Macworld on Disney’s AppMates for iPad

Disney adds physical toys to its AppMates iPad game with a Pixar Cars theme. To play, launch the free iPad app and place one of the specially-designed playing pieces  ($19.99 per pair) on the iPad’s screen. Move it around to explore Radiator Springs, complete missions, race other cars and more. It’s a lot of fun, but I’ve got the same complaints as Macworld’s Philip Michaels:

“To make your AppMate visible to the accompanying iPad app when it’s placed on the tablet screen, you have to grip the car’s side windows with a finger—essentially completing a circuit. Loosen your grip on the car, and it will stop moving down the virtual streets of Radiator Springs. It sounds easy enough, but keeping your fingers in place for a prolonged period of play can be a bit of strain. Turning to follow the curves of a racetrack—all without letting go of the car—forced me to do things with my wrist that the human body shouldn’t be asked to do.”

You’ve got to hold the car just so or else the connection is broken and iPad no longer “sees” it. Additionally, some playing pieces are easier to hold properly than others. Lightning McQueen is more consistent than Sally when my kids play.

When it works it’s a lot of fun, but unfortunately it’s frustrating too often to recommend.