A Nerf Rival review takes a good look at the best way to do battle with the people you love the most. Video games have long been a popular way to get your blood racing.
Since the days of Doom, people have been picking up controllers to blast away their friends and family.
But the problem is, this may get your heart rate up, but it doesn’t get your muscles moving.
It’s hard to find the right replacement to digital combat that gets you outside and exercising. Paintball is expensive, and it hurts to get hit! Plus, unless you want to paint the side of your house, you’ll have to plan a trip to a paintball course.
Nerf blasters have always been the realm of childhood duels, hardly offering the same excitement as a paintball fight. Until the Nerf Rival, that is.
Our Epic Nerf Rival Review
Nothing gets your adrenaline going quite like a shootout — running for cover, returning fire, doing your best not to get shot. Of course, it’s a lot more fun when the only risk is the sting of a foam ball.
This sort of action movie recreation is what Nerf is bringing with its Rival series of blasters. Meant to target the paintball crowd with a more intense, high-velocity game, the Rival blasters maintain an air of playfulness while opening up options for competitive play.
What makes the Nerf Rival the right blaster to go John Wick on your friends? Our Nerf Rival review will break it all down for you.
Outgun your friends with the Nerf Rival
When you think of dart guns, what’s the first thing that comes to your head? Chances are, it’s a Nerf foam dart gun. For the first two decades of Nerf’s history, it was a foam ball company. Its safe sports equipment is still popular in backyards across America.
But in 1991, after 22 years, Nerf introduced their first blasters. One used the foam balls for which Nerf was already famous. Then, the next model added the familiar rubber-tipped foam darts.
With the Rival, Nerf has gone back to the foam ball days of old, although seriously upgraded. The new projectiles, high-impact, golf ball-sized foam balls, are more accurate and faster than the floaty darts you’re familiar with.
It’s apparent that Nerf has aimed these at older crowds because they recommend the Rival series for ages 14 and up.
The Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 was one of the first Rival blasters introduced, and the most standard. It comes with an easy-load magazine that holds 12 rounds. Its firing mechanism can launch the balls as fast as 70 miles per hour.
Rival rounds may not hurt like paintball and Airsoft, but at those speeds, it’s no wonder that Nerf recommends a mask as well.
Nerf Rival guns, such as the Apollo, are customizable as well. The easy-load magazine locks onto the tactical rail of the blaster. This Nerf Rival blaster, in particular, is one of the most basic introductory blasters.
Alongside the Zeus, it is one of the first Rival blasters Nerf made. This Nerf Rival review will focus on the Apollo, along with some alternative options.
Setting Sights on the Nerf Rival
We could hardly call our Nerf Rival review a review if we were just going to tell you what the website said. That’s why we took some time to see what professional reviewers and customers said about the line of blasters.
We broke down reviews from gadget news sites such as Gizmodo, plus aggregate reviews from customers on websites including Amazon. That way, our Nerf Rival review gives you a broader idea of what these blasters are like beyond our own opinion.
The experts weigh in
With a hobby like Nerf, it’s hard to call anyone a real expert. But there are sites dedicated to reviewing nerdy things, like Nerf guns, and have the resources and know-how to do it. The reviewer on Gizmodo’s Nerf Rival review is even part of a Nerf club, so you know he has an authoritative opinion.
That’s the real thing that separates a professional Nerf Rival review from an amateur one — resources. While the Nerf Rival blasters aren’t all that expensive, most people don’t have the resources (or want to spend them) to buy multiples just for testing purposes.
According to Gizmodo’s Nerf Rival review, one of the main draws is that the high-impact rounds fly straighter for longer. They don’t necessarily fly farther than Nerf’s foam darts, but they do hit more accurately.
Fortunately, if you’re worried about safety, these balls only hurt at point-blank, and even then only a little. It’s still probably a good idea to wear eye protection, though.
The Spruce also took a look at the Nerf Rival series. One place they noted that the Apollo might be challenging to use was in its cocking mechanism. This handle is likely too difficult for children under the projected age range to operate, although some adults may also find issues with it.
As far as firing, the Apollo can launch Rival rounds as far as 90 feet, if they are arced rather than fired flat.
