Anki is entering 2014 with a big change aimed to help make its artificial intelligence-based racing game more “strategic”. The company is releasing an iOS app update that will expand how players experience Anki Drive. With this latest version, players can take advantage of 20 new upgrades and receive greater control in customizing their cars.

The key thing about Anki’s update is that it wants to make the game more strategic. By this it means that the special abilities and weapons a player chooses should be selected for that particular race. Having a tractor beam placed on your vehicle 100 percent of the time is not necessarily going to work in every race — sometimes you need to plan better.

This is where today’s update comes in handy. Players will now be able to swap out upgrades on their cars, almost like a transactional return. There’s also another option that instead of selling back upgrades, players can store them in an “Armory” to be used later on.

Other features with this app version include new weapons, support items, and more tools to help keep Anki Drive engaging for players.

Some of the upgrades a player’s car can receive include being able to reverse drive, use kinetic brakes where you come to a dead stop and allow opponents to fly right by you, deploy an electromagnetic pulse to damage all cars on the track, and annoy others with the power of your horn.

It’s only been a couple of months since Anki Drive first debuted in the marketplace. Available for purchase in Apple’s retail stores and also on Apple.com and Anki’s site, this remote-controlled AI game has been rather popular. How did it do over the holiday season? The company isn’t disclosing anything about its sales, but did tell us that there have been 42 million laps driven on its race track, which shows players are actively playing with it.

Is the AI technology working too? Apparently so as 90 percent of the time, when the computer-controlled car is set to “hard”, the AI car wins against all opponents.

All of these changes are available to Anki Drive players just by downloading the latest iOS app.

The company tells us that it’s not done making improvements to its product. This year, it’s looking to expand the reach of Anki Drive and may have additional retailers signed up to help sell the game. International distribution is also being explored along with the possible release of an Android version of its app.

➤ Anki Drive for iOS

Photo credit: Anki Drive