Super Soaker, the water gun brand that many kids and teenagers grew up with in the 90s, has had its share of controversy of late, with current owner Hasbro, Inc. both losing lawsuits and winning them over the products’ brand and technology, respectively. Nonetheless, the Super Soaker name has survived, even if today’s products share little in common with the blasters of our childhood. And just as fortunately, despite the changes in technology, design, and branding, the Super Soaker name still guarantees a good soaking. As proof, we present the formidable “Double Drench.”
Don’t let the stocky appearance of the new for 2014 Super Soaker Double Drench fool you—it packs a punch that belies its relatively diminutive size. In fact, as a close-quarters water weapon, the Double Drench answers the call like few other water guns we’ve tried.
Every now and then a blaster comes along that redefines your expectations of how a modern foam-launching toy gun should look, feel and operate. And while the Buzz Bee Air Warriors Extreme Air Max 6 is not the largest, nor most expensive product in the “Extreme” product line-up from Mt. Laurel, NJ-based Buzz Bee Toys, it may nonetheless prove to be one of the most enjoyable.
There have been no shortage of flywheel, spring and plunger-based foam launchers from Nerf and other companies in the toy blaster category of late, but true, air-powered models are becoming something of a rarity (the Nerf Unity Power System being a single, aging exception). It was with some excitement, then, that in addition to the air-powered, pump-action Range Master sent by our friends at Buzz Bee, we also were sent the considerably smaller Air Max 6. And like venerable trope of Goldilocks and her three furry friends, we quickly came to find the Air Max to be neither too large, nor too small, but altogether quite right.
Your child could inspire the next great Hasbro product.
If you have a family with children, and you are visiting or live in the vicinity of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Hasbro’s “FunLab” is a diversion you might want to consider adding to your schedule. FunLab is located at Hasbro’s Corporate Headquarters, and is described as “Hasbro’s Toy and Gaming Testing Program.” It’s open to families with children of any age, and it just might be the most awesome “focus group” in the world.
Essentially, FunLab is where kids are put together with Hasbro’s play experts to test out new toy and game concepts. Parents sign non-disclosure agreements and kids are given toys to try out and interact with. There’s some structure to the sessions, but the basic idea is that Hasbro is just trying to find out if a toy is fun to play with, and to see what kind of play patterns might emerge from these sessions. It’s all very hush-hush, since the toys being handled are usually prototypes being considered for production for in anywhere from 1 to 3 years (if they are produced, at all).
Recently, Hasbro has been grabbing headlines with their rebranding of the Combat Creatures Attacknid. And while we enjoyed our brief experience with the Attacknid, we found the announced $80 price point a bit steep. So, we couldn’t help but wonder… with the VMD Cannon Commando now available for $39.99, could this be a better option to get our remote controlled blasting fix?
It was only 4 weeks ago that we had our first hands-on time with the VMD Cannon Commando at the NYC Toy Fair. We came away impressed with the enthusiasm Skyrocket Toys had for their line of remotely controlled vehicles (and all their products, really), and looked forward to putting their Cannon Commando through our battery of tests. Now, thanks to our new friends at Skyrocket, we’ve been able to do just that—and the VMD didn’t fail to deliver.
Here at the Blaster Labs offices, we have a little game we play called “cup.” It’s a completely juvenile form of entertainment that is NOT approved by any toy manufacturers, the FDA, Michelle Obama, your mother, or anyone else. It involves a foam dart or disc blaster of your choice, a single plastic cup, and one pair of optional safety glasses. We’re not going to tell you how it’s played, because we don’t want a lawsuit. But suffice it to say, you don’t want to be the one to have to wear the glasses.
We share this brief departure into “not-entirely-safe things to do with foam blasters” for a reason. And that reason is to introduce you to the Buzz Bee Range Master, our new king of the “cup” game—a contest where accuracy is everything.
Although generally seen as impractical outside of movies and video games, the ability to “dual wield” (use two weapons at once) has nonetheless been a much sought-after capability rarely found in foam-based blasters outside of complicated and noisy battery-powered models. In fact, the only other non-battery powered, single-handed blaster in the entire Nerf arsenal to-date is the Toys “R” Us exclusive Snapfire 8.
It was with no small amount of anticipation then that the Nerf Zombie Strike Hammershot (and its re-shelled twin, the Rebelle Sweet Revenge) came to market in August of 2013. And, like many reviewers before us, we’re pleased to confirm the Hammershot meets or exceeds those expectations for a one-handed wonder. It would be notable even if the Hammershot’s single point of distinction was it’s ability to be primed and fired one-handed. But fortunately, it’s a very well-rounded blaster in other regards, as well.
We covered everything in foam, water and IR blasting that Toy Fair NYC had to offer—and we’re just getting started!
It’s now been two weeks since the Blaster Labs team blitzed the American International Toy Fair on February 16, 2014 in New York City. We thought it an appropriate time, then, to take a look back at a few of the highlights from the show, and to thank a few of the people that made it so memorable (including a special bonus for fans of Nerf and Blaster Labs!).
If you’re just joining us, or perhaps didn’t catch everything we posted, here’s a quick highlight of some of our most memorable experiences:
- World’s first hands-on time with new Tek Recon Predator.
- First detailed images of all-new Rebelle product line.
- A glimpse of the Demolisher with a 25-round drum.
- An unexpected laser tag system from Think Geek.
- Incredible 300-foot distance claim from a $15 wrist-rocket by Zing.
- Wicked reloading demonstrations for the new Zombie Strike Slingfire.
- First close-up video of new Nerf-branded Combat Creatures Attacknid.
- A surprisingly engaging hands-on experience with the Thunderbow.
- VMD’s Cannon Commando outgunning the Attacknid.