completely redesigned Hot Wheels track has smart connectors so the app knows the exact course youve created.

It reminded me of Anki Overdrive as the track you create in the real world magically appears on the screen.

But in Hot Wheels id, this means it can now track the exact distance each of your Hot Wheels id cars travels in its lifetime.

As every with toys-to-life games, the biggest question is whether it offers good value. Hot Wheels id wont be the cheapest die-cast cars you can buy this year and the track will cost more than the old fashioned style.

You will also be able to buy in-app virtual cars as well as physical cars.

But in terms of value Hot Wheels id does some clever things that parents will appreciate. Firstly both the Portal and Smart Track kit are compatible with your existing Hot Wheels cars.

You can put any appropriately sized car on the track to expand the fun. It also comes with converters to enable you to slot either kit into your existing Hot Wheels track.

That die-cast car in your childs pocket isnt just there because they like how it looks, but because thats their unique car with speed, distance and wins history thats unique to them.

Along with new ways to race, the Smart Track Kit also unlocks loads of new challenges in the Hot Wheels id app. This uses the new super powerful launcher.

But rather than just hammering it as hard as you can and sending the cars flying (which is fun), to do well you need to learn how to put in just the right amount of juice to hit the target.

This may seem like a small thing, but this kind of feature ensures that families get good value not only from these new toys but the ones they have already invested in.

Its also good that you dont have to buy everything to have a good time with this. A single Hot Wheels id car can be scanned into your Smartphone to play the video game. This kind of interaction has previously needed more investment to get started.

Also, the Portal peripheral in the Portal and Smart Track pack is modular. It pops out of whichever housing it came in so it can be used in other (I presume) upcoming aspects of Hot Wheels id weve not seen yet.

A big difference from other toys-to-life games weve seen in the past is that this really is a Read More – Source

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