Now imagine taking that idea and injecting the same capabilities into real toy cars that can be driven anywhere. That’s what Chinese game maker; SmartX has done in making Galaxy Zega.
They call it a realistic virtual tank war game because it melds real offline cars with online virtual elements. Players control the real toy tanks with their smartphones by driving and shooting virtual missiles at their opponents to score points.
To start a new game, players first connect their smartphone to the tanks via Bluetooth. The tanks can be driven on a track made up of configurable magnetic tiles that snap together or they can be driven on any surface. There are two game modes: Battle or Capture the Flag. In Battle mode, players must attack each other by shooting each other. In Capture the Flag; players must drive over each other’s specific territory to score a point.
Leo and Gondar Tanks
One of the really cool aspects of the game is that there are 30 unique skills that give you special powers. For example, Sidereal Shield makes you invincible for 20 seconds, Magnetic Storm makes your opponent spin in circles for 10 seconds and Uni-Paralyze makes your opponent shut-down for 10 seconds.
Skills can be upgraded by redeeming the virtual gold points accumulated or by buying virtual diamonds with in-app purchase. Of course, this is one of the games revenue streams outside selling the box set itself.
The Shanghai-based SmartX was founded in 2013. Tango, the founder is a veteran of Chinese online gaming companies including Tencent and Netease. He wanted to create a game that parents could play with their kids, motivated by his own desire to play with his own son. The company has raised US$3 million to date.
It’s been rewarding for Tango and his team to see kids around China play Galaxy Zega and make new friends. In an era when detaching kids from smartphones and tablets is like pulling teeth, it’s refreshing to see toys and games reform as real physical toys to build and touch.
Of course SmartX isn’t the only player in this field. San Francisco headquartered Artificial Intelligence company, Anki is the maker of Anki Overdrive. It’s a similar game that is more of a race, rather than a head to head battle. One of the biggest advantages of Galaxy Zega over Anki Overdrive, is that it doesn’t need a track, so the tanks are free to be driven anywhere.