Desk Pets Trekbot Nearly Escapes Review


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I love robots and remote control toys and Trekbot is both. He comes to us from Desk Pets, the makers of Skitterbot as well as other fun remote controlled toys. The irony is that these things are so fast that they’re much better suited for use on a floor rather than a desk. My review subject nearly escaped, but I pinned him down for some quick photos and video.

Desk Pets TrekBot

Trekbot Features

Like Skitterbot, Trekbot’s remote has a few button batteries that it runs on and the bot itself recharges via a cable from the remote. To charge the bot, you plug the remote’s cable into the bot and insert the retractable USB end of the remote into your computer’s USB port. Charging time is said to be about 30 minutes for about 15 minutes of play time, but mine took only about 15 minutes to fully charge out of the box. When the Trekbot is not charging, the usb plug retracts into the remote.

On the remote are four directional buttons to make Trekbot spin left or right or move forward or in reverse. In addition, there is a center button to stop movement completely. The cool thing about this bot – other than it’s pulsating blue eyes – is that no matter how bad you are at directing it, it won’t flip over. It’s hubless design lets the body of the Trekbot flip while the wheels stay in place, always keeping its little plastic mo-hawk pointed up.

Controlling Trekbot is a little harder than controlling Skitterbot for two reasons. First, it’s simple one-at-a-time control means you’re either moving or turning, but not both at the same time. This means that if you get off track, you have to hit the right or left button to correct the angle and then very quickly jump back to the forward or reverse motion. Alternatively, you can stop movement, turn the bot, and then start again, but turning gets tricky at that speed. I’m sure a little more practice wouldn’t hurt, though. This is actually the exact same as how Skitterbot is controlled, but Trekbot is just a little trickier to get pointed in the right direction sometimes.

Trekbot comes in 4 colors and each has its own frequency. This means that if you and friends want to battle and race as the packaging suggests, you’ll want to be sure to have different colored bots.

Trekbot In Action

Starting around $13, this is a great little toy for anyone, including yourself. It’s fun to play with and even more fun if you have pets that will chase it with curiosity. If I were to buy one in the store, though, it would have to be the black one. What color would you choose?

Game Review : ColorBuster For The iPhone


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I did it! I put the game down long enough to write a review of it. OK, to be completely honest, it’s not my all time favorite iPhone game, at least not yet, but it’s in the top two so far. The game I’m talking about, of course, is ColorBuster for the iPhone and it’s a lot of fun for a small price.

ColorBuster iPhone Game

Game play
Game play is pretty simple. Your character is hect0r, a cleaning drone robot and you’re on an abandoned space station with all kinds of crates all over that need to be cleaned up. As hect0r, you must visit each level, pushing the crates around until it’s all cleaned up. There’s a few basic rules to play by:

* You push the crates around one space at a time
* You have to pack all the crates of the same color into one
* You need to push the last crate of each color to the teleport

It sounds pretty simple, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. For starters, after the first couple levels, you have to get pretty creative to move crates around. If you push a crate into a corner, for example, you’ll never get it back out. You also get bio hazard crates which need to be pushed out into space, but if you accidentally push a good crate into space, you’ll be unable to complete the level. While it can seem daunting, the first level starts out with some pointers to help you get in the right mind set. Here’s some video of the game play:

Design and functionality
No matter how good the premise of a game may be, the design and functionality can make or break it. This is especially true on the iPhone. One look through the reviews in some of the iPhone applications in the App Store will reveal a lot of people who get upset at an application because it doesn’t function properly (even the free ones). That’s not the case here. The game is designed beautifully with some good color and a good variety of levels and obstacles. Just when I’m feeling good about completing a level, there’s a new one with only one way to solve it. I don’t enjoy a game that I can beat quickly or becomes boring too easily, especially when I pay for it. In the case of ColorBuster, there’s plenty of levels and I think it’ll take some time to get through all of them.

ColorBuster iPhone Game ColorBuster iPhone Game
ColorBuster iPhone Game ColorBuster iPhone Game

The game functions really well and the controls are fairly smooth. I did have an issue initially with the first level freezing up the first time I played, but it hasn’t happened again in any of the several times I’ve played since. I imagine that was just a one time occurrence which is hopefully isolated to just me. I did install several apps at the same time and didn’t reboot or anything, so who knows. What’s important is that it didn’t freeze up any other times or show any other signs of functioning improperly, so my only frustrations will be at accidentally pushing a crate off the side or into a corner.

