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Nerf Jr. Foam Blaster Attack of the Kleptons (PC)

The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.

Nerf Jr. Foam Blaster Attack of the Kleptons! was made in 1999 for PC by a multitude of companies led by Hasbro Interactive.

The game was sold with the Nerf jr.. This light gun is connected to a standard DA-15 game port socket and doesn't need any further peripherals or cards. It has a nice feeling trigger, which reminds me of the Sega Menacer. I assume it's actuated by a rubber button too. For reloading a pump handle is pulled. The gun's sights allow for proper aiming. I am not sure how the hit detection works. Contrary to the statement on the packaging the gun doesn't transmit light for sure. Patterns are overlaid over the interactive objects on the screen upon pressing the trigger. I assume the patterns flash in different phases or frequencies which allows the gun to distinguish them. However it's hard to tell, as the screen refreshes much faster than the frame rate of standard video formats. While this method of hit detection works well with short VGA cables, the gun has dificulties if the signal path is too long. Sending the signal over quite some cable over a capture card with signal feed through caused the hit detection to become unreliable. When recording often I ended up hitting objects that were not in front of the gun's muzzle.

In the game's story alien robots attempt to invade earth. They steal all kinds of metal objects in order to build a huge washing machine. The robots are vulnerable towards Nerf foam. They try to wash the whole planet earth to get rid of the foam. Dr. Fish sends the kids of the Nerf jr. team to save the planet. He equips them with guns shooting liquefied Nerf foam.

My younger audience will be surprised why the game is not about shooting foam darts towards enemies, as it was in the two Wii games. Well, Nerf was not always about darts. Nerf started in 1970 with a foam ball. Even the first Nerf blaster, released in 1989, shot with balls rather than darts. While dart blasters were already a thing in 1999 it was not self-evident for them to appear in the game.

A normal play through consists of 12 stages. Six of these stages may take place in one of three similar levels. The second stage for example may take place at a library, in a garage or in restaurant. The level is randomly selected. However I found out a trick which allows the player to select a level by choice: If the player saves the game before a stage, this stage can be reloaded until the desired level is triggered. If the player doesn't want to save a stage progress the game must be quit the latest from the score screen. If the progress shall be saved the player has to enter the next stage and quit from there.

The stages provide quite some variety: The first stage is an on rails light gun game. The next stage is hide and seek themed. The third stage is a game of match up. The next stage is similar to the first stage. In the fifth stage enemies explode but reveal smaller enemies upon being shot in a Matryoshka fashion. In the next stage the robots hide behind a crowd of people. Therefore they must be destroyed in an indirect fashion by shooting at Nerf goo dispensers. The next stage is again similar to the first stage. The ninth stage is again indirect destruction. In this stage the robots are protected by a glass bowl from every side but the bottom. The next stage is a maze in which tubes have to be turned until the robots are drowned in goo. In the next stage robots which fall from the sky in bubbles are juggled into a pool of Nerf goo. The eleventh stage is like the first stage but much more intense. The last stage is a boss fight against the empress of the robots. Whenever the player reloads the gun, she restores some health.

Upon conclusion the player is presented the final score and may access a printable artwork gallery. It is noteworthy that the whole game is just about the score and targeted towards a younger audience. The robots will never fight back and the player can't die. The faster the enemies are destroyed, the bigger the score.

Personally I like Attack of the Kleptons. It is a cheerful little game with lovely voice acting and delightful animations. The gun is interesting it its own right for its unique method of hit detection. The game is flawed by the often unresponsive controls, but all things considered I am very glad I played this game.

I think the packaging is well made and appealing.