Dream Cheeky O.I.C. USB Missile Launcher certainly is fun... assuming you can get it to work. But if you can get it setup and running it is a whole barrel of monkey's worth of fun. Its 30 foot range really does come in handy for reaching out and touching someone.
While most USB peripherals are designed for "serious business", others rebel in their geeky novelty. One such company which revels in their geeky gaming allure is Hong Kong-based Dream Cheeky. Their latest toy their Storm O.I.C. Missile Launcher looks to take what worked from previous models and build upon them with upgraded power. Does the missile launcher now have what it takes to help you win your next office "cube wars" NERF battle? Read on to find out in my full review.
The Dream Cheeky O.I.C. USB Missile Launcher is a heck of a lot bigger than I had pictured it. This thing with its approximate 3.5" x 4.5" x 6.5" footprint it does take up a goodly amount of real estate. Though to be honest the best place I found to stick it was on top of my PC's tower chassis so the extra large foot print really is here nor there as it now resides in what was a "dead zone" of basically unusable space. Here it has a good 360º field of fire and the added height did give it a good foot or more of extended ranges. In other words the old cannon cockers mantra "height IS distance" is in full effect with this bad boy. The other upside to bigger than expected foot print is that even when moving and firing this little bad boy does feel unstable or "tippy" you can even bump into it without fear of it falling over.
Here's the size comparison with a pop can.
As you can see it does kind of look like a cross between something out of Star Wars and a yankee MGM-140 "attacks 'ems" ATacMS battery. The only thing missing is a mini tank chassis underneath it to make it portable and then it really would be a futuristic version of the "Atacks'ems" system. Now that would have taken this to the next level as not only would it be good for being a Close In Weapons System for you next Cubical Wars Nerf battle but actually let you hunt down your intended victim. As it stands the four barrel turret is kinda cute in a geeky sort of way that will at the very least be a great conversation starter.
The O.I.C. USB Missile Launcher itself basically consist of two parts a plastic base and a plastic rotatable turret upon which the four NERF darts are loaded. The turret is automated so and basically rotates left and right under its own power. It can also incline upwards by about 20 to 30º to help get some extra range out of its missiles. The missiles themselves slide in and over the four nipples on the end of the turret and basically to launch them the O.I.C. USB Missile Launcher generates a short burst of air. It then automatically rotates the front of its turret so that another missile can be fired. In the upper right hand corner is a small little USB video camera allowing you to view what you are aiming at via your computer and does add an extra level of fun to this unit.
I actually do have a couple nits to pick with this setup as it is not only loud in operation (and firing) but it is also slow. Even your grandmother in a wheel chair will be able to out maneuver this Nerf launcher when they become aware of it... and the noise it makes lining up its shot will get their attention. The other issue is there is it really is slow about setting up for another missile launch and while you have four shots before you need to reload your "battle" will be most likely long over before you can get the third one off. I would estimate a good 5 to 6 second delay in between shots giving it a anemic 10 shots per minute capability.
Software and Installation
Ok let's start with the bad. I never could get the software to run under Windows 7. In the end, I gave up and ran it on my XP system. Since I tried this on three different Windows 7 based systems (admittedly all 64-bit versions) I feel confident in saying Dream Cheeky's software needs a lot of work. Luckily, it works like a champ under XP so in a pinch I probably could load up "XP mode" on Windows 7 systems and run it that way, but that sounds an awful lot like work and considering this a novelty time waster, that's not a good thing.
When I did get it running on my XP system I was fairly impressed with the dead simple software. You get a simple little popup with a four cardinal direction buttons on the top half with a big button in the center and the bottom half being an image monitor showing what the built in USB camera sees. Sadly there is no aiming reticule and you are basically only eye balling where you are aiming. This does take away from the fun factor to a certain extent and would have been easily avoided by painting an aiming reticule onto the software screen. Though only if it was semi accurate and not just a patch job. An even better solution would have been to include a laser pointer in the center of the four NERF dots "painting" the target and adding a lot to that all important "fun factor".
Helping to make up for this less than optimal issues is the fact that you can remotely operate this bad boy via MSN. Simply log into MSN on the system it is connected to, launch the separate MSN based software controller, walk away and using your smart phone log into MSN and take control of the O.I.C. USB Missile Launcher. You really can be across the room, street or world and set a trap for any nosey snoops going through your office cubicle while you are away. Revenge has never been as sweet or as fun... especially is you add a tab of glue to the front of the NERF darts so they stick to the sticky finger. All in all it may have been a rocky road to get this bad boy working but the end result was worth the effort and hunting down my pets with the O.I.C. USB Missile Launcher was a great time waster in between writing reviews for Everything USB.
Impressive 30 foot range
Built in web cam for "Birds Eye View" of target
MSN remote control abilities
Software installation issues
Noisy turret and firing
Surprisingly large footprint
4 Darts is just not enough
Software needs an aiming reticule or built in laser pointer as its more a guess where the dart will go
Lengthy time between being able to fire another shot
While it is far from perfect, the O.I.C. USB Missile Launcher actually is a heck of a lot of fun to use. It may have some software issues that can rain on your parade; and it may not be even remotely quiet in operation but it really can launch those little bad boy darts further than you would think possible. If you and your colleagues at work are into what me and my mates used to call "cube wars" this 30 foot rocket launcher will give you a clear and distinctive advantage over them. I just wish it could be quicker on firing its four rockets, come with MORE than 6 of them (as they are easy to lose) and fire them quicker, but overall I did have a blast using it. If you are looking for a novelty gadget for yourself or a friend and you know they are into NERF related paraphernalia you may want to check out this funky, fun little gadget. For everyone else, the high cost of admission will never be recouped in time "wasted" by playing with it.