There is one undeniable fact of life that every man, woman and child on this planet cannot escape - robots are cool! The runaway success of the last Christmas proves that Australians are well aware of this fact. In the wake of this robo-craze, WowWee has released another addition to their mechanised family, and while it has a few nifty and some downright scary features, it really doesn't feel like much of an improvement over the RoboRaptor
- Attractive design, improved motion mechanics, Sound and vision sensors work well.
- Noisy, Not enough innovation from previous models, mediocre A.I.
The RoboReptile isn’t all that different from its prehistoric cousin, although the few improvements are definitely welcomed.
Price$ 169.95 (AUD)
RoboReptile has quite a few things going for it that the RoboRaptor didn't. For a start, it can walk properly. Not only that, but it doesn't have the turning circle of a Sherman tank (see the RoboRaptor review for more details). It can also simulate feeding and haphazardly perform a whip attack with its tail. However, that seems to be where the differences end. Mostly the RoboReptile roams around the room letting out a shrill shriek and annoying all those close by; although thankfully the sound can be muted. The controls are fairly simple once you get used to them and the auditory and visual sensors work well
Unfortunately these sensors are only useful for detecting movement and noise at close proximity; they don't help with navigation. We let the little guy roam around the office in the hopes that the mere sight of him would send people running but it's hard to be scared of something that seems to instinctively find the nearest wall and repeatedly head-butt it. It seems the pinnacle of the advanced A.I. in the WowWee range lies with the Robosapien V2. In addition, since it doesn't walk in a straight line, we often had to pick it up to stop it veering to the right, making navigation rather frustrating. We would have liked to see the infra-red tracking system used in the Robosapien V2 employed in this toy so that we could get him to attack people at will. What is the use of controlling a robotic lizard if we can't get it to attack our foes?
Thankfully the RoboReptile was a little more frightening when put into guard mode. This puts it into a heightened state of awareness where it snarls, rattles its tail and lunges at anything that comes near it. Despite only being a plastic toy, even adults in our offices were startled at times by its unpredictable movements and attacks. While there is no danger of being hurt by it, we feel that smaller children may be easily frightened by the beast in this mode and as such, do not recommend it for the under five age bracket.
The new design looks more like a dinosaur than a lizard and it even has the raptor's signature claw on its hind legs. So it seems that the RoboReptile, while a new product, isn't too far removed from its prehistoric cousin. Overall, this isn't the best robot WowWee has made, but since it is very simple to use and works reasonably well, it could prove a fun tech toy for robot-obsessed kids.
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