Of course, Nerf guns wouldn’t have the reputation they did if they couldn’t stand up to a whole lot of punishment. A professional Nerf Rival review is excellent for finding out how the gun actually works, but nothing can compare to the abuse a Nerf blaster gets after just one day in the backyard.
On Amazon, the Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 earned 4.0 stars out of 5.0 from 559 customers. One reviewer liked the high-impact balls because they were easier to shoot and easier to retrieve, but they thought they made the handle bulky even for an adult man. They also said that it was loud to fire, and the cocking mechanism was awkward to use.
However, all of these were minor caveats when taken as a whole. The Apollo was ultimately fun and easy to use and never jammed when fired correctly according to one user.
Wal-Mart reviews were even more positive, as 148 customers gave this blaster a rating of 4.3 stars out of 5.0.
One customer appreciated how inexpensive it was and the fact that the rounds were high velocity and more powerful than standard darts. However, they did suggest purchasing more rounds because the seven included were not enough.
Expanding Your Arsenal
Of course, Nerf has since expanded the Rival line to include several different types of blasters. Our Nerf Rival review includes more than just the basic Apollo. There are a few other options available to you.
All Nerf blasters that we reviewed here had to be rated at least 4.0 stars out of 5.0. That way we know for sure that they can stand up to whatever backyard battle you put them through.
NERF Rival Phantom Corps Hera MXVII-1200
- N-Strike Elite blasters and Elite darts deliver the ultimate in blaster performance
- Mega series blasters feature Mega Whistler darts that scream through the air
- Defend against a zombie invasion with ZombieStrike blasters
- Ignite the night with FireVision sports gear that glows when thrown
- Raise your game with the Pro-Grip football and Nerfoop basketball set
If you’re looking for something a little more rapid-fire than the standard Apollo XV-700, but don’t want to go all out, the NERF Rival Phantom Corps Hera MXVII-1200 may be the choice for you.
In terms of size, this model is about the same as the Apollo. It holds the same 12-round magazine and comes with 12 high-impact rounds out of the box.
Where it differs is how it fires. Rather than requiring you to cock the spring-loaded firing mechanism every time, the Hera gives you a better option.
It’s a motorized blaster, so you can fire off all 12 rounds in seconds just by holding the trigger. You’ll be able to outgun anyone using a spring blaster with the Hera. It requires six C batteries, which is a big ask, but you can also use the Nerf Rival rechargeable battery pack.
Since it has a much smaller ammo capacity than other Rival blasters, it’ll go through those 12 rounds pretty quickly. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself in a tight spot against a more conservative opponent.
As for price, the Hera is pretty close to the Apollo. Considering the already low starting price of the Apollo, that’s not bad for a motorized upgrade from the basic model.
On Amazon, the Nerf Rival Phantom Corps Hera MXVII-1200 earned 4.5 stars out of 5.0 from 27 customer reviews.
One review found it to be quieter even than other Rival models. They also recommended getting the battery pack, which is much less expensive than batteries and lasts longer, as well as being more powerful. Another customer noted that the blaster was fun but quite large and bulky by any standards.
NERF Rival Prometheus MXVIII-20K
- Advanced acceleration system: The Prometheus MXVIII-20k Nerf Rival blaster features an Advanced Acceleration System that fires up to 8 rounds per second*
- Rechargeable battery: This fully motorized Nerf Rival toy blaster comes with a rechargeable NiMh battery and a wall charger so there’s no need to stock up on batteries
- High-capacity hopper: This Nerf Rival Phantom Corps blaster has an easy-loading, high-capacity hopper that holds up to 200 Nerf Rival rounds
- Comes with 200 high-impact rounds: The Nerf Prometheus MXVIII-20K blaster comes with 200 Nerf Rival high-impact foam rounds
- Fires rounds at a velocity of 100 feet per second: Vanquish opponents as you blast rounds as a velocity of 100 feet per second (30 meters per second).For use with Nerf Rival products only
Okay so, maybe the Apollo isn’t for you. Having to load each time is too slow. The Hera is nice, but 12 rounds go by so quickly!
