Augmented reality caught a flash of exposure with Pokemon Go and continues to get mentioned regularly alongside it, but the technology still has a way to go before it becomes a household constant. Children have access to mobile phones and tablets nearly as much as adults these days and encounter gaming ecosystems geared toward their interests and that’s what the Draw and Code team out of Liverpool is hoping to tap into. Swapbots is their augmented effort that couples AR with toys that have exchangeable parts to bring the imagination of children to life on mobile devices.
The foundation of the Swapbots experience is the bots themselves, toys that are built with three parts: Head, torso, and lower body. Each character you get comes in those three parts and you can interchange them with other characters to create different combinations of abilities. The Swapbots app then brings those creatures to life via the camera lens on your device so that you can battle with AI or other player-created bots. At launch, there’s also going to be a story mode that will force players to exchange parts in order to move forward like using the wings of the griffin to fly over an obstacle.
The toys will supply the full experience for the Swapbots application and there will be no microtransactions or advertisements to supplement the experience. Any currency used in-game is earned in game and there’s no way to purchase additional amounts, which is something that will likely result in a sigh of relief for parents. Adopting a toy-focused gaming experience is something that AR could really benefit from if you look at the success of things like Disney Infinity, Skylanders, and Nintendo’s Amiibos. The Kickstarter has about three weeks left at the time this article was written and is really close to being funded, so it clearly is something people find interesting.