Every blaster line has winners and losers. Nerf Minecraft is no different.
The Stormlander, while clearly meant for Minecraft fans, has a certain charm to it, even for those of us who don’t play the video game franchise. The same can’t be said, however, of the Pillager’s Crossbow. It doesn’t look good, it’s more expensive, and it’s awkward in hand. Whatever the merits of the blaster, it just looks and feels like a hunk of plastic that happens to shoot darts. And that’s hard to recommend.
Inside the box, the blaster is in two pieces: you have the main body in white, and the large top piece in orange. Once the pieces are put together, a small lock is depressed, allowing the blaster to be primed and fired. In that sense, it’s like needing to add the barrel to the Mega Centurion or the Fortnite Heavy SR. It’s decorative, but functionally has no purpose. The “string” is attached here, and it just there for looks.
Being a decorative piece, however, means hoping for decent decoration. That piece only being in orange…honestly just looks cheap. Granted, I don’t think Hasbro would want an all-brown crossbow with grey accents, as per the game. But even multiple shades of orange (or a color gradient of any kind) would have looked better, instead of a single, solid color for the whole top of the blaster. Other colors (like pink and purple) for an enchanted crossbow would have made perfect sense, as well! Perhaps Hasbro could try that for the next production run.
In terms of handling, the crossbow is acceptable, at least. You pull back the plunger handle to prime the blaster. Given the large vertical protrusion, it’s quite easy. The main grip works, but it’s a bit uncomfortable to use for long periods. Who knew blocky grips weren’t ergonomic dreams? Also, if you try to choke up on the grip, your hand gets jammed into the back. There’s worse out there…but there’s a lot that are better, too.
The three dart smart AR, of course, results in progressively weaker shots. Even so, the shots ranged from 71fps average on the first shot to 62fps on the last. Overall, the blaster averaged 67fps.
Due to the easy prime, two shots per second is reasonable to expect. Even if there are only three shots.
I went ahead and removed the extra lock for ease of use. The top isn’t designed to come off…but personally I’d rather leave it off and use the blaster without the extra mass.
Given the price, I’d have expected a bit more from the Pillager’s Crossbow. The hammer, at least, had lots of color and a fun roleplay value. This, however, is chunky, plain, and not the most comfortable to use, for similar performance. I’d skip this one, personally.