Buzz Bee Toys is starting to see their products from Toy Fair 2018 hit shelves, including the Air Warriors Covert Squad blasters. These two single shot, bolt-action blasters feature short-range walkie talkies in their stocks, allowing partners to communicate with one another. The blasters themselves are decent blasters, derived directly from the Predator/Alpha Rogue from last year. The walkie talkies, meanwhile, aren’t of the best quality. If you buy these, don’t do so for the electronics.
Zuru has been doing a steady overhaul of the Xshot line, featuring improved but older blasters as well as new models. They’ve also been doing them in a really nice white and blue color scheme. The line as a whole has improved, and Zuru deserves lots of credit for stepping up in the blaster arena.
One of the newest blasters is a replacement for an old one, the Xcess. The new blaster shell features improved functionality, better dart compatibility, and a much better aesthetic, to the point that it’s my new favorite spring-powered pistol.
One of the most interesting blaster developments of the past year has been from Prime Time Toys. Starting with the inexpensive but capable Dart Zone BallistixOps Powerball, PTT has been building a line of blasters compatible with Rival. Now, with the Quantum (available at Walmart), PTT has a competitor for the Nemesis at an affordable price. It’s not without issues, however.
Walmart makes deals with various toy manufacturers to market their products for cheap under their in-house “Adventure Force” brand, and dart blasters are no exception. Zuru, Prime Time Toys, and Buzz Bee Toys have all made blasters and darts available under the Adventure Force name.
This year, that line is expanding aggressively, pushing many models to take up nearly as much space on the shelves as Hasbro does with Nerf. In the case of the Thermal Tracker, it’s using a Buzz Bee design to deliver bolt-action, clip fed blasting with heat-sensing optics. It’s not the platform for everyone, but it does its job well!
Note that this model was spotted in Walmart Canada. Price stats will be updated once spotted in the United States.
Among Hasbro’s fall releases this year was an unexpected item – a new version of laser tag gear. Following previous iterations under both the Tiger Electronics and Hasbro brands, the Laser Ops series aims to enable play that is easy to pick up and use without any outside gear, but can be substantially upgraded when paired with smartphones. To that end, the first blasters in the line largely succeed.
Fall 2018 has seen Rival go big in terms of capacity. The Prometheus doubled the capacity of the Nemesis. In similar fashion, the Nerf Rival Hades doubles the capacity of the Artemis, while offering similar performance. The larger blaster makes for less of a “run and gun” type of playstyle, but it’s nevertheless a fantastic blaster to use, especially for the older market it targets.