The third kit for Nintendo’s innovate and educational Nintendo Labo line is here—Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit. I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks with the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit and was left with a lasting positive impression. For those unfamiliar with Nintendo Labo, let me explain.
It’s a combination of fun of do-it-yourself products with innovative new video game experiences. It’s a one-of-a-kind idea that could only come from the creative minds at Nintendo. Earlier this year, Nintendo launched the Nintendo Labo line with two unique kits: Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Variety Kit and Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Robot Kit.
Additionally, there is a Nintendo Labo Customization Set, which comes with stickers and stencils to customize your creations. Let’s take a deep dive into what exactly Nintendo Labo is!
Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Genre: Interactive model kit
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Drive, dive, and fly with Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit
At the heart of Nintendo Labo, it’s all about Make, Play, and Discover. Inside the kit you’ll find everything you need to build Toy-Cons, play with them, and then discover what’s under the hood. Inside the box includes sheets of cardboard used to construct the Toy-Con vehicles, and Nintendo Switch software featuring interactive games.
One of the first things I noticed when getting everything out of the box was that each of the cardboard sheets are labelled and colour coded. I was never more thankful for this than I was after constructing the Toy-Con vehicles.
Some Toy-Con vehicles are intricate and the labeling along with the colour coding made their construction a whole lot easier. A word to the wise, make sure to hold back from punching out the cardboard pieces right away. There’s a very specific order in which to do things, and punching them out all at once can make things more difficult.
Easy and convenient instructions to follow
What I really like about Nintendo Labo are the building instructions. Gone are the clumsy, easy to rip, paper booklets. Instead, Nintendo has included the building instructions on the game cartridge.
The major advantage I found with digital instructions is that you are able to rewind or fast-forward using the touchscreen on the Switch. Moreover, during each building step you can spin a virtual model around right on-screen. You won’t believe how many times this feature came in handy.
Nintendo has really done an excellent job with the building process. The making and building process is easy and fun!
Toy-Con #03 – Vehicle Kit
There are five Toy-Con creations to build within the kit, ranging in complexity from simple to moderately challenging. On the easier side are the Toy-Con Pedal and Toy-Con Key. The most complex out of them all is the steering wheel, it took me a good two hours or more to construct. In all, you should expect anywhere from 5-8 hours to build everything out.
As a result, any doubts that I had about the durability of the cardboard Toy-Cons were squashed after building the Toy-Cons. The way in, which the pieces fit together with tabs, doodads like strings, grommets, and rubber bands help bond the cardboard together.
If by chance you do happen to damage the cardboard, you can use the cardboard stencils that come with Nintendo Labo to easily cut out your own replacement pieces. Let’s take a closer look at the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit Toy-Cons individually now.
One of the very first Toy-Cons I built were the pair of Toy-Con Keys. Not only is this one easiest to build, you need it to use any of the vehicles. In a nut shell, its a cardboard sleeve for your right Joy-Con controller. Pop the Toy-Con Key in the vehicle and off you go!
The next Toy-Con I built was the Toy-con Pedal. This is used in all three vehicles: Toy-Con Car, Toy-Con Plane, and Toy-Con Submarine. This allows you to gradually accelerate in each of the aforementioned vehicles.
The Toy-Con Car is truly spectacular and consequently the most difficult to assemble. It comes complete with a cord to pull for speed boost, and levers to control your windshield wipers. More impressive is that there are knobs on the end of the levers that let you deploy various gadgets such a tree-cutting blade.
There is even a screen holder to put your Switch to further add to your immersive experience. Additionally, you can use the Toy-Con Car in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe!
While not technically a plane, this is the joystick you use to fly the plane in the game. It is the easiest to build out of the three vehicles. I was surprised as just how well this Toy-Con moves and gives you a realistic experience.
The Toy-Con Submarine is my favourite out of all the vehicles. It’s got all sorts of nifty gears inside it that help you control the on-screen submarine. Simply just place Toy-Con Submarine in your lap and you use both of your hands to twist the wheels on each side of it.
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Play and discover
So now that you’ve built all the Toy-Cons, its time to play and discover! Using each of the vehicles to navigate this giant island provides unique experiences. The Toy-Con Car offers an arcade like experience full of fun and is surprisingly easy to control.
Conversely, the Toy-Con Plane is intuitive to control and provides an amazing aerial view of the island. Finally, the Toy-Con Submarine is the most difficult to learn how to control. By twisting the wheels on each side of the Toy-Con you rotate the fans on the submarine.
There are two modes to choose from, Adventure and Play Modes. Let’s take a look at what each mode has to offer.
This is by far the mode I had the most fun with. You are presented with a huge island filled with a variety of different environments including a desert, snowy mountains, swamp, and a futuristic city ready to explore. I really liked the fact that there are no set rules to follow or enemies to worry about. Simply explore and discover, all at your own pace.
You do however have to keep an eye on your vehicle’s fuel gauge and fill up when necessary—a minor nuisance. Each of the various environments on the island contain several missions for you to complete, if you wish. Knowing that Nintendo Labo is made to be accessible to a wide range of people, these missions are fairly easy to complete. They range from helping friends get to their destination to popping balloons—to name a few.
Play mode includes several mini-games to play. These include:
- Rally – race to the goal by passing through various checkpoints without the ability to refuel your vehicle.
- Circuit – a racing game where you can launch punches at your nearby opponents as you battle your way to the finish line.
- Slot Cars – a top down racing game where you only use the Toy-Con Pedal to race.
- Battle – battle against your opponent using a variety of power-ups that can enhance the damage you dish out.
- Paint Studio – customize your in-game vehicles by spray painting them with various colours and designs.
In this mode you can create your own games and new ways to play. Using an input-output system to create actions and then output them, allowing you to explore the tool shop and handle the way Joy-Cons react to their actions is undoubtedly a highlight for me.
Is the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit good value for the money?
I can honestly say that after spending two weeks with the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit, I’m hooked. I had so much fun with my wife and 15-year old son building and playing with these Toy-Con creations. The fact that you can explore the island at your own pace with no pressure at all is something that I really like.
It really gives you a chance to search every nook and cranny to discover some hidden treasures. I believe that the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit offers good value for the money. Not only does it offer a fun learning experience, the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit has Toy-Cons that can be used in other games. So, it’s not something that will just sit on your shelf once you are done playing with it.
Have you picked up the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit? If so let me know what your favourite vehicle is and why in the comments section below.
+ Solid building experience couple with a unique way to control vehicles
+ Great way to spend time with the family
+ Toy-Con Car can be used as a steering wheel in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
+ Great way for kids to learn at STEM
– Initially assembly of Toy-Cons can get quite lengthy
– Storage of Toy-Cons can be tricky if you have limited storage space
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF NINTENDO LABO VEHICLE KIT
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5