The Pittsburgh robotics toy maker approached Schell Games about developing a unique new concept in gaming that had never been tried before, two-way game play, says Jake Witherall of Schell. "It allows players to not only play and battle with a toy, but transfer the game to the virtual world."
"It's the double communication that makes it unique," adds Sarjoun Skaff, chief technical officer. "You are able to impact the online play by playing with your toy offline, and you have the ability to play online in the virtual world. It works both ways."
It's so cool, in fact, CNN Money picked it as one of seven toys you gotta have this year, along with another Bossa Nova release, Skylee, the cute and chatty interactive dragon that resembles his friend, the wide-eyed Penbo, all part of the I love robots line of toys.
Toys were never so smart.
The battling Mechatar works alone on single mission treasure hunts in the human world or may be played in a two-way game in the Mechaverse, Sarjoun says. While you play, the robot is recording action that is later translated to the online game. The toy is targeted for youngsters six to 11 years old.
"The really cool thing is many parents don't like their kids to be in front of a computer screen for too long. So when your mom says 'get off the computer,' you can download and take the robot and continue where you left off with the online game."
Selling at a $39.99 price point, the game is really taking off, Sarjoun says.
Stay tuned, the line will be expanding with more robots for all ages that connect to the cloud with online components. Next up is a smaller fighting Mechatar called Exomorph, a critter that shapeshifts, scurries and runs like an insect. The release is expected in January through Target to Amazon for $19.99.
"This has been an amazing partnership with Schell," Sarjoun adds. "It's one of those secret Pittsburgh recipes that just works."
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Jake Witherall, Schell: Sarjoun Skaff, Bossa Nova