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Standard powered track - terrible iPad app
on July 30, 2013
This is your standard powered track. It is a little larger than most and includes a couple neat gimmicks as you can adjust the loop the cars run as one of three choices. This is done using two levers that are easy for a 4 or 5 year old to use. This type of toy is nothing new except for the unique ability to pair it with an iPad for some interactive fun. And that's where this set completely and utterly falls apart.
iPad interactivity requires you owning a full size iPad, version 2 or greater. The set comes with a stand that lines the camera up with a section of the track where two lanes cross. This allows the camera to show that section on the screen with some added graphics around it that the child can interact with. In order to choose which scene you are playing, you are supposed to read an included code card. When this system works my children were focusing more on it than on the track. Considering that a base track can lose a child's interest fairly quickly this isn't such a bad thing.
So how does the app work? Like I stated previously, it's completely broken. To start you are given 3 code cards called glyphs. These are supposed to match up with the options on the app. Problem is that two options are locked out being in app purchases (Yay!) and one of the glyph cards matches one of the locked out options. So you get 3 cards, but can only use 2 unless you buy one. That is just wrong. (Working cards are tornado and robot, locked card is Dinosaur. Finally there is an unlocked shark design in the app but no matching card in the set.)
Additionally, the app barely works with the unlocked cards. You are supposed to scan the card and then place the iPad into the cradle. Except moving the iPad after scanning the card kicks off the scanning procedure losing what you just chose. Very aggravating to be stuck in this useless cycle with the in-app instructions being completely useless. I got this to work once but couldn't repeat it.
In summary, the physical track works well enough, 4 stars, while the app works hard to get 1 star. Maybe Mattel will fix the app by the time you buy this, I just wouldn't count on it when deciding whether to purchase this set.
* Easy to assemble though instructions aren't entirely clear.
* Requires 4 D batteries - not included. (I was surprised the set required so much power.)
* Comes with 4 stickers to apply.
* Philips head screwdriver needed to install batteries (but what child's toy doesn't.)
* Includes a single Hot Wheels car - might not be as pictured on the box. Ours wasn't.