The least enjoyable part of a friendly Nerf battle isn’t getting hit, it’s constantly having to stop to reload your blaster. The inconvenience improved with Nerf’s Rival line, which debuted in 2015, but for 2021 the company is introducing a new Hyper line of blasters that fire smaller foam balls so you’ll be spending even less time reloading.
The Rival line wasn’t the first time Nerf turned to foam balls as an ammo alternative to darts, but the real appeal was that it could hurl those tiny spheres (which looked like soft miniaturized golf balls) at speeds of up to 70 MPH, or around 100 feet per second. Not fast enough to leave a bruise, as paintballs can, but enough speed that you’d want to actively avoid getting hit during a shootout. For its new Hyper line, Nerf redesigned those foam balls with a new bouncy material that flies farther and faster, although the bump in speed to around 110 feet per second now isn’t the real appeal here.
The reduced size of the Nerf Hyper ammo means a hopper or a magazine has four times the capacity than it would have with Nerf Rival rounds. So a Rival blaster with a 100-shot hopper could in theory now hold 400 Hyper rounds, but since a new and smaller firing mechanism is required, it seems the new Hyper balls aren’t backward compatible.
Instead, sometime in 2021, Nerf will be launching the Hyper line with three blasters to start: the $30 Nerf Hyper Rush-40 featuring a pistol design and a 40-shot hopper, the $40 Nerf Hyper Siege-50 with a 50-shot capacity and a pump-action shotgun design, and the fully automatic $70 Nerf Hyper Mach-100 that uses D-sized batteries to quickly empty its 100-shot hopper if you keep the trigger pulled.
It’s not known if Nerf will continue to add to the Rival line once the Hyper line is available. But with better distance, faster speeds, larger capacities, and a cheaper price tag per shot (refills of 200 Hyper rounds will sell for under $30), it’s hard to imagine fans not eagerly embracing the new line and saying a tear-filled goodbye to Rival.