The return of Lazer Tag will have you trigger-happy all over again

Lazer Tag
Lazer Tag

Well, that and shield-happy, which is a thing now with Hasbro's reinvention of Lazer Tag, it's own brand of paintball's less painful cousin. The toy company has not only released new-and-improved plastic blasters, but a free-to-play iPhone and iPod Touch app that both turns your device into an augmented reality display for your blaster and acts as a standalone augmented reality game.

As it turns out, both work wonderfully together to transform what was once just lights blinking at each other--though there's still plenty of that--into an explosively entertaining and potentially addictive game experience that's both physical and digital. To dispel any confusion, both the Lazer Tag blasters and the app (developed by Vertigore) can work on their own. However, the fun factor for each is increased exponentially when players dock their iPhone or iPod Touch into the blaster and launch the app.

Once players hook up an iOS device to the blaster through the provided audio jack, they control much of the game--both single and multiplayer--using the toy gun. Surprisingly enough, the blaster has been reinvented in some key ways. For one, players can press a secondary trigger with the outside of their index finger to activate a shield, while pressing the button on the gun's handle reloads the clip.


The blaster is incredibly comfortable, but its hefty weight could cause problems for those with wrist issues (i.e. many writers and other folks with desk jobs), especially when the iOS device is packed inside. Seeing as having the iPhone and blaster work in tandem is kind of the point, this issue is unavoidable. There's no denying this flaw, but it's greatly outweighed by the positives.

To start, Hasbro just turned Lazer Tag into an augmented reality multiplayer game--how cool is that? (No more giddy nerd moments. We promise.) This is largely thanks to the app that Vertigore has created, which modifies the experience in ways both subtle and obvious.

Lazer Tag screens
Lazer Tag screens

The subtlety comes through in that Lazer Tag is now a game that connects your single and multiplayer experiences in interesting ways. Of course, stat tracking is the most basic way--the app keeps track of your accuracy rating, games won and more across matches with other players and the game's six single-player missions. Thanks to Game Center, your progress is stacked up against that of the Lazer Tag community in leaderboards.

Then come the weapons. Thanks to this app, your blaster is really six weapons in one, all of which can be upgraded to increase power, firing rate and most importantly, clip capacity. Features like this are right about where the app begins to measurably change the way in which you play Lazer Tag even with your friends.

Lazer Tag images
Lazer Tag images

For instance, if you switch between the Quantum (a pistol) and the Quantum Repeater (an automatic rifle), the firing method changes from rapidly pressing the trigger to holding the trigger for controlled bursts of fire. (Protip: Your opponents will likely never know which weapon you have equipped, so use that to your advantage.) Throw in special attacks like air-strikes and digital drone swarms, and the game changes dramatically, at times forcing you to fight off both real and digital attackers.

All of these elements combine to transform Lazer Tag into a strange but exciting hybrid of video game, physical game and augmented reality. Save for some target recognition issues when changing weapons too quickly (likely fixable with an app update), the new Lazer Tag, for all intents and purposes, may as well be Lazer Tag 2.0. The Lazer Tag blasters are available now for $39.99 each and later in a two-pack for $74.99.

Click here to download the Lazer Tag App for Free on iOS Now >

Are you interested in trying out the all-new Lazer Tag? What do you think of the app-and-blaster combination? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.

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