N-STRIKE ELITE (MEGA)
It’s another double review. Yes, Nerf has a bit of a tendency to iterate similar concepts again and again, particularly with smaller blasters. Today’s blasters are no exception to the rule and I felt I could get away with reviewing them both at once given their similarities. This week, I’ll be looking at the Mega series Bigshock and Hotshock (gotta love Nerf naming convention) blasters. So what’s the deal with these things? Let’s have a look-see.
THE BLASTERS THEMSELVES
So why would you be carrying around one of these goofy things? Calling yourself “The Shocker! I’m the Shocker! I shock people!” Well, that would be a weird thing to do, and you’d be weird for doing it. I mean, if you really want to, then more power to you I guess. But enough movie references. These blasters were released a little over a year apart with the Bigshock coming out in early 2015 and the Hotshock releasing in the later part of 2016. Both blasters function much the same way with the Bigshock simply a Mega upscale of the N-Strike Jolt, and the Hotshock being an inline configuration of the same mechanism. They are both front-loading single shot blasters that have storage for an additional Mega dart along the top of the blaster body. They perform as well as you’d expect a compact Mega blaster to do, shooting far and hard relative to their size. Both blasters come packaged with two Mega darts.
When you really get down to it, the only real differences between the two are aesthetic and ergonomic. The Bigshock is the shorter, stubbier of the two and is laid out the same as a traditional Jolt with the air cylinder and plunger mechanism in the grip. In hand everything feels solid and reasonably hefty considering the size of the blaster. The structural ridges along the front of the grip can get uncomfortable to hold, digging into the pads of your fingers if you grip a little too tightly. On the Bigshock, if the dart storage on the top of the blaster is empty, there is a small peep hole in front that could maybe be used as some kind of sight if you really wanted, but it’s not great.
The Hotshock goes for more of a traditional pistol look with a longer more streamlined body. Instead of the cylinder and plunger angling down to form the grip, they simply continue straight back, parallel to the barrel with a more conventional pistol grip below. Some places where the Hotshock beats out the Hotshock are primarily in handling. The plunger catch and trigger have a noticeably more tactile click than on the Bigshock and the grip is free from hard edges or sharp corners. Unfortunately that’s really all the Hotshock has in its favor. The grip, while much smoother, is also significantly shorter and my pinky hangs off the bottom. Additionally, the multiple layers of plastic have an unsettling amount of flex to them and can creak in a tight grip. The sights are also terrible, even for a Nerf blaster, but the BigShock wasn’t much better so you can probably ignore them. It’s a nice looking blaster, but given the additional size, I’m a little disappointed they didn’t add any features.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
In the end, the winner is the Bigshock in my opinion, I guess. Take that however you want. They’re both fun little pocket blasters and it’s nice to have options. In my experience, however, I felt just a little bit of disappointment with the Hotshock that I didn’t have with the Bigshock. That’s probably not helped by how long it took me to even find the Hotshock in the first place.