Peripherally Speaking: NERF N-Strike Switch Shot EX-3

I love NERF guns. In my household, NERF guns are kept within easy reach at all times because you never know when an all-out war is about to occur. This probably happens more frequently than it should amongst a group of generally mature adults.

The NERF N-Strike Switch Shot EX-3 is a gun which serves two purposes, as a gun which fires NERF darts or as a gun casing for a Nintendo Wii Remote. It does one of these things very well. Read the review to find out which.

NERF

To allow the gun to perform double-duty as a videogame accessory and foam projectile firing gun, this product features a removable firing chamber. Swapping between functions is rather easy, as you merely have to press a button and flip down a locking guard on the front of the gun to remove whichever object is currently in there.

When using a Wii Remote, the controller nestles into the shell snugly and the gun’s design has accommodations for all of the Remote’s face buttons. It even features a guard around the power button, which I assume is to prevent accidental powering down of the console, though I can’t imagine how somebody would actually do that.

NERF

The NERF N-Strike Switch Shot EX-3 was not designed with adult hands in mind. Even in my freakishly small gropers, I can barely wrap all of my fingers around the handle and it feels a little bit uncomfortable. After extended use, I found my hand cramping up from holding the grip. I don’t foresee it being a problem for the product’s intended audience of children, but grown-ups who try to use it are likely to be unhappy there.

The trigger feels really loose with the Wii Remote installed. About half of the pull just rattles around with very little pressure applied. The second half of a trigger pull is an unsatisfying, doughy sensation as the trigger mechanism pushes against the spongy B button on the Remote. When compared to some other shells, it feels a bit inadequate.

Closer inspection finds that this is due to the dual-nature of the gun. The trigger actually pulls two different levers, one for each firing mode. Since the NERF firing cylinder seems to require more pressure to trigger, it actually makes full use of the trigger’s range, unlike the Wii Remote configuration.

NERF

Another problem with the Wii Remote installed is its weight. There’s nothing in the handle or elsewhere in the gun which counterbalances the weight of the Wii Remote and the front of the gun is weighed down as a result. It feels unbalanced and using it for a lengthy period of time is uncomfortable on the wrists. Playing with the gun for more than an hour was a little painful.

A further annoyance is the manner in which you have to connect and disconnect accessories like the Nunchuk. The rear of the Wii Remote rests underneath another bit of plastic which wraps the whole way around the top and has a hole in the back, both to accommodate the cocking mechanism of the NERF cylinder as well as give access to the port on the bottom of the Wii Remote. Getting anything plugged in there is a bit challenging in the tiny space, but nothing compared to getting it back out. You have to pretty much remove the entire Remote, unplug your accessory and then replace the Remote again. 

So, as a gun for playing your Wii shooting games with, the NERF N-Strike Switch Shot EX-3 is probably not your best choice. As a NERF gun, however, it’s surprisingly good. Of all the NERF guns in my household (half a dozen, give or take) it has the furthest range. Darts rocket out of this gun and can actually sting a bit at close range. It’s still uncomfortable to hold for a length of time, but it’s a very impressive dart gun.

NERF

And that’s what it comes down to. If you absolutely must have a gun for your Wii that can double as an excellent household warfare item, you won’t be disappointed in its NERF qualities. There’s still much to be desired as a gameplay accessory, however, and you will likely just be happier picking up a different Wii gun and using some of the other NERF products to shoot your friends, family and officemates with.

Forget it

Conrad Zimmerman