Electronic Game Review: HolograFX – Magic and Holograms

ToysBulletin.com looks at a groundbreaking toy from Goliath Games.

710cUtxGZ7L_SL1147Goliath Games is known for creating some of the most unique toys and games in the industry.  So, Toys Bulletin was not surprised when we saw an impressive demonstration of “HolograFX” last winter at the New York Toy Fair.  However, the real fun begins now since “HolograFX” has been released just in time for Christmas.

“HolograFX” combines a magic kit, holographic effects, a smart phone and a bit of science fiction all into one package.  Kids ages 8 years old and up can actually project holograms through a clear reflection panel and perform stunts of magic to amaze their friends.  The game includes 20 different illusions, many of which require some minor assembly of plastic parts.

The first step is to load a free app from the App Store, Google Play Store, or go directly to www.holografxgame.com. In order to project the holograms, players will need a smart phone (iPhone or Android) or iPod Touch. The game box is cleverly designed and used as the performance stage, featuring different panels that can be put in place to allow players to not only try a few practice runs, but also tackle episodes 1 and 2 of the “HolograFX” experience.

3465809063We used an iPhone 4 to play test “HolograFX” over a two-day period. The app loaded slowly, but it does contain around 60 minutes of video. Once loaded, it is best to first click on “settings” and watch the tutorial. It is fairly short, and does show many of the key components needed to start playing. The “Phone Holder” is one of the items that must be assembled before beginning. This black box will hold your smart phone.

81aMczZc5vL_SL1500Players must next choose the “calibration” option by placing their smart phone in the “Phone Holder” to test the location of a sample hologram as it passes through the reflection panel to make sure it is properly positioned for viewing. The reflection panel can be moved as needed and calibration was a breeze. We turned the lights down a bit from here on in, just to make sure things were even clearer, but it probably is not necessary.

You can begin practice sessions by either going directly to “Episodes,” or choosing “Arcade.”  If you choose the “Arcade” option, there are 6 different illusions to test, including one of yourself, if you recorded a video message, which is optional but certainly a fun feature.  Yes, you can actually project your own image onto a hologram.

If you choose the “Episodes” option, there are chances to practice the illusions in more detail, or choose “Normal” or “Advanced” to actually play the game as intended.  There are characters introduced throughout the experience, including Jett, the commander, Leo a hovercraft, Max the faithful assistant, and Selena/Selectra, a bit of good turned evil.  As the illusions unfold, there are a few surprises that come up along the way, as an actual science fiction story begins in episode 1 and continues in episode 2.  It is reported that episode 3 will be available sometime in 2014.

We wanted to also mention some of the specific illusions that are available during the game.  These include, among many more, the clone copier (a disappearing act), the turbo charger (a type of levitation) and the cryo tube (some sleight of hand). Each is a type of magic trick, which, with practice, will astound your friends as they watch the hologram interact with the illusion that is totally under your control.

images27We found if we tapped the screen at any time during practice or episodes, we could advance ahead or back up as needed.  This came in very handy for moving to different screens within an episode.  We also have to admit that the game did lock up and freeze from time to time, but generally the game played smoothly, and without any significant problems.

The actual technology for the holographic effects stems from a classic illusion called “Pepper’s Ghost,” a reflection trick that allows objects to appear and disappear.  But, no matter, kids will not care how it works, simply that it does.  We think it truly gives kids and even adults a completely new type of game experience.  It is impressive and very addictive.  Some of the illusions take some practice, but kids will immediately recognize “HolograFX” as much more than an ordinary magic set.

“HolograFX” retails for $39.99 and can be purchased at Amazon.com.

— RJ Cullen

Posted in Electronics