Angry Birds Go! Telepods Pig Rock Raceway Set review

"Get off that iPad" - a phrase that probably any parent who has kids will find themselves shouting more than once a day, especially over the school holidays. But it's Christmas, a time for gifting, so here's an excuse to keep them out of the digital domain: the Angry Birds Go! Telepods Raceway Set toy. Fun!

The toymaker Hasbro, realising that there is a fine line between creative play and computer play, has continued its partnership with Angry Birds maker Rovio to create a physical version of the Angry Birds Go! app for kids to play. Is it enough to make us want to put down the tablet and get interactive with the real world?

Physical play

In Angry Birds Go! Telepods the game involves you hurtling a cars - complete with now famous Angry Bird pig and a bird, obviously - up a sloped straight course. Your goal? To avoid the swinging pendulums and make it to the finish line first.

It feels like a cross between Hot Wheels, Mouse Trap and the Angry Birds Go! app that the Telepods game apes. The action is so fast paced that you'll probably miss what's happening even though the course is almost a metre long, at 88cms in length.

This being Angry Birds there are plenty of pigs to knock off their perches too - shouldn't that be the other way around? - and it's good, clean fun. Although it is a little on the expensive side given its £30 price tag. Cheaper than an iPad, granted, but still not exactly a budget buy.

The Matrix

No game these days is complete without some kind of app tie-in and here you can take the two physical cars you get and transport - or teleport if we're to put on our child-like creative minds - them into the game to play and race.

If you have the Angry Birds Go! app then both these cars can be unlocked in that virtual world. Simply tap into the main Angry Birds Go! karting game app and use the camera on your tablet or phone to scan a barcode to then teleport the characters into the game.

This gives you a huge headstart in the app and in the case of the pig racer - the Royal Rumbler L6 - that includes access to the RockyRoad tracks even if you haven't yet got through the initial Speedway section of the game.

There are lots of other physical toys available too, which are sold as separate sets, but if you want the "king pig" then you can only obtain him - in the physical form, at least! - by purchasing the Telepods Pig Rock Raceway Set. No shortcuts, no small sums of cash we're afraid.

Virtual play

The karting game app itself is great fun - and as it's free to download for Android or iOS.

The title is like a cross between Mario Kart and the original Angry Birds games, controlled by tilting your smartphone or tablet to guide those pigs and birds around the tarmac. The idea is to race your way around a number of tracks and earn upgrades to cars and collect new characters as you go.

As with most games of this ilk at the moment it is easy to complete without resulting to buying more stuff with actual hard-earned cash rather than virtual gaming money. Although Rovio certainly is trying as there are buttons to buy into extra content that can cost as much as £70. Ouch. Make sure your kid's accounts are locked down. Perhaps this physical play for £30 is a much better idea after all.

Verdict

Angry Birds Go! Telepods Pig Rock Raceway Set is great fun. However, it is expensive for what it is and we suspect that unless your kids are huge Angry Birds fans you'll get more out of a Hot Wheels set instead. Indeed, for less you could buy more Hot Wheels - even a set with a loop da loop in it. Who doesn't love that?

Telepods is very much Angry Birds demanding a premium because, let's face it, Rovio's birds have become a force to be reckoned with and a brand that kids identify with. And it's hard not to enjoy the interaction between the physical toys and karting-based app. Still, £30 is steep given that the action lasts less than a second each time.



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