What are you going to do when the end of the world comes around? Nerf's Doomlands blasters are built for a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and you can use them to play out all your Dark Tower gunslinger dreams — including blasting away with one hand. These pocketable Nerf launchers show you exactly how a blaster works, too, with a transparent cutaway and exposed mechanisms.
Gizmodo is on a mission to to check out the best new blasters in Australia. The Nerf Doomlands range is a post-apocalyptic fantasy for the most feared soldiers on the battlefield, made for you to fight for justice in a doomed world.
What Is It?
The $29.99 Nerf Doomlands Negotiator is one hell of a one-handed blaster. It's enormous — only very slightly shorter than our benchmark Strongarm, but a little bit wider as well — mainly to accommodate the eight-shot capacity of its spinning central cylinder. There's even a small handgrip for your second hand, which helps you steady the Negotiator while you're blasting away even if you don't need it, since it's quite a lightweight toy in the first place.
The crowning glory of the Negotiator, though, is the fact that it uses a different charging mechanism to blast off darts to most of the Nerf blasters you might be used to. And it's a really convenient one, too — because you charge the Negotiator by pulling back the hammer at the top of its hand grip, you can use your thumb and get ready to blast off a dart with a single hand. And that means that, if you're super keen, you can carry two Negotiator blasters and fire them off at the same time.
The $20.99 Doomlands Persuader, on the other hand, is a lot more compact — mainly because it doesn't have that rotating cylinder to store all eight darts of the Negotiator. Instead, the Persuader has a strip of four darts that blast off one after another when you pull the hammer back and squeeze the trigger — one for each hammer pull, obviously. The design of the Persuader and the Negotiator alike is borrowed from the Zombie Strike Hammershot, a single-shot handheld blaster that has the same hammer-pull mechanism.
Despite that same mechanism inside as the Negotiator, the Persuader looks very different. Its colour scheme is orange and dark grey — that's the whole Doomlands post-apocalyptic design language, which extends to Doomlands-themed orange darts that have black tips. You get four of those in the box with the Persuader and eight with the Negotiator, so you might want to pick up a set of spare or replacement darts just in case you're a little bit too enthusiastic with them.
What's It Like To Use?
The design of the Negiotator and Persuader's hammer-cocking mechanism, and the fact that they're really quite easy to pull back with your thumb — as long as your hands are large enough — actually makes them just about the best multi-shot Nerf blasters that you can buy. If you're planning on dual-wielding a couple of blasters at the next Zedtown, for example, you could do a lot worse than to pick up a couple of Negotiators and negotiate your way through sixteen Nerf darts in quick succession. It's really, really easy to send off a flurry of foam if you've got the dexterity.
Even the lesser Persuader can be fired off with one hand in quick succession, because it has what's known as a smart air restrictor — it'll fire off whichever dart is topmost in its strip of four, with only a small drop in the speed of darts between each one. You'll get a great distance out of the first two especially, but even the second two still travel an impressively long distance. And the hammer means you can blast them off quickly with a little bit of practice. Reloading both blasters is very easy, too — on the Persuader every barrel is visible, while on the Negotiator you'll always see seven of the eight.
Although they're both very orange, what's especially cool about the Doomlands line is that the Negotiator and Persuader both have transparent, cut-away doors in their handles that show you exactly what's going on inside the blaster. You can see the air plunger hidden away in the blaster's handle, and you can see the spring mechanism that primes it. If you've ever wondered how a Nerf blaster actually works in the first place, this is a great place to start. Each time you cock the blaster by pulling that hammer back, you can see what's going on underneath the hood. It's an education as well as a bunch of fun.
The difference between these two Doomlands blasters will determine which one is right for you. Do you need eight Nerf darts ready to go at once, or is four enough? The trade-off that the Persuader brings is that it's significantly smaller, and that means it's easier to stash away into a backpack — or a back pocket, at a pinch — where the Negiotator toes the line between a backup blaster and a primary one. Either one is perfectly effective when it comes to blasting darts out non stop — which makes the choice even more difficult, but it's a good problem to have.