- A lot of friends + a lot of Light Strikers = Lots of fun.
- Extras are fun, but choose carefully if you are on a budget.
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Light Strike is a laser tag-type system released by WowWee (the makers of the popular Paper Jamz music toys) this year. We tested two Assault Strikers, one Striker, and the various targets (mini, strike, vest, and the "Intelligent Targeting System" [ITS]). We also used several attachments (scope, refractor launch, enemy scanner, and rapid fire system).
The system works by sending infrared signals out from the Striker; any Striker that receives the signal and is not on the same team (blue, red, green, or yellow - yes, FOUR teams are possible!) loses health. How much depends on the type of shot. Each Striker can change the type of shot it produces, akin to shotgun, sniper, silenced, etc. The Assault Strikers have more options, but the smaller Strikers are quite effective and have some options. They also have an advantage: when playing in the dark (which is a blast), it is hard to find the Paper Jamz-like sensor locations on the sides of the Assault Strikers, but the Striker G.A.P.-024 that we tried has actual buttons on the top. If you get used to the locations, maybe it would not be a big deal, but I prefer a button I can feel when my other senses are engaged trying to see friend or foe.
The ITS is a cool gadget. The team who shoots it five times first "owns" it, then it goes into one of three modes: Medic, Bomb, or Sentry. In Medic mode, the "owning" team can shoot the ITS (which also rotates, making this more difficult) and restore health. Sentry mode can shoot players of opposing teams, while the Bomb sends out a signal that depletes health of opposing teams really fast. It is a fun device, but should be used in close quarters for best effect. The other targets begged one big question: "Why?" When shot, all they do is turn the color of the Striker that did the shooting. Given more time, we may think up some games to play with them (Capture the Flag is possible, but it would be easy to cheat). It may help to include some game ideas right in the packaging, or at least some on the website. Beyond that, the instructions were accurate, but minimal (and had tiny type).
The other attachments supposedly improve aim, destructive power, etc. I am sure that given enough time, maybe we would have developed greater sophistication with the system to use these effectively, but it was just a lot of fun to run around shooting each other and the ITS.
Overall, it was a fine experience with the system. If I were looking at scaling up for a youth group or recreation group, this system would definitely be on the short list. Again, with a limited budget, I would focus on more Strikers and less on the extras, with the possible exception of the ITS. The Assault Strikers are great for more complex scenarios, but the basic sets are good for a lot of fun. WowWee has a(nother) winner here!
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Disclosure: We received the Light Strike toys and accessories listed above for review. The opinions we have expressed are honest opinions and have not been influenced by the companies providing the product. No other compensation was received.