Buzz Bee, you confuse me. Yes, I understand that you’re trying to emulate the Voxel-game look without licensing anything. But the result is uncomfortable to use, and given the internals of the blaster, it feels like even more of a waste.
There’s no good reason for this blaster as it currently exists, and it should be avoided.
It’s Not Minecraft…
To the casual observer, Buzz Bee Toys tried to emulate a voxel-based video game’s look in this blaster. Minecraft is out of the question, given that Nerf has the license. But having a blaster that looks this way should be appealing, regardless of being associated with a particular video game. Right?
Wrong. Regardless of the Buzz Bee designers’ dedication to making the blaster fit the aesthetic, there are several issues making the blaster an annoyance for regular use. The trigger takes up the entire front of the handle, with the rotation point at the base. Users need to actually grip the blaster, but in doing so, they’re like to depress the trigger just enough to interfere with the internal locking mechanisms. Yep, with a little bit of pressure from standard grip strength, you’re unable to prime the blaster! Having to grip the blaster in the web between thumb and index finger just to use it is, by itself, a dealbreaker. After all, how else does anybody hold a blaster? It’s not a stationary thing you prime, and then pick up afterward to fire!
Speaking of priming motions, the top priming handle is quite uncomfortable to use. It’s blocky in shape and just not comfortable. I guess someone could design an alternative grip,…but why?
On the plus side, at least the magazine release is now a paddle, allowing for much easier manipulation.
Before we get to the performance, let us open the blaster to see what Buzz Bee sacrificed in this blaster.
Yep, that’s the same style of plunger, tube, and breech used in the XL blasters. The diameter is smaller, of course, but ultimately, there’s enough volume (as well as spring strength) to propel a dart considerable distances. In this case, there are two small holes in the plunger tube. The rearward hole serves to prevent vacuum issues, while the forward hole bleeds air after the dart has fired. If this hole was eliminated, and the stock breech replaced with a full breech a la Dart Zone, you’d have a decent pro-level blaster. But in its current form, it just serves to propel full-length darts at stock distances at the expense of blaster comfort and usability.
The included Long Distance darts averaged 88fps in my testing, with accuracy being less than desirable. The rate of fire, theoretically, could be an easy two darts per second. However, given the sensitive nature of the trigger (and how a slight depression prevents the blaster from being primed), the realistic rate of fire is only one dart per second. That’s…depressing.
I’ll still use this blaster in a war or Humans v. Zombies game, just to say that it was tested completely. But even before that, I can tell that the blaster has issues. The handle is uncomfortable to grip, and it is made even more annoying by the sensitivity of the trigger depression in relation to the various priming locks. The top priming handle is also uncomfortable to use. It’s an awful blaster as is, but it’s even more of a waste considering how much power you could potentially extract from the internal setup.
Buzz Bee Toys, what are you doing? Next time, put these internals in an Alpha Trooper-style blaster. It’ll be great for general consumers, and moddable for hobbyists. Until then…the Pixelator is a bust.