Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix XXI-2000 Review: Battle Ready or Not?

Key Takeaways

  • The Helix XXI-2000 delivers solid 70 FPS performance despite no batteries or motors
  • The signature curve shot effect puts unique spins on Rival battles
  • Holds up to 20 rounds in the easy-load hopper for fast firing
  • Highly customizable internally once you open up the shell
  • A bargain in the Rival lineup at just $25-$30
  • While not the most tactical, it brings something totally new to Nerf wars

Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix XXI-2000 Review: Battle Ready or Not?

The Nerf Rival Helix XXI-2000 is a spring-powered, hopper-fed, pump-action blaster in the Curve Shot sub-series of Rival. With its rotating barrel and curve shot capabilities, it offers a unique shooting experience compared to standard Nerf blasters.

In this comprehensive review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the key features and performance of the Helix XXI-2000 to see if it’s worth adding to your Nerf arsenal.

Overview Of The Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix Xxi-2000

The Nerf Rival Helix XXI-2000 was released in 2021 as part of the new Curve Shot line of blasters within the popular Rival series.

Some quick specs:

  • Fires Nerf Rival rounds in a curved trajectory
  • Rotating barrel with 3 curve shot positions
  • Internal hopper holds up to 20 rounds
  • Pump-action priming
  • Slam-fire capable
  • Takes 4 C batteries

It’s a manual, single-shot blaster with the unique curve shot gimmick. The hopper design gives it a much larger ammo capacity than most pump actions.

While it doesn’t have the full auto firepower of Nerf’s motorized Rival models, it brings something new to the table with its curving shots.

Key Features and Benefits Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix XXI-2000

Here are some of the standout features of the Helix XXI-2000 and why they matter:

Curve Shot Effect

Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix XXI-2000

The signature feature of the Helix is its ability to shoot rounds in a curving trajectory. The barrel can rotate left, right, or down to put a spin on the ball as it fires.

This curve effect adds a fun variable to battles, giving you unpredictable shot paths to outmaneuver opponents. It brings something new to Rival play instead of direct-fire blasters.

That said, the curving shots are more of a novelty than a strategic advantage. The balls don’t curve drastically mid-flight. It’s not a homing effect by any means.

You can also leave the barrel in the default straight position for normal firing. So the curve effect is optional if you want standard accuracy.

Generous 20-Round Hopper

Generous 20-Round Hopper
Generous 20-Round Hopper

The Helix stands out from other pump actions with its built-in hopper that holds up to 20 Rival rounds. It gives you some nice rapid fire capabilities before needing to reload.

The translucent hopper also lets you see your ammo supply decreasing as you fire. And you can top it off through the lid while keeping the rest of your ammo handy.

With smooth pumping, you can unload the whole hopper in 10 seconds or less. That’s some decent burst potential for a single-shot blaster.

You may even be able to fit 25-30 rounds if you really stuff the hopper full. So you get excellent firing capacity for a manual blaster.

Performance and Power

Don’t let the manual priming fool you – the Helix delivers the same 70-100 FPS velocities you expect from Rival blasters. It provides the added oomph to go up against flywheel and spring Rival models.

The pump-action prime is smooth but requires some force to cock each shot. The slam-fire lets you hold down the trigger for rapid fire, as fast as you can pump.

Range and accuracy are solid, hitting targets 50+ feet away consistently. The hop-up helps stabilize shots for improved precision.

Overall, it meets the high-performance standards of the Rival line despite being manually powered. You get good tactical capabilities from the Helix.

Affordable Price Point

For a hopper-fed Rival blaster under $30, the Helix XXI-2000 offers excellent value. It’s one of the most budget-friendly blasters with the ammo capacity and Rival power.

Many hobby-grade Rival blasters cost $70 and up. So the Helix lets you join the high-impact battles at a fraction of the price.

Considering its unique curve shot gimmick too, it’s impressive what the Helix brings to the table at this price point.

Slam-Fire Enabled

The slam-fire feature lets you hold down the trigger and pump continuously for rapid-fire bursts. As fast as you can prime, you can unleash a stream of Rival rounds.

This boosts the Helix’s rate of fire significantly compared to standard single-shot blasters. Slam-fire takes the pump action to the next level.

Between the 20-round hopper and slam capabilities, the Helix provides nice offensive potential in stock Nerf battles.

