Unlike the clan of the feet, NinjaBots are not human-shaped; they are more like small stubby red, blue or black bottles on wheels … with nunchucks. But NinjaBots are full of human emotions. They will make jokes, talk their opponents out loud and dance a victory when they triumph. So I don’t like real ninjas, but they’re still quite long lasting.
The NinjaBots are based on the previous Spin Master Boxer toy automaton (also very similar to Anki’s Cozmo), which uses the same technology and internal sensors. He also has the same emotional eyes that remind Wall-E, but his programming is very, very different. Boxer liked to play simple games like football and interact directly with his human being, while NinjaBots are programmed to search for other robots and start moaning to each other with their small arms. Each arm is equipped with a different weapon; one always holds nunchaku while the other can be mistaken for things like a hammer, a pan or a piston. Thanks to a sensor inside NinjaBot, he knows which weapon you have equipped and will make an appropriately trivial joke.
But it is not completely autonomous. When you turn on NinjaBot for the first time, you will be asked at which level you want to fight, as well as which fighting style you would like to use. Tell the robot what you want by doing karate by cutting through its field of vision. NinjaBot starts out as a white belt and levels up as it fights, until it becomes a black belt. He doesn’t always need another robot to fight against, there is also a training dummy that is all too happy to beat, with a head that can explode if hit hard enough.
At $ 50 a pop you could use that single player mode a lot, although I can see the kids gathering to have their robots beat on the playground when NinjaBots arrive on August 1st.