The old school staple of many US homes with children, the remote control race track, has been given new life in augmented reality thanks to the Room Racer app for iPhones and iPads.
Using ARKit, the app places a miniature race track on a floor or tabletop. The game includes nine tracks where players can race against the computer or challenge friends in multiplayer mode. The game also offers a track building tool for players to create their own courses.
In a nod to Mario Kart, racers can grab power-up items, such as rockets and lasers, to slow down or sabotage the competition. Winning racers can gain access to special paint jobs to customize their rides.
The game comes from Combo, a London-based two-person team of developer Sam Piggott and game designer Jamie Shoard, with an assist from 3D artist Ajay Karat. Combo previously released the amusing distraction Pigeon Panic AR and the horror AR story dARk: Subject One.
I took a spin around the track to test the game out. The controls are very simple -- press down on the left side of the screen to accelerate, and on the right side for brakes. While the car handles steering on its own, players need to have tight control on the speed of the car to keep it from spinning off the track.
The player's ability to navigate the track in augmented reality from various angles also plays a part in the game, as cars are occluded by buildings and other track features. Players will need to keep their heads on a swivel and bodies in motion to keep up with the action.
The game costs $1.99 on the App Store, but that's a relatively low price of admission for some high-end, casual racing in augmented reality.