Performance and Shooting Experience Helix XXI-2000

Here’s a more in-depth look at how the Helix XXI-2000 handles in action and how it stacks up performance-wise:

Power and Range

The Helix fires Rival rounds at velocities between 70-100 FPS, right on par with Nerf’s claimed specs. Through various chronograph tests, it consistently hits that 70+ FPS mark for high-impact rounds.

Range reaches 50+ feet flat shots and 40+ feet with the arced shots. Again, very solid for a stock manual blaster. The hop-up gives it extra range not found in earlier Rival designs.

With the 70 FPS power, you get noticeable impact against opponents wearing protective gear and eye protection. The signature “sting” of Rival rounds helps add excitement to games.


The Helix is reasonably accurate, especially for its price and gimmicky design. The hop-up puts backspin on shots to improve stabilization.

At 40 feet, you can hit human-sized targets consistently. The arced shots are less precise, but still usable for suppression fire.

Compared to earlier Nerf pump actions, the Helix performs well thanks to the hop-up technology. Accuracy is solid for stock battles.

Prime and Fire Rate

Cocking the priming handle takes some force, more than Nerf’s motorized designs. But the pump stroke is smooth throughout.

With practice, you can prime each shot in around one second. So theoretically 10 shots per 10 seconds, emptying the whole hopper.

The slam-fire really amps up the rate of fire. You can empty a full hopper in as little as 5 seconds by slamming furiously.

Overall, the Helix provides nice firepower for a pump-action blaster. The hopper and slam features allow faster shooting than traditional single-shots.

Comfort and Handling

At over 2 feet long and weighing several pounds loaded, the Helix has some heft to it. The pump-grip gives you solid front and rear hold points for control.

The priming handle sits comfortably mid-blaster for easy cocking. All the controls are conveniently located without any awkward reaches.

The extra weight helps absorb recoil from the priming. And the smooth pump stroke gives it nice ergonomics for rapid shooting.

Curve Shot Performance Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix XXI-2000

Now let’s look closer at the signature curving shot function…

How Well Do the Curved Shots Work?

The Helix XXI-2000 absolutely puts spin on the balls during firing with the barrel twisted. You can watch the backspin in slo-mo videos.

However, the degree of curving is relatively subtle. Shots curve 5-10 degrees at most. Not drastic z-curves or boomerangs mid-flight.

The gyroscopic stability of the rounds prevents extreme curves. Lightweight NERF darts would likely curve more.

It’s enough curving to make shots less direct and add some trickery. But not enough for tight loops around cover or objects.

Is the Curve Effect Useful in Battle?

Honestly, not really. The unpredictable curving shots are fun and force opponents to react. But they don’t offer much tactical advantage.

The range also decreases notably when using the curve effect. So you sacrifice reach to get the novel arcing ability.

In serious Nerf wars, the Helix will be most effective using the default straight barrel setting for max range and precision. The curving shots are just a gameplay variable.

That said, the curve effect sets the Helix apart from any other Rival blaster. While not a game-changer, it brings something new to battles.

Pros and Cons Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix XXI-2000


  • Large 20-round capacity
  • Slam-fire enabled
  • Novel curve shot effect
  • Hopper ammo visibility
  • Same 70-100 FPS as Rival flywheels
  • Reasonably priced for a hopper-fed blaster


  • Curve effect is more novelty than strategy
  • Pump priming requires effort
  • Occasional jams from hopper feed
  • Heavier and bulkier than many Nerf guns
  • Not as tactically versatile as a flywheeler

Who is the Helix XXI-2000 For?

The Helix hits a nice spot between casual play and more hardcore Nerf wars. Here are some gamer profiles that can get a lot of use out of the Helix:

Budget Rival Users

The sub-$30 price point makes the Helix one of the most affordable ways to jump into the wildly popular Rival blaster line. It brings the high-impact rounds without the premium price tag.

Novelty Seekers

Those looking for something new and different will enjoy the Helix for the curve shot gimmick alone. It introduces a gameplay variable not found in other blasters.

Backyard Warriors

For casual battles with friends in close quarters, the Helix allows rapid slam-fire shots from the hopper. Solid performer for lower-intensity games.

Pump-Action Fans

If you prefer manual priming over batteries and motors, the Helix is one of the highest-performing pump actions out there. Especially impressive for a hopper-fed design.

