The Apple iPad has, for some, become the go-to entertainment device. Some folks are even sharing with or buying them for their kids. With varying levels of success, different companies have introduced toys to interact with the iPad. Mattel has entered into the fray with a line of toys under the "Apptivity" brand. They have teamed up with some well known games and introduced a new take on classic a brand. The familiar game apps that have teamed up with Mattel include Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, and, of course, Angry Birds. Bringing new action to an old toy is Hot Wheels.
Fruit Ninja brings the Sensei to Apptivity to help in your training. The Sensei figure unlocks a new multiplayer mode in Fruit Ninja HD and Fruit Ninja HD Free. In this mode one player is slicing fruit as normal, while another player uses the Sensei figure to launch additional fruit and bombs off a conveyor belt at the slicing player. As the game progresses the conveyer belt speeds up allowing the Sensei player to launch more fruit. When the slicing player misses three fruit or hits a bomb their turn is over and players trade sides allowing the slicing player to exact some "Sensei revenge." When the new slicer's turn is over the game totals up the number of fruit sliced by each player, whoever sliced the most wins. This new multiplayer mode is fun and becomes franticly paced as things speed up.
Cut the Rope lets Om Nom get up and have some fun. The Om Nom figure unlocks Candy Feast mode in Cut the Rope HD and Cut the Rope HD Free. In this mode you use the Om Nom to catch candy as it falls from the top of the screen, but you have to avoid the falling spiders. Eating a spider ends the game. There is a magnet power-up that falls. When Om Nom eats it, candy is attracted to him for a limited time. You can earn "Blue Star" achievements in this mode also. Developer, ZeptoLab, went the extra mile and added some fun elements. When you start, wherever Om Nom is sitting on the screen he will "lick his lips" as an animation of his tongue moves around him. When he eats a magnet a blue glow will surround him.
Angry Birds turns the tables and lets you play as the pigs, among other things. The King Pig figure lets you unlock one of four different modes for each level in Angry Birds HD or Angry Birds HD Free. Mode one, Material Mix Up, swaps the building material around the pigs. For example if it's wood and glass then the wood pieces become glass and vice versa. This mode changes the strategy for some level, in some cases making it harder. Mode two, Bird Frenzy, lets you keep firing birds from the launcher until you have taken out all the pigs or the timer runs out, whichever comes first. The birds you get are random on each shot, so you may get birds that were never intended for that level. Mode three, Total Destruction, lets you use the King Pig figure to destroy as much structure as possible, again until you run out of structure or time. Lastly is King Pig which lets you launch pigs instead of birds. The pigs even take on the powers of the birds. Developer, Rovio, seems to have made the most changes by adding four modes to each level.
Hot Wheels lets you play with specially designed Hot Wheels cars right on the iPad. Download and install the free Apptivity Hot Wheels app and away you go. Not only can you "drive" the car around the Team Hot Wheels facility, but you can train in mini-games to become a Team Hot Wheels Driver. The mini-games are Racing, Jumping, and Search and Destroy. Racing has you performing drifting challenges and avoiding explosive barrels. Jumping you have to build up speed before launching off the ramp, once in the air you have to catch boosts to keep your car in flight. In Search and Destroy you maneuver your Hot Wheel car through a shooting gallery taking out targets with rockets. As you complete challenges you gain credit that you can then spend to customize your car.
Of all the games the only one I had a problem with was Hot Wheels. On my original iPad the game would crash out constantly. I loaded Hot Wheels on a friend's iPad 2 and the game played fine. This tells me that the game has been optimized for the iPad 2. Even on the iPad 2 the action button on the Hot Wheels car had sensitivity issues. It would not register I used it very often, so entering sections of the game would take a few tries to register. Search and Destroy depends on the action button, so I didn't get far with it. All of the rest of the games played beautifully on my original iPad.
All of the toys are made to be screen safe and not scratch your iPad up. Even so a friend of mine did mention he is sure his son would find a way, so your "mileage may vary."
Of the four games I enjoyed Om Nom in Cut the Rope the most. It was simple, fun, and reminded me slightly of bullet hell shooter games. I also know my niece enjoyed it. They were all great. Even though the Hot Wheels game did give me problems, I still found myself wishing I had something like it when I was a kid.
So for adding fun new modes to hit games and a new twist to a classic toy, I can recommend the Apptivity toys.
All of these games are available now exclusively for the Apple iPad. For more information visit the Mattel Aptivity web site.