It’s not every day you get handed a pair of NERF Laser Ops Pro Alpha Point blasters with the instructions “Go nuts.” but when you are then who doesn’t react with unbridled childish glee? That was my reaction when receiving the instructions from our fearless leader/editor/big-man-upstairs to write a product review on the all-new laser blasters. The Alpha Point pistol style blasters are just one of the three available.
First off you open the box and see two sweet ass laser blasters, tied down with a million reinforced twist ties. Obviously, cardboard is no match for sheer enthusiasm and the cardboard/plastic trappings didn’t stand a chance. Of course, after the initial destruction of the box/bindings, I had to retrieve the instructions from wherever they ended up in the chaos. 4 AA batteries are required per blaster, which is kind of a pain but luckily I came prepared, throwing some Duracells in there and preparing to bring the thunder.
Syncing the blasters to a smart device (phone/tablet) is fairly simple and straightforward. Download the NERF Laser Ops Pro app onto the device and enable Bluetooth. You’ll be prompted on the initial startup to pair a blaster, ensure the weapon is turned off first then when instructed hold the trigger down and turn the blaster on. After a few seconds of searching the device will recognize the blaster and allow you to set a callsign for it. Scroll through the twin lists to create a sweet name for the blaster, then complete the pairing. Multiple blasters can be linked to one device and each blaster will remember its name and stats (we’ll get into this later) so that if you want to pair it to a friend’s device for multi-device play then you can and it’ll retain its data.
Once synced and set up you’re given two options, single-player drone hunter mode or multiplayer. The drone hunter mode as mentioned previously is great fun, playing in augmented reality and blasting non-existent drones to hell while people watch on wondering what you’re doing never gets old. You can play without the blaster but trust me it’s both easier and far more fun with one paired and ready.
That’s not the point though, the point is to play with friends, get out there and play some killer laser tag while running around a familiar environment, literally anywhere, so long as you’re within 250ft of each other/the single device. Multi-device allows you to keep track of stats, scores and standing while you battle, which makes it my personally preferred method of play. However single device is pretty great too, being able to leave a device on a table then unleashing hell on your opponents wherever they may be in the area. You lose access to some of the cool power-ups such as Radar, that shows you where enemies may be lurking.
Keeping up to date on the status of the battle can be a pain, running back and forth to the device can be annoying. Single device play is intended for more of a child-friendly play session where the device can be left with a supervising “adult” (they’re NERF blasters, no-one’s an adult around them) who can announce updates and generally manage the battle.
As with all NERF products the build quality is immaculate. Crafted from sturdy plastics the blasters are easily able to withstand a jolt or two. The aesthetics and details applied are fitting for the new laser blasters, with a futuristic looking design. Despite the new features and the departures from the conventional dart-blasters, they are exceptionally easy to use after the initial setup, retaining their child-friendly access.
I have but one criticism, and it’s a slight one that has no impact on the blasters themselves, but due to the device/blaster pairing system you’re unable to tool up with multiple blasters and unleash merry hell upon your enemies. Part of what made the conventional dart-blasters so fun to use was grabbing multiple blasters and switching between them on the fly. There’s never a more badass moment than walking back into a firefight after changing weapons to something far, far punchier. I guess with the fact that the Laser Ops Pro blasters can be reloaded at the touch of a button and with slight delay there is no need for multiple blasters, but it’s sure fun to have. It would be better if there was the ability to pair multiple blasters to a single user profile for a battle, so you could have two Alpha Points linked to your one callsign/user ID and then go full ham. But who’s to say this functionality won’t exist in the future.
All in all, are the NERF Laser Ops Pro series worth investing in? Absolutely. They’re incredibly versatile pieces of kit and no serious NERF fan could consider their armory complete without adding the Laser Ops Pro blasters to their list of equipment. They make great toys for children and adults alike, with the proper supervision of course, but they do lack the familiar feel of the foam dart blaster.