Apptivities prove a winner, but a bit pricey

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iol scitech aug 22 hot wheels aptivity . Screenshot for Hot Wheels Apptivity on iTunes.

London - “I did it! I did it! I did it!”

This, from a four-year-old, combined with the discovery two hours later that he was still fascinated with the Hot Wheels Apptivity, suggests there is something in the toy that clicks with children.

Between them, my four and 14-year-old children, Tolly and Willow, spent more time playing with two Mattel Apptivities than I feel comfortable admitting on a day when the sun was blazing and they really ought to have still been outside.

Earlier, earning instant popularity, I had handed over a Hot Wheels and an Angry Birds Apptivity to Willow with instructions to make sure she knew how to work them before letting her little brother in on the treat.

Hot Wheels wasn't glitch free. It took a while to work out why certain things were happening on screen and what to do about them but once, as she put it, she'd “got to grips with the navigation” while holding the toy car to the screen, she sat back happily to concentrate on beating her best lap times and exploring other aspects of the game - including shooting up evil robotic cars.

The Hot Wheels car by itself delighted Tolly and the discovery that it connected to the iPad meant it was elevated to “most-prized toy” status and was taken with him everywhere he went for the rest of the day.

The “I did it!” moment confirmed that he, too, had mastered the controls and was succeeding in getting round the courses. The Hot Wheels Apptivity was a big hit.

By contrast the apptivity from Angry Birds, below, lacked the physical success of “driving” the car during races. The “King Pig” toy is used to touch the screen to alter the next challenge but that's it.

The additions to the original game are - to Angry Birds fans at least - entertaining and worthwhile but, my daughter observed, it's nothing the app couldn't achieve itself.

The makers of Angry Birds do, after all, create frequent extra levels for their games so the Apptivity toy seems superfluous, though my son insisted on having a go - “I wanna do it!” - and my daughter laid firm claim to the plastic King Pig.

Each of the Apptivities costs £11.99/R150 (and there are larger £24.99 sets too).

It is supposed to be me who is appalled by prices in this day and age but for once it was my daughter who was shocked at the cost. It's within pocket money range but compared to the cost of apps themselves - usually less than £3 each - she thought it steep.

Her little brother, however, had no such complaints. He'd got a new car that could be played with on both the carpet and the iPad. And if Santa was to bring him one of the Batman Apptivities there would be no keeping the iPad away from him. - The Independent

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