Every New York Toy Fair is a constant reminder that kids are so friggin’ lucky these days.
Take the Avengers: Infinity War Hero Vision Iron Man AR Experience role-playing mask (yes, that’s what it’s called) Hasbro just announced. It’s no ordinary mask. Slap a phone inside and put on the gauntlet and you can actually blow up enemies in augmented reality.
The toy is the latest attempt by a company to fuse traditional toys with the latest technology. Years ago it was simply creating an app for a toy and now it’s augmented reality.
The $50 Iron Man AR mask is designed for kids ages 6+, but adults can also get in on the fun thanks to the adjustable head strap.
I got to try a brief demo to see how it works and what type of gameplay Iron Man fans could expect. If you’re expecting a deep, rich AR world, you can stop reading right now.
Players interact with augmented reality elements using three pieces: the mask (with iOS or Android phone slotted in), a gauntlet, and three circular AR markers.
Setting up a play environment is easy: Just place the AR markers in anywhere in a room. These AR markers are crucial and let the Hero Vision app know where enemies should spawn. (Don’t worry if you lose these AR markers. You can always re-print them.)
Once you’ve got your mask on and AR markers placed in your room, it’s time to bring your gauntlet to life. That’s really easy, too. There’s no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection necessary. Simply place your gauntlet up in front of your mask and the app will recognize the codes marked on it and track its movement.
Using AR markers is the most lo-fi kind of augmented reality experience, but like… come on, this thing’s $50.
After all the pieces are set up, you can then proceed to shooting enemies out of the sky by looking at them and holding your hand out to fire your blaster. You can also defend against enemy fire by rotating your hand so you palm is facing the mask.
The goal is to defeat swarms of enemies over the app’s 10 levels and then fight Thanos. Hero Vision is a simple game and although it’s not necessary to duck around much, kids will get a real kick out of it. It’s immersive fun even if it’s not cutting-edge AR.
Hasbro’s also worked in a clever way to unlock power-ups: buy their 6-inch Avengers action figures. Each figure comes with an “Infinity Stone” which can be attached to the gauntlet to unlock new abilities.