WowWee’s Roborover may not be as sophisticated as Wall-E, but he sure has way more to say. He can be a great friend for 5 to 12 year olds. He’s easy to use, easy to play with, and built tough. He can’t move fast enough to do real damage to anything in the house, also you probably will not have to worry about your pets as they can easily out-walk Roborover. With Roborovers wireless remote you can control where he goes, or feel free to set him on explore mode where he’ll wander around making comments as he goes. For some added fun, shut the lights off on Roborover and see how well he handles himself with his illuminated face and headlights. Roborover will also play a couple different games that are actually pretty challenging, and great for developing logic skills. My one piece of advice is to read the manual (RTM!) since Roborover has features that are not so obvious.
Everyone knows how painful it can be to free these types of toys from their packaging. Freeing Roborover is a bit tricky, and will take some patience. The first barrier to break through is just packing tape, that’s always easy. But he has 7 paperclip-like metal twist ties, which will take about 5 to 10 minutes to unravel. Then he is screwed to a plastic base on the bottom. You will need a long and skinny Phillips head screwdriver (not included) to get these 4 screws off and finish releasing Roborover from his packing. That shouldn’t take much longer than 10 to 15 minutes to get open. The package includes Roborover, his remote, and his much needed user manual.
The only set up required is filling Roborover and his remote with the required batteries. The remote, which you will need a Philips head screwdriver for, requires 3 AAA batteries so Mom or Dad will have to get involved. Roborover’s battery compartment is located underneath him. This also requires a Philips head screwdriver. Roborover requires 4 C batteries. Once batteries are in, just push Roborovers ON button down and he is ready to go!
Roborover is an indoor robot. He is capable of driving over small obstacles (about 1 inch in height). He has tread-based wheels which let him move in any direction and spin on the spot. Whether it’s carpet, wood, or tile, Roborover will easily make his way around the room. As you drive Roborover around he will make energetic and kid-friendly comical comments about his surroundings (whether you like it or not). Roborover does not have a microphone, and cannot process anything you say to him, but that didn’t stop me from talking to him! The controller has a direction pad, which makes it relatively easy to navigate him around. The controller has a dial to adjust trim if Roborover doesn’t seem to drive perfectly straight (this is one of the less obvious features).
If Roborover does bump in to something, which sometimes happens regardless of his sensors, his “Fall Detection” will prevent him from completely landing face first. Instead of facing forward he will be looking at the ground. The neat part is that Roborover will still move around fine if he has fallen forward. You will want to reset him upright before he does fall over completely.
Roborover is enabled with object detection by default (this can be turned off by pressing his forward button twice and holding). He has front and rear sensors that prevent him from bumping in to walls. He uses these sensors to make some witty remarks when an object or person moves in front of him. There is a Seek function feature, designed to follow objects, except it does not work quite as you may hope. I tried to get Roborover to follow my dog, Lulu, with little luck. He gets very confused if there are other objects in the room. Seek will usually result in Roborover turning around until he thinks he found you.
Roborover has a few different modes: explore, lookout, standby and sleep. Explore mode does just what you would expect; Roborover navigates around the room at random, staying cautious of bumping in to objects. He does not usually get too far because he turns around quite often. This mode lasts for 3 minutes. Lookout mode is like a security mode, but I wouldn’t protect my house with him. In lookout mode Roborover will scan his environment in front and behind him. He will flash his lights when he detects movement and will also say one of his five or so pre-programmed responses. He will only stay in lookout mode for 10 minutes with no activity before entering standby. His sensor range should reach 4-6 feet, but it seemed more like 2-4 feet. After a few minutes of no use he will enter standby mode and he can be woken from the remote. 10 minutes later he will enter sleep mode and you will have to press his bumper to wake him.
Roborover will play two games. The first is the Tomb game, where he drives out a pattern and then asks you to repeat the pattern by controlling him using the remote. He will drive into a “tomb wall” if you are incorrect. Tomb is much like the classic game Simon. Roborover may move forward, right, right, left, and it is your job to reproduce those movements. 3 wrong and the game is over. The other game is the Swamp game where we will drive out a safe path through a “swamp”. You will have to drive the same course through the swamp. If he veers off from his path he will sink in the swamp. Of course Roborover loves to talk throughout the game, and even give the occasional clue.
Roborover can be a lot of fun for the younger crowd. He looks really cool, and can entertain for hours. However, his controls could be a bit better. He cannot turn while moving forward, he needs to stop, turn, and then move forward. In order to be responsive, he usually requires the remote being aimed directly at him, and within a distance of about 10 feet. Playing with him in the dark is a lot of fun, and he looks real neat all lit up. The games really increase Roborovers value. It will strengthen logic skills, and it will also add to his replayability factor. The greatest feature of Roborovers design is the handle behind his head. It makes it incredibly easy to pick him up and move him wherever necessary. However, it would have been nice to see some rechargeable batteries for Roborover. Also, Roborover is not geared towards adults; this becomes apparent immediately when he begins talking, and moving relatively slowly. Roborover is priced very fairly for a talking controllable robot with tons of features. You can order him from Amazon for just under $59.
Good: Looks awesome, has challenging games to keep you entertained, can climb small obstacles, looks cool when illuminated in the dark, reasonable price
Bad: Lots of Batteries required, controls could be better, can’t disable or lower his chatter, can’t talk to him interactively