The first thing you'll notice about Anki Overdrive, and possibly the most important thing the game has to offer, is that it's clearly powered by some insane digital wizardry.

This is a physical racer that you control with your phone - think Scalextric but with a futuristic aesthetic and you're about two thirds of the way there.

There's a short tutorial that starts things off. You're told to build an oval track, turn on a couple of the cars, then place them on the shiny black raceway.

And then they start moving. Of their own accord. They're figuring out the shape of the track. They'll do a couple of laps and then pull up at the start line. And you'll probably be staring, mouth agog.

But that initial kick of excitement, built solely from the technological, doesn't last. Yes, Anki Overdrive is fun, but it can't quite sustain that first impression.

Floor it

There are a variety of games modes to play through. Single player is all about racing computer controlled cars. You set up the track the way you're told, put the right number of vehicles in play, then try and shoot the crap out of each other.

Oh yeah, there's violence here. And in a way it's the weakest part of the Anki experience. Each car has weapons that you can equip. There are different styles, from straightforward rockets to area of effect explosions.

There are boosts too, and the most important thing in races is concentrating on your position. Being in the lead isn't always in your best interests, since you'll have a field of angry drivers blasting rockets at you the whole time.

The track is essentially made up of three lanes, and you can move between them by tilting your phone left and right. You've also got a throttle and a couple of buttons that fire your weapons.

Those are pretty much the basics, and after you've played through the first couple of missions you're probably going to want to expand your horizons, invite some friends around, and build a ridiculous track to scare your cat with.

Sofa it

It's here that Anki Overdrive is at its best, especially if you've got bundles and bundles of track to play with. There are jumps, crash-encouraging intersections, and fast sweeping corners.

Experimenting with ridiculous combinations is always where a lot of the fun comes from in games like this, and Anki Overdrive is no different. There's almost more enjoyment to be gained from building your raceways than there is from driving on them.

Intriguingly, the mode I found the most entertaining was the time trial. Here you're racing against the clock, trying to get around a set number of laps in a quicker time than your competitors.

Stripped of the rocket-shooting chaos, which is often more confusing than fun, the game feels that little bit more honest. A racer through and through, rather than a blast of flashing lights and sudden, nearly inexplicable stops.

Throw in the fun of putting together monstrous tracks that thread around your flat, under sofas, and around a disgruntled feline, and it's difficult not to grin while you play around.

Spend it

Anki Overdrive opens up the more you put into it. At its most basic, it's just that - basic. Adding a few more cars makes things confusing more often than not, especially if they're being controlled by bots rather than your friends.

But the real joy comes from getting together with a bunch of friends, sitting around the track and thrashing around like lunatics.

It's the emergent moments that make the experience all the more engaging. Cars getting bashed off the track, last second rocket launches that steal unlikely victories, pushing your friends over so they can't see what's going on, that sort of thing.

The big elephant in the room here is the price though. Anki Overdrive isn't what you might call a cheap proposition. The starter set alone will set you back £149.99. And if you want to add more track, more cars, and more fun, you'll need to reach even deeper into your pocket.

It means a lot of people are going to be priced out of playing. But if you're looking for an expensive, technologically astounding present for someone this Christmas, and you don't mind selling a kidney to get it, then Anki Overdrive is probably worth some consideration.