RealFX review: Remote control racing that manages to be both fast and furious
Racing cars will always be fun – whether it’s through a video game or behind the wheel out there on the track.
RealFX is a new type of toy that manages to sit somewhere between those two extremes. It’s kind of like Scalextrix – in that you build a track in whatever form you want and race tiny cars around it. But as I found out, there’s a lot more to it than that.
For starters, the team behind the toy (which began its life as a Kickstarter project) have tried to keep the racing physics as accurate as possible.
The speeds are accurately scaled to size so if you take a turn too quickly, you’re going to spin out. Figure out the racing line though and you’ll see your lap times improve.
Secondly, there’s actual artificial intelligence (AI) built into the toy itself – you can expect the computer-controlled car to try and hog the track to prevent you overtaking.
You can race either against the computer or against a friend
That AI can also be used to keep your own car on the track if you want an easier ride. It works by using sensors on the cars that communicate with the track itself to keep them attached.
RealFX: Design and features
The plastic tracks connect easily together and there are plenty of different configurations
The track is little more than plastic sheets that clip together in different combinations. That means its easy to construct and store away between races – and you can buy extra sections to create longer and more complex raceways.
And although the £99 starter set comes with two cars and two controllers you can buy more at a later stage.
The RealFX starter pack comes with two cars, two controllers and stretch of track to start with
The cars are radio controlled, which means there’s no problems with lag during transmission. Should you wish, you can flip a switch to turn them into full RC cars and drive around off the track. But as you race, your lap times are recorded and played back to you so you can monitor your improvement.
Meanwhile, additional features like fuel consumption and tyre wear can be programmed in – so you’ll have to pull into the pits to continue driving. It adds a tactical element to the racing that helps to increase the longevity of the toy.
Furthermore, Mario Kart-style weapons can be added – oil spills to throw off a chasing car or tyre blow-outs to cripple those in front. It all adds up to plenty of variation when you’re playing.
RealFX: Value for money
RealFX is an addictive racing game that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a screen
RealFX isn’t the only car on the grid offering this kind of experience. The recently-launched Anki Overdrive offers something similar – but lets you control cars with your smartphone.
However, if you’re planning on buying one of these for the kids, kitting them out with Android or iOS devices as well might start getting expensive. In fact, the Anki Starter Pack is already more expensive at £149.99 and another two cars will set you back £49.99.
By comparison, RealFX will cost you £99 for a starter pack that gives you two cars, two controllers and twenty sections of track.
What’s more, the toy itself is relatively future-proofed. There’s a miniUSB port hidden under the shell of the car. Although it draws its power from regular batteries, the port will be used for data connections and to connect to accessories the company has planned for the next few years.
For racing fans, RealFX is the missing link between console gaming and remote-control cars. It’s definitely a toy that needs to be experienced to be properly understood.
I was particularly struck by the variation available – different racing modes, the fact you can do it with friends or alone and the ability to mold any kind of track you wanted.
It’s also frighteningly addictive as you try to overtake and undertake the other cars and get round the track in ever-faster laps.
If you’re searching for a way to get your family away from a screen for a few hours, then RealFX is an excellent solution.
Via: Google Alerts for AI