Disney has developed a new line of Cars 2 toys for kids ages 4 and up, for use on the iPad, based on the popular Cars 2 movie. Once these mobile application toys are purchased (each box purchased includes 2 Cars 2 vehicle characters), the iPad Cars 2 AppMATes app is downloaded for free from iTunes. The World of Cars can be explored by placing the vehicle on top of the iPad and "driving" the car through Radiator Springs playing games and collecting items by holding your favorite movie character with your fingertips. These toys provide a fun experience that revolutionizes iPad gaming for kids.
In order to utilize the Cars 2 AppMATes iPad accessories, a box of vehicles must be purchased from a retailer. There are 3 different boxes available for purchase. Lightning McQueen and Holley Shiftwell are included in one package, Mater and Finn McMissile are in a different package, and Francesco Bernoulli and Shu Todoroki are in the 3rd package. Each package retails for about $19.99, allowing families to collect their favorite characters. An iPad or iPad2 is required for use of these accessories. However, one can download the Cars iPad app and play without the accessories as well, though these accessories greatly enhance play on the app.
Right out of the box, no major calibration or anything is needed to use these toys. Just open the box, download the free Cars 2 appMATES app from the iTunes store, and when prompted place the desired vehicle in the center of the iPad to begin the experience. There is a flashing outline where the vehicle is placed. While you are learning, the app is great at instructing the user with easier ways to maneuver the car, offering suggestions to drive the car in the middle of the screen to move faster.
The main premise of the game is to drive the car around Radiator Springs. The character you choose to play with will meet various friends along the way. Their friends will give them a game to play to collect oil cans, knock down cactuses, etc. Once the task is completed, the car you are driving returns to their friend, who will in turn, give them hubcaps as payment. The hubcaps can be traded in at the store to buy different horn sounds, etc. Thankfully, a green arrow will direct the car through Radiator Springs as a guide when completing tasks and collecting items.
An icon in the top right corner will show the entire map of Radiator Springs and where your car is in relation to different landmarks. There is a place where the car can participate in a track racing experience as well. It does take a few moments to realize that several fingers must encompass the top of the car when playing for it to drive. As an adult with larger hands this can be a little awkward at times. However, a unique feature of these toys is that the app will also recognize different characters that are placed on the app as well. It will respond by changing the voices to assume the new character. Different areas in the game can be accessed based on each character's abilities. The experience when using this app is enhanced by having at least a few different options of cars. I did have one experience where the app crashed. Upon logging back in to the app, my prizes and hubcaps numbers remained the same. In general, this is a really unique and fun way for kids to use their iPad. These AppMATes toys provide a fun experience that has revolutionized iPad gaming for kids.