The Nerf enthusiast community has given the Ultra line plenty of grief. Between wonky ergonomics, darts (and blasters) that didn’t always live up to the original claims, and the expense of the darts, it isnt the most attractive option compared to other blaster lines. And yet, somehow, I’m starting to grow fond of the Ultra Three.
Between a decent capacity, on-board dart storage, and plenty of power, the Ultra Three is a nice blaster. Provided you’re invested in Ultra, of course.
Is there a reason for this thing to exist? Alpha Strike is supposed to provide basic, inexpensive blasters, but this takes the idea to a new extreme. It’s a Jolt without a trigger; you simply slam the plunger rod with your off hand to fire. Could it be fun for some kids? I imagine so. But when you can simply buy a Jolt or equivalent blaster for a similar price, and have both a trigger and nothing throwing off your aim…this seems odd at best, unnecessary at most.
Author’s note: thank you, Zing Toys, for the free sample!
Sometimes as an influencer, you drop the ball. In my case, between moving, getting engaged, and life in general, I’ve had items from Zing sitting in a box for far too long. Which is unfortunate, because the Marshmallow Extreme Blaster is a ton of fun, far surpassing the range claims on the box. You could say it’s a…sweet package.
Nerf crossovers vary in quality. There’s a balance between the looks/cosplay value and actual blaster function to consider. Some examples, like the Nerf Halo MA40, are a great blend of working blaster and semi-accurate prop. Others, like the Mangler, are a bit lacking.
The Mangler looks decent enough as a prop (brightly colored, of course, to show it’s a toy). However, it’s uncomfortable to use, and it clearly doesn’t use all the real estate to maximum effect. $20 is certainly affordable, but…I hoped for more.
Originally, I was going to do a top five list, like one of those other Youtubers. Maybe even Top Ten. However…there were a lot of great blasters this year. So I’m just going to list my favorites in each main category; I’ll let you decide what you might like to grab this season. If there’s a reasonable substitute, I’ll try to link that as well. After all, some readers may be more concerned about one particular aspect (performance, price, etc) than others. And there are always some fun oddballs that don’t fit neatly into these broad categories, so read through to the end!
2020 wasn’t the greatest year for doing Nerf events; beyond small isolated events in backyards or parks with low numbers of people (and masks and sanitizer), it was hard to actually use all the new blasters. As a matter of fact, I’m still behind on trying new versions of things (Sorry, Zing. I promise I really do love Marshmallow Blasters!).
Even so, 2020 was, in many ways, the year the dart blasting hobby became accessible to the public. Lots of manufacturers jumped into the high fps arena, with many models below $100. At the same time, the low end of the hobby (typical stock fps blasters on store shelves) saw a large shift toward other companies, notably Dart Zone. And somehow, Ultra has grown on me. Here we go!
Looks like a fun (and working) prop is dropping next spring! Preorders go live later today (presumably at Hasbro Pulse).
As detailed in The Verge, this four foot long blaster includes a weathered paint scheme, lights, and sounds. It also can shoot Nerf Elite darts (although I doubt it will have outstanding performance). The price is definitely a sticking point at $120, but as a collector’s item or cosplay prop, it would be great.
And let’s be honest – if I get one for cheap, I’ll definitely use it in a war, regardless of effectiveness!