Early this year, several reports from the NY Toy Fair came out of the new 'Koosh Galaxy' blaster line from Hasbro; a series of ball shooting gear from the makers of Nerf that are aimed at a much younger market. (Hasbro have also reimagined the Koosh brand from the weird tentacley looking soft 'ball' thingy to now helm this 'Galaxy' line)
Of the Koosh Galaxy lineup, the one blaster that had an actual trigger was the "Space Agent", but I hadn't been able to find out a whole lot about it so in the end, I just went ahead and got one myself from Amazon and thought I'd give it a go...
Bright colours and youthful energy- that's what this box art is all about with a somewhat comical look about the logo and design. You can see the "From the makers of Nerf" badge on the box corner- caddying on the already great reputation of it's big brother brand. The obviously young kid on the front also suggests this ones for the wee tackers.
Inside the box, you get the blaster, the cocking pin, (much like with a Nerf Longshot or Longstrike) and 3 foam balls.
The Space Agent is clearly designed for younger kids in it's aesthetics- it's big, bright and bold with very exagerated lines and basically resembles something you'd see in a Saturday morning cartoon (a humerous Nickelodeon one as opposed to.. Transformers).
It's very well made and solid, which you'd expect given lil' ones aren't known for taking care of their gear so it has that real "Duplo"/"Fisher Price" feel to it. That being said, I think the 'toon look is cool.
The Space Agent is a ball blaster like all of the Koosh Galaxy range; it fires 3 rounds from an inbuilt top loaded 'clip' and uses a bolt action cocking mechanism to prime it. It's also the only blaster in the lineup that has a trigger, which is a plus. These are a completely new line so there's nothing here that is Nerf or other blaster line compatible, per se.
The ammo is a soft but dense foam ball that are probably not unlike the balls from other ball blasters from different lines. They don't bounce very well and kind of have that texture/smell of brand new sneakers:D They don't hurt on impact, but it doesn't tickle when you cop one in the nose:P
Loading the 'clip' is pretty easy- there's a protective slide door at the top of the Space Agent that you pull back, revealing a chamber to load the ammo.
There are little 'teeth' that hold the ammo in place as you load them one at a time. It only takes 3 and there's no way to force in more:)
Once the chamber is full, it's a matter of sliding the door back, and then cocking the priming bolt back and forth, just like with a Nerf Longshot.
It's still quite a stiff movement; I wouldn't say it's any easier than priming a Nerf blaster to be honest.
One of the selling points of the Space Agent is you can press a switch to make the ball curve to the left or right. I didn't really find the 'curve' that dramatic, and hence I just took at as a weird stupid way to make your blaster inaccurate:P So I didn't bother after that. #throwawayfunctionality :P
Soo.. performances- well.. it's what it says. I mean it's made for really young kids, and it's a ball blaster so with those two things in mind, remember you're not gonna get much more than 6-8 metres. That being said, I thought it was actually kinda fun (I am a lil partial to the "chock!" noise of ball blasters) and the little kids I tested it with absolutely loved it. It's better for indoor fun and we were enjoying bouncing the ammo off walls but hardly something you're going to be bringing to an organised outdoor Nerf war:P (Refill balls are around 8 bucks for three anyway so it doesn't work out to be particularly cost effective to Nerf battle with these anyway..)
Three rounds of course is a little on the low side, even for a wee tacker so Koosh have got some cute acessories to come with their gear- in one swift moment you can now DOUBLE your ammo with this ball clip, bringing your rounds to.. six. :D
It has a 'dual' mechanism of either sliding onto your belt, or attaching to the Space Agent itself..
Final thoughts- I actually quite like the Koosh Galaxy line- although I've always been sceptical of 'dumbing' down things for kids, I think these blasters are really neat. Sure, they're not gonna win any points for range, but I love the oversized zany 'toon town look about them (I'm expecting a large KABOOM) and think they'd be pretty appealing from a role play/aesthetic point of view.
They're really well made, and the lil' kids do love them. A colleague at work was horrified when she saw some of my other blasters and said she would never allow her son near them, but when I handed her the Space Agent, she was quite sold. As was her son:)
I haven't seen them in Australia, and only a scattering at US stores while on my trip, but they are available on Amazon.