The fourth kit for Nintendo’s innovate and educational Nintendo Labo line is here in two SKUS—Nintendo Labo VR Kit and Nintendo Labo VR Starter VR Kit + Blaster. With the promise of simple, shareable VR gaming—I’ve been highly anticipating getting my hands on Nintendo Labo VR. And, after spending the better part of the last week with the kit, I was left with a lasting positive impression.
If your unfamiliar with Nintendo Labo, let me explain. It’s a combination of fun do-it-yourself products with innovative new video game experiences. Moreover, it’s a one-of-a-kind idea that could only come from the creative minds at Nintendo.
Last year, Nintendo launched the Nintendo Labo line. There were a total of three kits released in 2018: Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Variety Kit, Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Robot Kit and Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Vehicle Kit. Additionally, there is a Nintendo Labo Customization Set, which comes with stickers and stencils to customize your creations.
Let’s take a look at what the Nintendo Labo VR Kit has to offer!
Nintendo Labo VR Kit Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Genre: Interactive model kit
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
At the heart of Nintendo Labo, it’s all about Make, Play, and Discover. The Nintendo Labo VR kit includes everything you need. Inside the box there are sheets of cardboard, which are used to construct the Toy-Cons, and Nintendo Switch software featuring interactive games and instructions.
I really like are the building instructions, they are on right on the game cartridge. The major advantage 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. This makes it super easy if you have someone helping you build.
Each of the cardboard sheets are labelled and colour coded to make building and following the instructions a lot easier. I was never more thankful for this than I was after constructing the Toy-Cons. Here’s a hint, 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 a lot more difficult than it has to be.
Toy-Con #04 – VR Kit
There are six Toy-Con creations to build within the kit, which include Toy-Con VR Goggles, camera, elephant, bird, wind pedal and blaster. Building them ranges in complexity from simple to moderately challenging. On the easier side are the Toy-Con VR Goggles and Toy-Con Bird, about 2 hours each to build. The most complex Toy-Con to build is the Toy-Con Blaster, about 3 hours to build. In all, you should expect anywhere from 9-10 hours to build everything out.
The instructions are straight forward and never really difficult, it’s just the length of time it takes to build. Each of the Toy-Cons use the Nintendo Labo VR Goggles, which provides a pretty impressive experience given the relatively low cost of the kit. The Switch conveniently slides into the cardboard sleeve that you build and there is a protector piece that ensures the Switch won’t fall out.
Something to note, the Nintendo Labo VR Goggles do not come with a head strap. I can only guess that this was done for younger players in mind. If someone gets nauseous, they can quickly remove the VR Goggles from their face. However, I would have liked for Nintendo to at least include the option of a head strap for those that want it.
Play and discover
I spread building the Toy-Cons out over a few days, so as I got each one built, I played the games associated with them. There is a total of nine games that vary in length from 20 minutes up to an hour, which require the use of the Toy-Cons. Additionally, you can find a total of 64 mini-games, which can be played with just the VR Goggles in the VR Plaza that are a few minutes in length.
While the VR experience is not as immersive as say the PSVR, it’s pretty darn impressive. What makes Nintendo Labo VR such a unique and immersive experience are the different Toy-Cons that you use. For example, the Toy-Con Camera has a lens that you can twist to zoom in and out for close ups. Correspondingly, the Toy-Con Blaster allows you to physically feel the recoil off every shot. It the physical in addition to the visual that really sells the experience.
I’d have to save that one of my favourite experiences involves the Toy-Con Elephant. You can use this Toy-Con to draw in a 3D environment that I kept coming back to time and time again. Other VR devices have screens that are higher resolutions than the Switch’s 720p screen, so I was a bit worried that things might appear blurry. What I found was that with the bright colours and high contrasts in the games, it wasn’t a problem at all.
Toy-Con Garage VR
The Toy-Con Garage returns and allows you to build your own VR games. Interestingly enough, you can even load up any of the 64 mini-games for the VR Plaza to modify them to make all-new challenges or just to see how they work. At first, the editor can be quite confusing.
Though, if you are willing to invest time in learning how to use the Toy-Con Garage you can make some really neat mini-games. Sadly, you can not share your creations with others. Hopefully that is a feature Nintendo may look into adding in the future.
In-store live demonstrations of Nintendo Labo VR
To help celebrate the launch of Nintendo Labo VR, Best Buy is having in-store demonstrations at select locations across Canada. You can get all the details including dates, times, and the location of the stores, which are having these live demonstrations by clicking here.
Nintendo Labo VR isn’t just for kids and offers a solid VR experience all for Switch owners
Honestly, Nintendo Labo VR is a lot better than I expected. While it’s not 100% perfect, considering the price point—it’s pretty darn good. Each of the six Toy-Cons offer a different experience that really make you feel like you are part of the experience. Whether it’s riding on the back of a bird as it’s flying through the sky, or feeling the recoil of the Toy-Con Blaster—Nintendo Labo VR does a pretty convincing job.
While the VR Plaza’s mini-games won’t keep you coming back for more, it’s the Toy-Con specific games that are compelling. The Toy-Con Elephant’s doodle mode was among one of the favourites in my household. Bird Dash was another favourite, my family kept coming back to see if they could better their time.
Recently, Nintendo announced that Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild are getting free Nintendo Labo VR updates on April 25th. Super Mario Odyssey gets three new mini-missions and Breath of the Wild will allow you to use the VR Goggles to experience its vast world in 3D. I’m interested to see if Nintendo is planning to include any Labo VR modes in other games in the future.
Did you buy Nintendo Labo VR or go to one of the in-store events to try it out? If so let me know what you think about it in the comments section below.
+ Solid building experience couple with a unique way to experience VR
+ Great way to spend time with the family
+ VR experience is great considering price point
+ Great way for kids to learn at STEM
+ Ability to disable 3D mode for younger players
– Initial assembly of Toy-Cons can get quite lengthy
– No option to add head strap to the VR Goggles
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF NINTENDO LABO VR KIT
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5