The team at Skyrocket is taking everything they already know about augmented reality and fun gameplay and are porting it into the world of first person shooters, attempting to bring a classic video game genre into the real world with a system that combines WiFi, augmented reality and giant blasters off the screen and into the real world.
On it's face, Recoil seems like a super-advanced version of Laser Tag, but it's a bit more than that. The starter set comes with enough pieces to get two people started, including a WiFi hub that can connect up to 18 players and their weapons within a 250 foot radius. This gives you a lot of gameplay area.
You also receive two of the system's smaller blasters, the RK-45 Spitfire. In order to get the full function out of this system, before playing, you'll need to connect a phone mount to each blaster because this system relies on a lot of tech to work. This requires a screwdriver, so make sure you have one. You then have to connect a damage sensor to the bottom of the blaster that keeps track of how many times you get hit. This is easy as the sensor plugs into the bottom of the blaster and hooks to your shirt or pocket without really interfering with gameplay.
One thing to know is that each blaster in the system uses six AA batteries that aren't included. The blasters themselves look good, and when you start shooting, you can feel they are very well designed. Each pull of the trigger gives a bit of haptic feedback, almost feeling like a video game blaster. The blasters also make sounds and have good coloring.
Once everything is screwed together and batteried, you'll need to download the free Recoil app from the Apple or Android stores. Once loaded, and you have your phone nested in your blaster, you're ready to play.
There are three options you can choose, including Skirmish and Team Skirmish, which utilize your phone's GPS and an indoor skirmish mode that offers more basic gameplay.
Both of the outdoor modes are a lot of fun, and each skirmish can be customized by length, up to an hour, or the number of kills, up to 100.
While playing, your phone has a health bar that tracks how close you are to death. A truly fun feature is the integration of GPS, which lets you see how far away other players are, as well as their general direction and the system drops upgraded ammo, health and armor within the gameplay area to help players out.
While there's a lot of info in the app, during play you don't need to focus on it, which allows you to stay present in the game.
The blasters also have a few additional features, including a button that you can push to talk to other players and a reload button you can press whenever you're out of ammo.
The indoor skirmish mode is also fun, but you lose the GPS and the ability to find upgrades.
In fact, it's best to use this system only in a large backyard or large indoor space to take advantage of the 250-foot WiFi radius, as well as to ensure safety.
With an age grading of 12 years and up, this is a great way to integrate a smartphone into active play, getting kids out of the house and active while having a ton of fun. It's also designed for kids and adults who like laser tag and first person shooters. Due and due to the likelihood of running while playing, it's most suited for people in their teens to 20s, as well as those in pretty good physical condition.
While this game is a lot of fun to play, there are a lot of things to be aware of. First, the best way to play is outdoors, and the app suggests that you plug headphones into your phone for the best gameplay experience (the app offers directional audio). Of course, when walking outside with giant gun-looking devices with headphones in, there's a possibility of passersby not understanding that you're playing a game. So, be careful while playing outside.
Additionally, the system didn't always register hits and misses as expected. While standing next to a person, shots were not registered as hits, yet sometimes you were able to hit a player through a wall using standard ammo. It's possible there was interference where we were playing, but it's just as likely that the system still has some kinks to work out.
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