BoomCo is the new toy gun range from Mattel. What differentiates BoomCo from the others out there are the darts. The BoomCo 'smart dart sticks' aren't sticky (the tips are kind of rubbery), yet they stick to certain surfaces (i.e. the supplied targets) and pretty much nothing else. Believe me, I've gone round attempting to stick these things to absolutely every surface I can find yet the darts will only stick to the targets.
Supplied with the Twisted Spinner is the spinner itself, eight darts and a target. The spinner is made of a nice sturdy solid plastic. There's no trigger, as such, on this particular blaster and to fire the darts you pull backwards on the front grip (no batteries needed). This shoots the dart forward and at the same time spins the barrel round to move the next dart into place. The barrel can hold 8 eights at a time (which seems a lot but you can fire them all within a few seconds).
In the past, when looking to purchase blasters, I've always wanted to know how much strength was required to fire bullets and thus how old a child I could get away with giving it to. Well, my 7 year old had no trouble at all firing it, my 5 year old was ok (there was a bit of a grimace on his face as he pulled it back, but that may just have been his concentrating face), and my 3 year old generally couldn't manage it though did fire one off every once in a while.
The darts, according to the packaging, can fire 70 feet and while I haven't measure it, this seems a reasonable claim. For this reason I'd definitely buy a pack of extra darts. In the space of 20 minutes we'd managed to lose 4 of them. The darts that came with the blaster were green, which didn't help matters, however those in the separate dart pack were blue which helped immensely with finding them.
The darts are made of a thin, light plastic with the special tip (made of a mysterious material I haven't been able to determine - I suspect Magic is involved). As mentioned, the darts will only stick to the targets. This has pros and cons. The darts not being sticky and sticking to everything they come across is great as it won't damage anything (though they do pick up dirt, which can be washed off) but it does limit the things you can shoot at. The supplied target isn't very big and it can be quite difficult to hit (especially from 70 feet away). Since you can only use this particular target as a target, you can't make it easier for, for example, smaller children or adults with poor aim.
On the Spinner there is a pop-up target/defense shield. It's quite cool how this transforms, however it is very limited in its use. The idea is that your enemy hits this instead of you, and you can then steal his/her darts. As I've mentioned, aiming isn't easy, the shield is small, and why would your enemy be shooting at your gun and not the much larger person holding it? It will, therefore, be very rare indeed that a dart will land here and thus the shield be any use. But it does look cool.
Statement of the obvious - due to the amount of force required to get a dart to shoot 70 feet, don't fire the blaster too close to people. Yes, I did (accidentally!) make my 7 year old cry. Being hit from a sensible distance doesn't hurt at all, however, since the darts are made of lightweight plastic. Yes, I did (accidentally!) shoot my 5 year old in the head.
My kids had a lot of fun running around the garden with this; the boys shooting each other and my daughter running round collecting the darts (very useful indeed!). We've had two girls round this weekend and they've had fun shooting each other/me with it too, so it definitely isn't a 'boy' toy. Just remember to buy a pack of extra darts (they don't cost very much) and be prepared to constantly find them while doing the gardening.