Hands-On With WowWee’s AppGear AR Gaming Toys

WowWee, not content with creating singing Elvis heads, is branching out into AppGear Appcessories – apps that require AR-based accessories, allowing you to interact with real environments using an iPhone or iPod Touch. These games, arriving in stores in April, include a zombie game where you’re the zombies fighting off upset homeowners (What a twist!) and an air battle game that actually uses tiny foam planes attached to the front of your phone to simulate flying in three-dimensional space.

The games will cost $9.99 and include various collectable parts. For example, the zombie game, Zombie Burbz, includes four collectable figurines. Of of the figurines has a set of conductive pads on the bottom and, using the iPad’s multi-touch screen, you control the action by moving the figurine across the virtual board.

All of these concepts are quite cute. Mixing AR and gaming is a tough sell but I think WowWee has gotten it mostly right. One game, for, example, allows you to build a ray gun in real life and mix and match parts, resulting in odd weapons that do different things inside the game. It’s an interesting way to connect collectables with games.

Will it succeed? Meh. Kids are notoriously fickle and these sorts of things require an investment of time and effort that many casual gamers might now have. Why install a foam airplane when you can just fire up Angry Birds. That said, it’s a start and it can only get better. And the zombie game, in which the zombies eat garbage instead of brains, is pretty funny.

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