Imagine stepping into a first-person shooter video game. You’ve got a weapon. You can see your enemies on the mini-radar. You know that if you get hit one more time, you’re cooked. Now imagine, the map you’re fighting on isn’t an old warehouse or abandoned hospital, it’s your backyard. And you’re actually running around in real life. That’s Recoil. It’s basically high-tech laser tag fused with HALO (or Call of Duty, or GoldenEye 007…), a first-person shooter game played not with controllers but with real blasters in a real yard.
Just released from Skyrocket Toys, Recoil uses a heavy-duty portable WiFi hub to create a private, 500-foot GPS-enabled battlefield anywhere in the neighborhood. Up to 16 players then carry blasters mounted with smartphones synced to the network; their positions are tracked (using Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS) and combat is recorded on screen, so just like in a video game, players will see their missions, health, ammo, accuracy, and other player’s locations on the radar. When they’re killed, they have to return to a specific location on the battlefield (and the game will know if they do or not) before they can respawn.
There are two types of guns: an RK-45 Spitfire pistol ($50) and the SR-12 Rogue machine gun ($80). Both feature three hit detectors (no need to wear a vest), motion sensors, and force-feedback recoil ⏤ so they kick like a real weapon. They both also shoot two types of infrared-beams: a wide-angle, short-range blast and a more targeted, long-range beam that can reportedly hit a target up to 300 feet away. There’s also a frag grenade ($15) to clear the room, and you call in air strikes if you have the enemy pinned down.
Cooler still, Recoil players wear headphones during the battle so they can hear full sound effects (explosions, gunfire, the works), as well as communicate with their team members using built-in, two-way audio. Because the entire firefight is going down online, though, most bystanders will hear little more than a bunch of kids making fake gunshot sounds.
The Recoil Starter Set, which just went on sale two weeks ago, comes with the WiFi hub, two blasters, and phone mounts, although additional guns and grenades are sold separately.