Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker Bow: Gizmodo's First Look

Fancy yourself a bit of a zombie hunter? Well, here's the tool for you: Nerf's Zombie Strike Outbreaker is themed for all the Walking Dead fanatics out there, with a battle-worn finish, clip-on crossbow arms (with a real string) and a design that makes it look like it was hastily strapped together in a toolshed.

Gizmodo is on a mission to to check out the best new blasters in Australia. The Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker is built to defend against the zombie hordes, with fun details that show it's built by the survivors inventing their own gear to battle back.

What Is It?

The Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker is actually the first blaster we've ever gotten our hands on from Nerf's Zombie Strike line, and instantly you can recognise its theme: most of the blaster's plastic is that bright neon green, the kind you'd probably also find oozing from the skin of the undead in a post-zombie-apocalypse wasteland. It arrives in the box in two pieces -- the blaster itself, and a set of crossbow limbs that clip onto the front of the blaster with a string that clips into the blaster's cocking mechanism.

The attention to detail in its design is great, too: the handle is designed to look like a pair of pliers wrapped in fabric tape, and there are a few other access like a pipe wrench clamping down on the Zombie Strike logo, faux wing nuts holding the blaster together, and dozens of other little embossed marks on the stock and body. As themed Nerf blasters go, this is one of the best we've seen: it looks like a beaten up, jerry-rigged tool that's been used to blast some zombies already.

Where To Buy

The Outbreaker holds five of Nerf's equally bright green Elite-sized soft darts in its revolving cylinder, and each time you pull the crossbow's crossbar back -- with what looks like a pair of old fabric scissors, another great piece of fine detail on the bow -- a new dart will click into place. Unlike the Alphahawk, you'll have to load darts in from the front, but you can easily do so from either side. Also, it's worth keeping in mind that you can't remove the crossbow's horizontal limb from the Outbreaker once you've clipped it into place -- it's there for good, and it's very solid.

Nerf's funky zombie-themed Outbreaker is a $34.99 toy, and you can buy a refill set of 30 darts for $12.99 -- which means you can go nuts on blasting them without worrying about losing one or two along the way.

What's It Like To Use?

Especially for a kid, the Zombie Strike Outbreaker is very easy to use. While it's quite wide because of those wide crossbow arms, it doesn't take much effort at all to reload the darts into the front of the blaster and to pull back the string and blast off another dart. This is thanks to the big finger-holes in the grey scissor-styled lever up the top. Similarly, the grip is skinny and the bow itself is extremely light: this isn't something massive that you'll need an adult to lug around all day.

The five-dart cylinder in the Outbreaker doesn't flip out, so you can't easily load a full complement of darts in at a time like you can with the Alphahawk. Depending on the position of the cylinder, though, it's always pretty easy to get access to at least three of the five barrels, so it's unlikely you won't be able to load up one of the darts you've just blasted away. If you're feeling especially fashionable, too, the Outbreaker has a little rail along the top of the blaster that you can attach Nerf accessories to.

You can get some good range out of the Outbreaker -- we measured it easily firing its darts a solid 11 or 12 metres repeatably. That's despite it having an especially easy spring to pull back and a trigger that's easy to squeeze -- you could happily give this to an 8-year-old kid and have them blasting away with no trouble. It's a really good mix of fun and easy to use, and the fact that Zombie Strike darts are pretty darn cheap as well is a great plus for the post-apocalyptic theme.

But it's not the performance of the Outbreaker that's going to draw Nerf fanatics towards buying it. It's going to be the design and the look -- the combo of zombie-green and orange, and the mix of built-from-scratch and scrounged-from-the-garage bits and pieces that it looks cobbled together from. This is one of the most detailed blasters that Hasbro has designed, and it's just a bonus that it works well at the same time.

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