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Nintendo Labo VR Kit Review


Nintendo Labo VR Kit Review

Nintendo Labo VR Kit for Nintendo Switch

If you’d told me two years ago that I’d spend an entire weekend building cardboard toys to play VR, I’d have called you crazy. Yet here we are, and with my trash can bulging with cardboard pieces I have an array of new Toy-Cons, all of which give a fantastic tactile sensation to the VR experience. Much like the other Labo kits, it’s an experience unlike anything else, even if it’s a bit more basic than other VR experiences.

The Labo VR Kit comes in two variations at the moment, a $40 starter pack that features the VR Goggles and the Blaster Toy-Con, and the $80 Kit that features the full package. The latter will net you a number of options including the VR Goggles, Blaster, Bird, Camera, Elephant, and Wind Pedal.

When you boot up the VR Kit the very first thing you’ll do is construct the Goggles, the basis of everything for the entire experience. The amazing thing here is that all you’re adding onto the Switch is a pair of plastic VR goggles, inserting the system itself into the cardboard piece to play VR.

It’s absolutely absurd to think that with such minimal additions you’re creating such a drastically different experience. Speaking of the actual VR experience, due to the Switch not being as powerful as other options out there, the resolution definitely takes a hit over something like PS VR or Oculus, but it’s still surprisingly effective.

This is a full-blown VR experience for all intents and purposes, and building the Goggles gives you access to over 30 mini-games that each use the feature in a unique way. One has you looking down at a small arena and driving a car, while another lets you shrink/expand and move giant objects, throwing them around like a superhero.

There’s also a series of uncanny live-action videos that use the VR function, that feel sublimely Nintendo-esque. These clips are only a matter of seconds but do things like have you eat sushi from a first-person perspective, or feed deer. They’re certainly strange experiences, especially considering it’s a menu option that’s tucked away.

Of course, the real fun of the Labo VR Kit comes from constructing the various Toy-Con, and boy are they a blast. Just like with past kits there’s a kind of childlike wonder in seeing these sheets of cardboard turn into a crazy creation, like a bird or camera.

These Toy-Cons are all fairly lengthy builds, but they still aren’t too complicated to make things really difficult, especially if you follow the directions. Each Toy-Con adds an intriguing layer to VR, due to the way you interact with them.

For example, the bird has you playing as, you guessed it, a bird and you have to pull down on the handles on the Toy-Con repeatedly to simulate flapping. Meanwhile, the Camera is designed to make a clicking sound as you zoom in and out with by turning the lens, and the Blaster gives you actual feedback when you shoot through rubber bands in the Toy-Con and the Joy-Con integration.

These may seem like such small things, but the tactile sensation that each one gives off really goes a long way in immersing you in each VR experience. All the games you can play also have vibrant colors and art styles, as you might expect from a Nintendo game.

The Blaster feels like it could be a theme park ride as you shoot aliens on a rail shooter, while the bird gives you a mini open world to fly around and explore.

The only downside here might be that these are all the same types of games you’ve found in past Labo kits, and there’s nothing that’s really a full-fledged 10 hour kind of experience. Still, the amount of little games and activities the VR Kit throws at you is great, and there’s enough to keep you busy for quite a while.

The second aspect to all this is how great this kit is to simply show off VR to other people. Realistically, all you need is your Switch tablet and the VR goggles and you can instantly introduce VR to those that have never tried it, maybe at family gatherings. The whole thing is much less cumbersome than any other VR option, even after you’ve constructed your cardboard monstrosities.

Considering its low price point, compared to other VR experiences, this makes Labo a much more viable option for jumping in, especially for families and younger kids.

Of course, just like past Labo sets there’s the entire Discover option, that lets you learn more about each feature and Toy-Con, and how they work.

As neat as the Labo VR Kit is right now, the potential it opens up for the future is what’s truly exciting. We already know Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey are getting updated with VR modes, but the potential of seeing future Nintendo games with VR is huge.

By purchasing the Labo VR kit you already open up two more games to VR, but if Nintendo continues to develop and double-down on VR, the value of this kit could increase exponentially.

As it stands now, though, the Labo VR Kit is a fun conceptual experience that holds hours of enjoyment for kids, families, or anyone looking for a simple project to work on together.

Although most of the games feel very basic, they still have that trademark Nintendo charm, and I still can’t get over how ingeniously these cardboard sets come together. If you’ve been into the past Labo sets, the VR Kit is a no-brainer.

Score: 4/5 – Great

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