[Review]: Nerf Ultra One – Latest in Blasting, with an Important Caveat

Nerf Ultra One

  • MSRP: $49.99
  • Ammo: Nerf Ultra Aerofin darts
  • Capacity: 25 darts
  • Batteries: 4 C batteries
  • Range: Claim is 120’, observed 50’-60’ BUT, angling of course would increase.
  • Features: Semiauto firing
  • Mechanism: Flywheels
  • Available: Now
  • Ages: 8+

SUMMARY:

When I first heard about the Nerf Ultra One I wasn’t sure what to think. 120’ (Rival style ranges? Higher “power” than Elite? What?) but being around blasters for so long I know not to buy 100% into the marketing. And when I saw the Ultra One press copy read that the blasters were for “8+”, that told me how to dial in my expectations. Honestly, Rival is designed for 14+. What would you expect?

The Nerf Ultra One to me doesn’t seem that revolutionary. I reliably hit my target (which you can hear in the video), the Ultra darts don’t seem to have the same wacky flight patterns as Nerf streamline darts, and it achieves better range than Nerf Accustrike.

But it’s a semiauto blaster with a drum you load. Nothing we haven’t seen from Nerf or other brands, and for a first blaster it’s underwhelming. I remember not a lot of people too impressed with the Apollo in the beginning, so the naysayers with Ultra isn’t surprising. Maybe future designs will be more innovative to that end, but that remains to be seen.

Controlling Dart Usage

The “dart DRM” as it’s been called is discussed in the video. I don’t really like that Nerf went with this kind of mechanic to enforce using Nerf darts only, but outside the fandom I don’t think it matters to consumers. I’ve seen a number of non-hobbyist posts about the Ultra One (not just the sponsored ads) that like the blaster. And more casual consumers don’t have a hoard of ammo that won’t work or the myriad of other complaints about the DRM. Hobbyists, arena/mobile party owners, game groups with a communal supply will be affected. I will hazard a guess that most consumers will be outside those populations, buy the Ultra One and an extra pack of ammo, and call it a day.

I had this very conversation in the toy aisle. A mom and her child were trying to find a Nerf blaster to buy. They looked at the Ultra One and remarked at how it was a new blaster. I informed them that the Ultra One would only work with the darts it comes with, so the mom told her child that they would get it on his birthday, with extra ammo. No remarks about how unfair it was, Hasbro market share, stock quotes, nothing. Just a promise to get it as a gift and a pack of ammo.

Different Darts Happens

In addition, PUT THOSE TORCHES AND PITCHFORKS DOWN. Yes, You too. And you. STOP.

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME HASBRO HAS INTRODUCED NEW AMMO.

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME HASBRO HAS MADE AMMO THAT FITS ONLY IN CERTAIN BLASTERS.

Back in the 90s, you had micro darts, old school megas, Arrows of Unusual Size, and all sorts of other stuff. Let’s look at some history.

Even before Nerf Ultra, Nerf released streamlines, the original mega darts, rip rockets, whatever the darts were that came with the SM 3000, arrows, Dart Tag Darts (of various incarnations), whistler darts, suction darts, Vortex discs, Mega darts, Elite Streamlines, Accustrikes, Mega Accustrikes, Rival rounds, the list goes on. Every few years they release something new to fire. In the case of Vortex, Mega, and Rival those only fit their specified brands unless otherwise noted. Not just any dart into an n-strike magazine and make it work, and you definitely couldn’t cross other brand ammo in other blasters unless they were front-loading. If Nerf were taking existing ammo off the market, that would be another story. As it stands, the Ultra ammo segment is an addition, not a whole paradigm shift leading to the elimination of everything we already have.

Nerf Rival is also not sold everywhere in the world. I don’t work for Hasbro, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Nerf Ultra satisfies demand for a “higher range” blaster in areas where Rival cannot go, such as Australia. Now the range is questionable, but as long as Nerf can make it to other areas with a new segment, that may not matter to most consumers. They’ll just be happy to see the latest Nerf blasters in their stores.

The Ultra One, Where to Next?

Again, I’m glad that Hasbro sent me a sample and saved me the trouble of buying one. The blaster features aren’t revolutionary and the dart type is interesting for something new, but past the first pack of ammo I am not sold on this line yet. Yeah, you can snap the ammo in half and some of it even got gouged by my Dart Rover but it’s not super brittle and in your pocket it’ll keep shape better than current Nerf darts. My favorite segment from Nerf is still Rival, but that’s a different market from Ultra, ultimately.

I recognize that the blaster is made for 8+ and is intended for younger users, like everything else in this hobby. My biggest complaint is the drum and the trigger working with the new dart recognition mechanism. It’s pretty uncomfortable to slam my finger against the trigger when a dart isn’t correct or loaded properly, which happens a noticeable amount of times. When in the thick of a blaster battle or trying to shoot targets, that jolt against your finger from a missing/jammed dart really sucks.

In the end, I can’t give the Ultra One a high recommendation like the Nerf Perses. It looks cool, but needing C batteries, the annoyance of the Nerf-only dart mechanism, and the overall cost are problematic. There are a lot of other great, more reliable blasters out there worth your money, Nerf or not Nerf brand. I would suggest waiting for the Nerf Ultra One to drop in price as a sale (probably Black Friday) before dropping your money on it. And you may not want an Ultra One for any number of reasons, THAT IS TOTALLY OK.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Totally appreciate your coming by and getting through my rambling. Make sure to check me out on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for continued updates, reviews, and other content! Thanks again to Click Click BAMF as well for putting in some work on the video.

 

Parting Shot (middle comment):

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