Thursday, August 23, 2012


From the shadows, Batman swoops down and lands on your iPad to fight a gang of thugs. But fear not! He’ll throw a lot of punches, but he won’t scratch your screen.

Hoping to bridge the gap between physical and digital toys, Mattel has created a line of enhanced iPad games called Apptivity. One of the first offerings in the line is Batman, inspired by the movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The starter kit, which sells for $20, comes with two toys, the caped crusader and his Bat flight vehicle, which use pressure-sensitive technology to interact with a downloadable game. The toys attach to a base that glides over the iPad screen without leaving a mark.

The game, intended for ages 4 and up, has nine levels in which Batman tangles with Catwoman and Bane, the villains from the movie, and roving gangs in Gotham City. In a nice visual twist, the characters appear as squat, chunky toys, similar to Batman.

The levels are only mildly challenging, but the graphics and sound are surprisingly good. After each level is completed, players can use accumulated points to build Batman’s arsenal. There’s also a quick mode that allows finger play, but I found it easier to use the toys.

Three other Batman figures are available for the game, each with its own mode of attack. But you can also upgrade the figure that comes in the starter set and get those same attack modes.

Apptivity games were also created for Mattel’s Hot Wheels and WWE Rumblers toy lines, as well as toys that unlock exclusive features for existing Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope games. For instance, using the King Pig figure with the Angry Birds game, players can turn the tables on the birds and fire the pigs instead.

Of course, the real question is whether any toys are necessary on a device that typically relies on the swipe of a finger for gameplay. Sure, you can use your finger to play other games, but then you won’t have a cool Batman toy to play with when you’re done.

Source: Gregory Schmidt / The New York Times


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