In this age of social distancing and avoiding other people, connecting to consumers online has never been more important. Interaction through the internet and mobile devices is surging, and one app that’s been in development is releasing in time to jump the wave. It’s the Nerf Epic Pranks! app, and it’s officially licensed by Hasbro. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy, repetitive, and plagued with ads – even when you pay money.
Sometimes smaller toys surprise you. I put off reviewing this pack of blasters for a while, opting to review larger things. Given the usual performance of small, “cheap” blasters, (especially tiny trigger-powered ones), I had low expectations. I soon found I was wrong in this case. $15 buys blasters that, while lower in output than other things, can shoot nearly as far. They’re also quite sturdy as easy to use. If your desire is to start small (or possibly to just have a backup), you can’t go wrong with the Aqua Squad.
Last year, Zuru saw massive success with the original Fast Fill water blaster. I reviewed it then, finding it a solid option amid what is largely a pump-to-shoot market. Inexpensive, easy to use, and the “gimmick” absolutely delivers. This year, Zuru expands the line with blasters like the Epic Fast Fill. It’s larger, has more firing options…and still fills fast, provided your water source is large enough for the blaster. If you liked the first version but wanted a bit more, this blaster fits the bill!
Not all water blasters do the same thing. Some blasters do a consistent stream over a long distance. Others try to make a spray or mist of water at close range. Then you have the Tsunami Drencher – it elects to dump a giant amount of water (mostly) all at once. However, the design also sacrifices endurance. If you have steady aim (and pull the handle all the way back), then it’s a force to be reckoned with in the backyard. Just be aware of the limitations!
Buzz Bee Toys is betting big on their “Steady Stream” blasters this season. No less than four are listed on their website at the moment, and three of those are new models this year. The largest and most widespread, however, is the Adventure Force Poseidon, available only at Walmart. This blaster may not put out a large jet of water, but it does fire for an incredibly long period of time, provided the user continues pumping. It’s a bit large for small kids, but older ones and adults should find it satisfying to use in combat, especially compared to other pump and spray models.
Another thing I noticed in the news: a kids’ Nerf game for mobile devices. Hasbro has had their focus on “Bring Home the Fun” ever since the current pandemic broke out, encouraging play at home (in board games, Nerf activities, etc). However, digital games are no exception, and we now see the official release of a simple Nerf game, Nerf Epic Pranks! The first of several games to come in a partnership, it’s been in development for a while, and gets a wide release at a rather convenient time. Currently, only iOS devices are supported (Android coming soon).
For basic gameplay, watch a video here. You’re simply trying to tag friends to earn rewards and upgrade your blaster. Clearly realism isn’t an objective, if a Disruptor can fire that many darts without reloading 😛
I’m going to be writing up reviews on quite a few soakers over the next week or two. But while I’m in the process of testing things…I came across this entry on Buzz Bee’s website, that briefly appeared at Toy Fair. More accurately, it was on one of the tables, but I assumed it was the old model Gargantua and ignored it. Oops.
For those who aren’t familiar, the Gargantua was a originally a pressurized blaster. It featured a small CPS-type rubber bladder that, while limited in size, gave nice power.
This latest iteration, however, seems to replace that mechanism completely with the “Steady Stream” style pump blaster mechanism. Granted, that seems to be a theme this year – two of their Walmart entries rely on the same thing. Still, it’s a bit disappointing that only the Outlaw remains on their site as the only current pressurized blaster.
I’ll try and get a hold of the Gargantua X whenever it shows up. Who knows, it might be comfortable to use!