Customization and Modification Potential

The Helix lends itself well to common Nerf mods and customizations to take performance to the next level:

  • Spring upgrades – Increase power by swapping in a stronger main spring. Can safely hit 120 FPS.
  • Hop-up mods – Apply mods like padding the hop arms to improve shot stability.
  • Expanded hopper – Extension mods can fit 30+ rounds in the hopper.
  • Quick-detach barrel – Add a barrel attach point for swapping muzzles.
  • Paint jobs – The shell works great for hydro-dipping if you want a custom look.

All of these are relatively straightforward mods Nerf veterans can tackle. The Helix makes a fun project blaster.

Accessories and Loadouts

Here are some suggested accessories and gear to incorporate with the Helix:

  • Extra magazines – Bring backup Rival mags for quick reloads. The Perses and Khaos mags work nicely.
  • Ammo pouch – Helps carry extra Rival rounds and speed up hopper refills.
  • Red dot sight – Add a budget red dot for faster target acquisition. Looks cool too!
  • Shoulder strap – Distribute the weight for easier long-term carry.
  • Bandolier – Wear bandolier-style mag pouches across your chest for loads of ammo on-hand.
  • Barrel cam – For streaming battles, add a lightweight camera to the barrel tip.
  • Gloves – Protect your hands and improve grip comfort during intense battles.

Comparison To Other Rival Blasters

How does the performance and experience of the Helix stack up against Nerf’s other offerings? Here’s a quick overview:

Blaster Comparison
Kronos More ammo on tap with the hopper, but much bulkier. Kronos is better for stealth and mobility.
Nemesis Full auto power of the Nemesis dominates, but much pricier. Helix has novelty factor on its side.
Artemis Both 30-round capacity, but Artemis is pump-to-prime not single shot. More battle versatility.
Perses The cream of the crop for Rival. Helix can’t match its rate of fire but way cheaper.
Prometheus Large hopper mags on Prometheus give it more sustained fire. But over 3x the price!
Takedown Similar pump-action priming but Takedown is more compact. Helix has higher capacity.

So the Helix carves out a nice niche in the Rival lineup as an affordable hopper-fed blaster with a novel curve shot perk.

FAQs Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix XXI-2000

Does The Hopper Have Jams Or Feeding Problems?

The gravity-fed hopper can occasionally jam, especially if you tilt the blaster too far forward or sideways. Keep it upright when priming, and shake gently to unjam.

Loading fewer than 20 rounds helps reduce jams too. Overall pretty reliable feeding for a hopper design.

How Do Rival Rounds Compare To Nerf Darts?

Rival rounds are foam balls slightly smaller than ping pong balls. They have a soft exterior with a hollow core. Rival ammo is more accurate and can hit 100 FPS speeds.

NERF darts are lightweight with an open foam design. They generally have lower FPS and less accuracy than Rivals at range.

Are There Any Attachments Like Stocks Or Barrel Extensions?

Out of the box, the Helix does not have any attachment points for mods like shoulder stocks. The front barrel does not accept attachments either.

To add things like a stock, you’ll need to modify the blaster shell and integrate your own attach points. The pump grip limits stock integration options.

Does It Need An Arsenal Of Backup Ammo?

The generous 20-round hopper means you often only need 1 or 2 extra reloads in battle. The Helix doesn’t chew through ammo nearly as fast as full-auto Rival blasters.

Carrying 1-2 extra magazines or a quick-fill ammo pouch is plenty for longer games. You don’t need a heavy ammo loadout.

Is It Easy To Open Up And Modify?

The Helix shell uses simple screws so it’s not too hard to open it up for internal mods. The plunger mechanism is complex, so mod at your own risk.

Simple mods like hop-up padding and spring swaps are beginner-friendly. Just be gentle with shell cutting or wiring mods if you want to reassemble neatly.

Verdict: A Fresh Twist for Your Nerf Arsenal

The bottom line is the Nerf Rival Helix XXI-2000, while not the most serious blaster, delivers great bang for your buck.

The hopper, slam-fire, and Rival hitting power give it solid performance for casual battles. Plus the novel curve shots introduce trickery and unpredictability that no other blaster can claim.

As one of the most affordable ways to experience Nerf Rival with a unique twist, the Helix XXI-2000 earns a spot in your toy arsenal. Just be ready for the curve balls!


Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix XXI-2000 Review
Nerf Rival Curve Shot Helix XXI-2000 Review

Leave a Comment