Anki Drive has long been one of our favorite connected toys, and the next generation — Anki Overdrive — is looking to literally make a huge jump. The highlight of the new Anki Overdrive, due out in September 2015, is a modular track that replaces the roll-out mat of the first edition. The individual segments of the track are held together by magnets embedded in the edges, and can even be assembled to build bridges that cross the track or have gaps that cars must jump.
The $149 two-car Overdrive starter kit will have a selection of pieces that allow for eight different track layouts, plus expansion packs that run $10-$30 with U-turns, intersections, and jumps. Additional cars will run $49 apiece. The track pieces are also flexible so the "terrain" can easily be adjusted by slipping something underneath to make a hill or banked track.
In addition to the completely new track system, Anki Overdrive is also replacing the anonymous virtual opponents you would race against with video game-style characters with their own strengths and weaknesses, and even a fictional backstory.
Sure, at $149 the Anki Overdrive isn't a cheap toy (then again, Lego isn't all that cheap anymore either), but it's certainly looking to be a very entertaining one. And with an expandable track that reminds us of an amped-up modern Hot Wheels track, we're kind of excited to check it out later this year.
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.