Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: VTech 3-in-1 Race & Learn

When E1 was 1 and a half, he began an obsession over driving (apparently many boys do this). Whenever we got into the car, he would ask his daddy to "drive drive" and would usually get his way. This consisted of dear husband GY sitting in a parked car with E1 on his lap having a go at the steering wheel. 

He was doing this every time, and being very irritating during car rides, that I decided he needed his own steering wheel.

So I did some searching online, cuz you know how immobile it is to be heavily pregnant with a fussy toddler. I didn't want anything too childish as E1 would outgrow it soon, yet couldn't get something too grownup lest he was clueless and destroyed it. What a challenge to buy stuff for a little boy on the cusp of infancy and terrible toddlerhood.

Chanced upon the VTech 3-in-1 Race & Learn toy. After the whole online shopping protocol (read description, compare products, read reviews, purchase) this toy was finally on its way here.

There are 3 ways you can play it, with 3 modes. So that's really 9 ways! What a steal! 

Ignition key to turn on/off the game. A very enthusiastic man guides you through!

Booster accelerator. I'm not sure this actually does anything besides make cool noises.

The 3 different modes: Alphabet Action! Count and Cruise! Racing Time! Ready for a challenge?!

The 3 ways you can use this: car, jet and motorcycle. Seriously, the person who thought of this is a genius. But not the person who narrates the game. 
You can be a jet!! Uhh I don't want to be a jet...I want to pilot one.

LED screen, very nostalgic. None of that high-tech shit. With each mode and vehicle, the environment and objective is unique, so it really is 9 different games , despite being so simple.

Initially, I was quite concerned that the toy didn't come with a clip-on feature and E1 would have trouble keeping it on his lap. Those worries were unfounded, because IT IS SO FUN! E1 took to it immediately and clung to it for dear life during the entire car ride. Who cares that it was designed for 3-6yr olds? E1 had fun just turning the wheel left and right, not bothering with the controls on the screen. I'm also impressed by the workmanship, hardy enough to withstand being roughed up by E1. No crappy small parts that break off under his demolition hands.

But I have a bone to pick with this game. Firstly, I will say I am an avid gamer and have played many different types of games. Platform RPGs, MMORPGs, FPS, rhythm based, racing...etc. And I'm pretty good. 
The game on this toy is very simple. You pilot your vehicle between 2-3 lanes. When you reach an obstacle, say for instance in the Racing mode, you just turn left or right. There's even big arrows and blaring horns to tell you when and which way to turn. As long as you do this and reach the end of the map, you win the game. In Racing mode, the number of computer opponents you overtake determines your ranking (max 3) and there's no visible time limit.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, I CAN'T GET 1ST PLACE IN THE MOTORCYCLE RACE. 😠

Maybe I haven't used the booster properly to overtake the bots, or the method I'm using is all wrong. I don't think I'll ever find out, since E1 makes a fuss if I don't give him back his makotutu (toddlerspeak for motorcycle).

Verdict: 90% Rave 
Points off for bad grammar and not letting me win a game meant for 3yr olds. Ah well, at least E1 is occupied and mostly happy during longer car rides. 
The VTech 3-in-1 Race & Learn is available on Amazon for 24.99 USD but it does not ship to Singapore. Locals can get this from Toys 'R' Us for 89.95 SGD.

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