Today we take a look at another piece of hardware from NSI International, the Laser X Long Range Blaster. This laser tag gun is a two-handed blaster that is compatible with all the other Laser X products.
In this review we take an in-depth look at the hardware, features, and overall performance of this long-range laser tag blaster.
This write-up is one of a three part review series on the Laser X system. Be sure to also see the other articles as all products are compatible with each other. You might want to mix and match to create a set:
When you crack open the box, you'll find a single long range blaster and the instruction sheet. In order to play, you'll either need another long range blaster or the two player set. The great thing about Laser X is that you can add as many players to the mix as you choose. You'll simply need a blaster for each player.
Just like the standard Laser X blasters (the pistol versions), this blaster features a separate gun and vest system. This design is unique to Laser X and from our testing creates some very good results. The blaster takes three AAA batteries which are installed in the handle. The batteries give the blaster a nice weight and is closed securely with a screw.
On the bottom of the gun you'll find two handles. The front handle slides back to reload the blaster and gives you 25 shots. The trigger sits on the back handle. When held down, you get an automatic firing feature that shoots about 2 shots per second.
On the butt of the gun is a small speaker where gameplay beeps and other game sounds emit. Just like the pistols, this speaker can't be turned off. You can throw a bit of tape over it to mute the constant gameplay beep.
The front and back of the blaster have light-up portions. The front shows the player's team - either red, blue, or alternating between the two for rogue. The back light indicates the ammunition status of the blaster. A full clip is solid, as you shoot the back light flashes faster until it shuts off once the blaster is out of ammo.
The long range blaster also has a red illuminated sight on the top of the gun. Aiming down the sights helps players blast others up to 400 feet away. In our testing both indoors and outdoors this range held up and the blaster was accurate even at these distances.
Just like the Laser X pistol, this is a small block that sits in the center of your chest. The block is secured by two elastic straps which fit around your neck and upper body. The straps fit a whole range of players and even medium sized adults will find them comfortable. There is plenty of cord length between the block and blaster.
On the front of the vest, there is a large illuminated surface and the hit detector. The sensor is configured to register hits from roughly head to waist and shoulder to shoulder on each player. In our testing, the hit box felt about the right size even during frenzied gameplay.
On the top of the vest sits a power switch / team selector. Here you can select red, blue, or rogue (red/blue). Next to the switch is a headphone port. Plugging in some headphones runs the game sounds and some lo-fi music to the player. While using headphones, the gameplay beep still emits from the speaker on the blaster. There is a small volume adjustment wheel on the side of the unit to adjust headphone (not blaster) volume.
The single page of instructions helps you quickly understand how to use the set. We've included photos of the instruction manual here:
You power on the system by flipping a switch on the top of the vest to one of three options. Choose between one of two teams (red or blue) or go rogue (no team). Red players can only damage blue players, blue players can only damage red. Rogue players can both damage and be damaged by red and blue players. An unlimited number of players can play at once, the limit is only how many sets you have.
The front light on the blaster indicates which team setting you're on. Red for red, blue for blue, and flashing between red and blue for rogue. In the long range blaster, the tip of the blaster also illuminates with your team color.
Once you power on your blaster, the small speaker on the back of the blaster plays a startup sound and then begins to beep every couple seconds. This beeping is fairly loud and cannot be turned off. The blaster and vest also emit bright lights during play.
Additionally there is a 'voice coach' which plays various one liners during play. Advice like 'keep moving' and 'one hit left' give you some status alerts. This coach is really not needed for most players and can be more annoying than helpful. Luckily there is a small hole on the side of the vest that allows you to toggle the coach on and off using a paper clip. In testing, it was very nice to have that disabled.
The long range blaster functions exactly the same as the Laser X pistol set. This is great because it keeps gameplay even and fair. Each player starts with 8 hit points. As you are hit, the light on the front of the vest slowly changes from green to red. Once the vest reaches red, it alerts you that you have one hit left. If you are tagged again, the vest and blaster go dark and no longer fire.
To restart, simply power off, then back on. During the match, if you go one minute without being blasted, you'll regain one hit point back up to a maximum of 8.
When you first power on the blaster, the blaster is not loaded. You'll first need to load the blaster by pulling back on the front handle. This reloading system feels natural and allows you to quickly reload in the heat of the moment.
With the long range blaster, we found that it gave one team an advantage. Often we would put the player with the long range blaster on rogue even during team games. This allowed for some very fun games!
Overall Laser X have done a great job with the Long Range Blaster. The design is so good, that we suggest spending the money on two long range blasters over a single two player pistol set.
When compared to the pistols, the reloading system and improved range of the blasters allow for a wider range of play options. The blasters work well in the house and outdoors.
If you plan to add the long range blaster to an existing set, we recommend keeping things balanced and buying at least two - one for each team. If you play with only a single blaster, this person will have an unfair advantage over players with the standard pistol blasters.
We can easily recommend the set to anyone who wants to expand an existing Laser X set, or if you have the money to spend on two long range blasters instead of the two pistol set.