Well, there’s another option: the Nerf Rival Prometheus MXVIII-20K. Like the Titan that brought fire to humanity in Greek myth, this titanic gun is bringing you serious firepower.
If you want to live out your power fantasies on a Nerf battlefield, bring the Prometheus to stop your opponents in their tracks. It brings an 8-round-per-second fire rate and holds 200 rounds.
Another significant benefit of the Prometheus is that you don’t have to buy all of those extra rounds to fill up the hopper. It comes with 200 rounds, ready to go.
You may be wondering, what about powering this thing? The good news is, you don’t have to worry about buying a bunch of batteries. It comes with its own beefy, 9.6-volt battery to keep the battle going.
The Prometheus takes two handles to operate, like some sort of family-friendly chaingun. Plus, it has a carrying strap so you can focus your fire wherever your team needs it. Good luck reloading it under fire, though.
On Amazon, the Nerf Rival Prometheus MXVIII-20K earned 4.7 stars out of 5.0 from 134 customers. One customer said that this blaster rivaled Nerf blasters that had been modified by users.
Not only does it have an unmatched rate of fire, but it also actually holds more than 200 rounds, if you have them.
Keep in mind that it’s both inaccurate and launches its rounds far. You’ll spend several minutes cleaning up ammo afterward.
Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm
- FIRE 6 DARTS IN A ROW: Fire 6 darts in a row from this quick draw, fast firing Nerf N Strike Elite Strong Arm toy blaster that shoots darts up to 90 feet (27 meters) and includes 6 Nerf Elite darts
- SLAM FIRE BLASTING: Slam fire all 6 darts in a rapid blasting wave at targets by moving the slide back and forth as you hold down the trigger
- INCLUDES 6 NERF DARTS: Includes 6 Official Nerf Elite darts that are designed for distance, tested and approved for performance and quality and constructed of foam with flexible, hollow tips
- EASY, OPEN, RECYCLABLE PACKAGE: Ships in simple recyclable packaging that’s easy to open and frustration free
- FLIP OPEN ROTATING 6 DART BARREL: The Strongarm Nerf blaster has a rotating 6 dart barrel that flips open for easy dart loading and is hand powered no batteries required
For those of you who want something a little tamer than even the Nerf Rival Apollo, there are plenty of options that use other ammunition and less firepower.
The popular Elite darts are compatible with many Nerf blasters, and if you already have an arsenal of those, you may not want to go for something else.
For you, the Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm is a reliable option. This six-round revolver fires Elite darts, rubber-tipped foam that offers good firepower and accuracy without actually hurting anyone.
It has a spring-loaded mechanism, so it’s not too overpowering. This option is an excellent pick for office warfare or younger kids who may not be the most responsible with the power of a Nerf Rival.
If you’re not trying to get too athletic with your Nerf games, or want an easy entry point that’s compatible with nearly every other Nerf blaster out there, don’t shy away from the Strongarm.
Its six darts can be slam-fired by repeatedly moving the slide back and forth while holding the trigger, giving it some versatility. You could even outgun an Apollo at close range.
The Strongarm also has multiple color options to make your weapon stand out among the others.
The Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm was incredibly popular on Amazon, earning 4.5 stars out of 5.0 from 3,402 customer reviews. Reviewers appreciated this blaster’s speed, accuracy, and velocity. These guns were inexpensive and good for the price, making them useful for the whole family.
Targeting the Nerf Rival
If this Nerf Rival review has done anything, I hope it’s convinced you to give the Nerf Rival a try. Whether it’s to spend some time with your kids (or your parents), a low-cost way to have fun with friends, or just for giving a sibling a few good stings, Nerf Rival is a great option.
While the Nerf Rival Apollo is not the fastest or most powerful Rival blaster on the market (see the Prometheus), it’s a good balance between firepower, cost, and capacity. Teens could grab one each with the cash they get from their part-time jobs. Adults can get one for their kids, or themselves, without feeling like they’ll have to do without more essential purchases.
Nerf is about having fun with your friends and family in the backyard. The Nerf Rival Apollo gives you a great way to do that.
Do you use Nerf Rival blasters? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.