The Mutator is a blaster that held out on US entry for over a year; it was first seen at Toy Fair 2018, but started with sales in Europe. After promising sales numbers, though, it was able to make it to Target stores in the US this year. Now, it’s going to be marked down 50% for Black Friday, so what better time for a review?
The Mutator is a unique blaster, with its dual magazines and simply massive size. It’s a fun concept that, while not perfect, is plenty of fun for the right price.
Large and in Charge
The Mutator is huge, and it’s hard to overemphasize that. If you’re looking for a blaster that does close quarters, this isn’t the blaster you’re looking for. Even for an adult, it’s a hard blaster to properly shoulder and hold, with the front grip being all the way out front. Smaller kids may find themselves trying to grip one of the dual magazines instead.
On that note, the major reason for the extreme length is the fact that the Mutator has two magazine wells! After pulling the bolt back, the user can swap magazines by either extending or retracting the barrel. This moves the magazines up or down in relation to the breech. Thus, as advertised, you can have one clip full of long range darts, or choose a different clip filled with precision darts. You can then easily release and drop out empty magazines as needed for reloading. Do note, however, that the deep magazine wells rule out compatibility with large numbers of Nerf magazines, including drums.
The blaster also comes with a removable stock that swivels into place before locking. One long tactical rail sits on top for Buzz Bee accessories you may have collected, and a tiny flip-up sight pops out when the barrel is extended. The main grip is large and comfortable, much better than other Buzz Bee blasters.
The blaster itself feels great. It’s just…large.
Blaster Use and Performance
Operating the blaster does take slightly longer due to the bolt-action nature. However, dues to the dual magazines, it also has a lot farther to travel! Even so, only about half of that travel is actually dedicated to priming the blaster, so it’s easy to use even for kids. Expect one dart per second at most.
In terms of dart velocity, the Mutator did well, averaging 81fps overall (84 with the long distance darts, and 78 with the Precise Pro darts). Indeed, the long distance darts are lighter, and can make the full 100ft as advertised, but without much accuracy. The Precise Pro darts, meanwhile, are much more accurate but have slightly less range. Interesting that Buzz Bee has taken the “Eilte dart v. Accustrike” argument and actively turned it into a “choose your play style” situation. Even so, I’d just get accurate darts in bulk, and just swap out empty magazines as you go.
The Mutator isn’t completely surprising on the inside – it just has to double up on a few more things due to the extra magazine. The release button has to span two magazines, etc. The bolt goes halfway back before it starts priming the plunger rod – there’s no extended plunger tube here, or room for it, in spite of the large shell. I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone try and make it happen, though.
Do note that a few parts will want to pop out of place on reassembly.
The Mutator is a fun, if unusual, blaster. The dual magazine setup does make for better sustained rate of fire, and the fun of a bolt-action blaster adds to the experience. However, the large size does impact the blaster’s usability and handling. Even so, if you’re looking for that “giant sniper” experience with good power, the Mutator will work wonderfully. Especially if you’re buying it at half price.