Baby and infant toys are great, but as your children get older they move on, and if they're anything like my boys then it won't be long before they are drooling at the big kid toys. Nerf are definitely a big kid toy, and with our oldest being 22, they're a long-time firm favourite in our house.
Your blaster arrives in a box which is large enough for storage afterwards, there's a pull out drawer and it takes very little time to remove. Set up is quick - insert the 4 x D cell batteries, load the cartridge, insert the cartridge, shoot.
The Nerf N-Strike Elite Hyperfire Blaster is huge. It is almost entirely plastic, but weighs a staggering 5lbs. This weight gives you great control for aiming, which is really very accurate. You'll notice there are various points around to attach a strap - you'd welcome it if you were planning to carry it for any length of time.
This is the fastest Nerf dart blaster, firing 5 darts per second up to 90 feet (27 metres). This is actually really satisfying. It may be over in only 5 seconds, but watching those 25 darts hit your target makes the refilling worthwhile.
The N-Strike Elite Hyperfire Blaster is really easy to control, with an acceleration button/trigger to 'fire it up' and then a trigger to shoot. You are supplied with 25 Elite darts, but it will take any Nerf darts, and you'll probably need them. In 2 weeks we've mislaid about 30 of our darts...although I trust you'll be more careful than my children, and hopefully you don't have house rabbits who think Nerf darts are super-tasty.
Darts are fed from a huge cartridge which slots into the bottom of the blaster. Refilling is simple, although we've found sometimes the spring doesn't bounce back, so watch for that, and don't be tempted to overload the cartridge, it doesn't like it and will jam. Press the release trigger button to remove the cartridge. Should you wish to empty the cartridge, press the grey section and twist.
There's a lockable opening hatch on the top to remove any jammed darts quickly and easily from the barrel. This works exceptionally well. If a dart is trapped further into the barrel it can just be pushed out.
This Blaster does take 4 x D Cell batteries, which aren't cheap, but we haven't yet had to replace them, despite some daily use and a couple of drawn out battles. This is definitely better than I expected, and in part due to the 'trigger' nature of the acceleration button, rather than having an 'on/off' switch which kids especially never turn off with any level of urgency.
My son is 8 next month, so right at the bottom of the age range, and has absolutely no problem using this toy, and nor does my 6 year old. With non-motorised Nerf blasters you often need hand and finger strength to fire, but the N-Strike elite Hyperfire only requires strength to lift and carry it. The age range is appropriate though, these darts don't half sting when they hit, and 6 year olds as a rule simply don't have the ability to be safe or accurate.
Clearly this is an awesome toy, everyone in the house has played with it and it leads to squeals and laughter whatever age you are. The power is immense, battery life has impressed me, accuracy is good, and the feeling of satisfaction after emptying the cartridge has to be a form of therapy we can all benefit from...
The Nerf N-Strike Elite Hyperfire Blaster is available now from Toys R Us rrp £49.99