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Velan Studios’ partners with Mattel for ‘Hot Wheels: Rift Rally’ mixed reality video game

Velan Studios brought new life to the toys-to-life genre with “Mario Kart Live,” a Nintendo Switch game that used a real remote-controlled car to create a mixed-reality experience. Players would set up a track in the living room and race the vehicle through a track they designed.

The toy could go under the couch or weave through table legs. It brought a do-it-yourself sensibility to the “Mario Kart” experience. The only issue is that after the novelty wore off, the game didn’t have much to offer.

For the new foray into the genre, Velan Studios partnered with Mattel, the company behind the iconic Hot Wheels brand. The result of that collaboration is “Hot Wheels: Rift Rally,” a mixed-reality racing game for iOS, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

This time around, Velan Studios offers players a remote-controlled car called Chameleon RC car. It’s a simple white vehicle with a camera mounted on the top, but in the game, it transforms into more than 140 vehicle variations, including iconic designs such as Twin Mill, Bone Shaker, Mach Speeder and Gotta Go. They’ll have to be unlocked in “Rift Rally” by collecting tokens.

The Chameleon RC car looks plain, but it transforms when players look at it on screen. (Mattel) 

“Rift Rally” has two ways to play: the Campaign mode and the Stunt mode. The Campaign lets players set up a track in the real world using special gates that the RC car’s camera can read. The video from the car is broadcast to the screen and the tech turns the gates and other markers into an augmented-reality race track that overlays virtual flourishes atop real-life obstacles.

The Stunt mode lets players drive the car without the gates, but what’s notable is that the technology has been updated so that the Chameleon RC uses Wi-Fi and can roam around the house wherever it can get a signal. Velan Studios also opened up what the car can do in the virtual world. Actions aren’t necessarily one-to-one.

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