Hot on the heels of the mega-successful “Zombie Strike” line of Nerf blasters comes the DoomLands 2169 product line, complete with a new, post-apocalyptic backstory. That’s the thing with many of Hasbro’s new toys—they come with a storyline built-in. It worked for Transformers and G.I. Joe, and lots of other Hasbro properties over the years, so why not create storylines for Nerf? And so it is with DoomLands 2169, which Hasbro describes as follows:
The year is 2169, nearly a century after an asteroid impact wiped out civilization as we know it. The post-apocalyptic wasteland once known as earth is filled with bands of marauding thieves and all manners of creatures. Now, the time has come for a hero to emerge from the wild, savage land to deliver justice and freedom to the human race with the new NERF DOOMLANDS 2169 blasters by their side.
So now we know the DoomLands story, but how does that translate to the actual product line? For starters, there are two primary DoomLands dart blasters in the series, with several more to come (all Target exclusives initially, just like Zombie Strike). But our focus here are the less well-publicized, but no less popular foam weapons introduced alongside the blasters. Are they a good value, or are there better options for your child to fulfill his or her fantasy battles?
It’s Nerf With an Edge
The idea of Nerf weapons isn’t a new one—Nerf blasters are toy guns, after all.
But we’ve already heard from some parents who find the DoomLands 2169 Swift Justice machete and Vigilance battle axe ($9.99 each at Target) a little too barbaric. Whether or not you’ll find it acceptable for your kids to play with Nerf blasters versus a Nerf battle axe is entirely a personal choice, but suffice to say in terms of style and safety, the DoomLands blasters and these DoomLands-branded melee weapons are cut from the same foam cloth.
Speaking of foam, the DoomLands 2169 Swift Justice machete and Vigilance battle axe are covered in the stuff. This prevents them from causing bodily harm but also makes them less realistic in size, weight, and durability than products designed as replica weapons for older audiences. The battle axe is just 13 ½” long, while the machete is 18 3/4” long. And both of them weigh well under 2 ounces a piece. We dissected a Swift Justice and found the foam was stiffened and supported by a hard plastic shaft measuring 0.84” wide and 0.16” thick. Without this shaft, the Swift Justice and Vigilance would both be a floppy mess like many foam toys, but with this plastic spine, neither the Nerf machete nor battle axe felt particularly prone to falling apart in the heat of battle. In short, both the Swift Justice and the Vigilance ride the line between a realistic aesthetic, protection from harm, and reasonable durability.
Pay a Little More, Get a Little More
Although not well-known, the soft foam weapons, gear trunks, holsters, and many other Nerf-branded, non-blaster products made of cloth or foam are from Hasbro’s Nerf accessories partner Perpetual Play Group (PPG). Based in California but with overseas manufacturing, PPG is a global Nerf licensee with offices in the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and China.
This company works closely with the Nerf design team at Hasbro to develop products that can be used alongside core Nerf products, particularly dart blasters. In this case, the partnership with Hasbro has made for two, very nicely designed foam weapons that complement the look and feel of the DoomLands 2169 blasters extremely well.
It’s the partnership between Perpetual Play Group and the Nerf team at Hasbro that makes products like the DoomLands 2169 Swift Justice machete and DoomLands 2169 Vigilance battle axe worth the asking price of $9.99 apiece. Sure, there are cheaper soft foam swords, axes and related weaponry on the market, but none of them fit the Nerf look and feel quite as well as the Nerf-branded items themselves. And while older players might wish these two melee weapons were a bit larger and a bit tougher, these toys are rated for children as young as 6 years old, which makes them well-suited for enjoyment by a wide range of fans.
Perpetual Play Group tells us they’ve already sold in tens of thousands of the Swift Justice machete and Vigilance battle axes to Target stores across the country. And with the look and feel of the DoomLands story so well executed in these products, we have no doubt they’ll sell every last one.
Faithfully builds on the Nerf DoomLands blaster look and feel
Extensive use of foam mitigates any potential for harm
Lightweight enough for use by younger players
Very light weight and small overall size may limit appeal to older players
Price point is higher than non-branded foam weapon alternatives