Video Review: Xploderz Blaster Guns Fall Short for Summer Fun

Geek Culture

On a hot summer day, there’s nothing like a big blast of water to cool you off. That means a summer around our house isn’t complete until we’ve had at least one huge water gun battle. So when I saw the new Xploderz blasters, I just had to try them out.

Xploderz shoot a ball of hydrated gel that explodes on impact (or when traveling down the barrel of the gun). The gel is non-toxic, but is highly recommended that it not be eaten and be used with caution around very young children. What’s more, although the instructions do not state this precaution, I would strongly suggest wearing eye protection when shooting these guns, due to the ammo’s tendency to fragment on contact and you know that kids will end up shooting them at each other – it’s what kids do.

The ammo is made of acrylic acid, sodium hydroxide and water and was originally developed to hydrate plants, so you needn’t worry about leaving ammo remnants on your lawn. Unfortunately, having played with the Xploderz for a couple of days, there seems to be a delicate balance with the ammo. Too wet or too dry and it just doesn’t work very well. Plus, we had a hard time getting them to consistently shoot out of the guns and the accuracy is all over the place. When you do hit, the contact isn’t exactly wet, nor does it hurt. But when the guns did work, they were pretty fun.

Another downside is that it takes four hours to make the ammo, but when you’re done you’ve got enough for a full battle. We were able to get the XRanger ($40) to fire about 85 feet, as advertised. The XBlaster about 35 feet ($15) and the mid-range XStormer ($30) a little over 60 feet. Check out the video to see how the ammo is hydrated and how the blasters work.

WIRED: When they work, kids will love them.

TIRED: Parents won’t. You will have to purchase ammo once you run out ($6 for 500 pellets), guns do not shoot consistently, really should have an eye protection warning.

Disclosure: GeekDad was sent units for this review.

Note: A version of this review was originally published on GeekDad in June 2011.
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