Conclusions
There’s a ton of games in the App Store, ranging from free to $10 or more. At only $0.99 (for now – normally $1.99), I can see this game being bought up quickly and running up the “Top 25” list pretty easily. I try to add my review to any application I install on my iPhone, and this was no exception.

ColorBuster iPhone Game

Out of five stars, I gave it a full five. It has the entertainment, functions well, and is priced to please. If you like games that make you think, fire up the App Store on your iPhone or iPod Touch, search for ColorBuster, and buy it before they kill the 50% off sale.

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Femisapien is the Curvy Robot That Flirts with You


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Robots are usually gender neutral, which means they pretty much pass off as male robots simply because they lack any defining feminine features or a female voice. Most robots are, for all intents and purposes, male. The Femisapien from WowWee is definitely a female bot. If the name didn’t clue you in, how about her attributes?

WowWee Femisapien

A thing of beauty
Femisapien is definitely a “she” and she’s built with curves all over. Of course, it’s not just the curves that make the bot. The curves are nice, but there’s a lot more to her beauty than the feminine bust line. Unlike some of the other robots I’ve seen, her facial features are hidden behind a mysterious mask leaving a little to the imagination. She’s also dressed in a lot of white with just enough purple and silver to give her some style. The boots are a little large and the hands are more robot than human, but the rest looks like more like a scaled down woman than a robot.

Your wish is her command
Usually, you find a remote control with a robot, but not this time. Femisapien requires a gentle touch before she’ll entertain you. Every action is controlled by the position of her head and various movements performed with her hands. To start, you have to make sure her head is in the right position. The three modes are Attentive, Responsive, and Learning and each has its own functions that can be performed or programmed. When her had is positioned up, Femisapien is in Attentive mode, in which she pays attention to you and her environment. In this mode, she can wander around and do things like engage you in conversation and blow you kisses (see the video). When looking straight forward, she’s in Responsive mode. In Responsive mode, she responds to walking commands and can interact and do comedy routines with you or even a Robosapien. Learning mode is a little different. In this mode, she’s looking down and ready to learn. This is the mode you want her in to program a routine.

Getting her to perform actions like in the video above is done with either a single gesture on one of her hands or simultaneous gestures on both of her hands. For example, in Responsive mode, you can make her do a clockwise cat walk by just pressing her right hand forward or you can make her just walk forward by pressing both of her hands in a forward direction. In Responsive mode, she can also do a pivot turn, a step turn, walk backwards, and strut as well as perform “Who’s the boss?”, “Hey! Look at me!” and “Beep” routines. In Attentive mode, she can perform a fashion pose, become a backup singer (see video) give our kisses (see video) and more. She’ll even slow dance or walk hand-in-hand with you and she hasn’t once asked me to do the dishes or take out the trash, despite her conversational abilities.

Dress her up
In preparing for this review, I was poking around in the WowWee web site and came across Femisapien Fashion (PDF). It’s a document full of cut-out clothing and accessories that you can add to her. For the review, I decided to cut out and apply the cowgirl outfit.

WowWee Femisapien Robot Review - Cowgirl WowWee Femisapien Robot Review - Cowgirl

After printing, I cut out the pieces for the hat and boots as instructed. Then I followed the instructions to put it together and in about 20 minutes, I had a new cowgirl outfit on my Femisapien.

WowWee Femisapien Robot Review - Cowgirl WowWee Femisapien Robot Review - Cowgirl

Conclusions
I’ve been a fan of WowWee’s robots, so I figured I’d like anything they send me. I like all the programs, but she feels like she’s missing one thing I’ve gotten used to with WowWee’s products, and that’s the remote. I think they’ve done a great job with everything she can do sans remote control, but it still feels like something is missing. Regardless, she’s a pretty good female representation of a robot and the dancing and kisses really give her that added touch. They’ve also proven, again, that they are the masters of biped robots on a budget. Femisapien is a great cost-friendly robot, but it doesn’t like Domokun very much.