Laser tag is a classic youth pastime. I’ve got lots of memories of wearing vests with sensors in my friends’ backyards, ducking behind bushes and trees, as we fired infrared lasers at one another hoping to see those flashing lights and “kerplow” sounds to register a hit. It’s basically paintball without the bruises and blood. Playing in a warehouse setting with more advanced gear was a staple of my birthday parties for years.
Now Recoil, a new laser tag system from Skyrocket Toys, is aiming to use augmented reality (AR) to finally bring at-home laser tag toys to the next level. The marketing video they’ve released, embedded below, paints a very grandiose image of what the initial pitch of the device must have been, even though the reality isn’t quite as impressive. In their press outreach the pitch is “Pokemon Go meets Call of Duty” which is certainly a buzzword-worthy tagline.
According to this article from Gizmodo, it sounds like the system works similarly to the laser tag setups of old with a few more bells and whistles on top. You download the Recoil app onto your smartphone, log onto the local WiFi network created by the included router, and set up a game. Skyrocket is aiming to have multiple game modes at launch with more coming down the line as well. It even takes advantage of GPS too, so it’s best to use the system outdoors.
Using your phone, which pairs with the gun through Bluetooth, you can see a visual representation of your health and ammo, a little minimap, and different items for pickup around you — similar to what you’d see as a Heads-Up Display (HUD) in a video game like Call of Duty. There’s even a top-down view missile launching minigame you can unlock that lets you drop missiles on other players that causes alarms to sound on their phone as they try to get out of the drop zone in time.
Unfortunately it sounds like there is no mount for your phone on the guns themselves, so you’re likely expected to hold a gun in one hand with your phone in the other. Perhaps a separate mount or gun designed to hold the phone will release at a later time. Also worth noting is that there are no vests with this system — you can only get a “hit” on someone based off of the sensors on the guns themselves.
The Recoil system is expected to launch this summer on August 15th at major retailers and the base package will include two pistols and the Wi-Fi router together for just $130. The app will be free to download. You can buy extra pistols for $50 each with assault rifles (shown as the video thumbnail above) going for $80 and individual grenades sold for $15. A sniper rifle and shotgun are reportedly in development for early 2018 as well.
Let us know what you think of the Recoil laser tag system down in the comments below!