The Nintendo Labo is a simple idea that has been excellently executed.
The addition of the Nintendo Labo: VR Kit has taken the game’s companies cardboard Labo range to the next level.
With the starter kit costing just £35, don’t expect to be playing games like Red Dead Redemption 2 in ‘cardboard reality’ on your Nintendo Switch.
However, as a way to play mini-games with your friends in classic Nintendo style, the Labo VR Kit hits the nail on the head.
Having had a chance to get hands-on with some of the games as well as build the VR goggles and Toy-Con Blaster myself, here are four things that are great about the VR Kit and one that isn’t…
It’s not just for kids
Nintendo has made it clear that this product is targeted specifically at children, but why let them have all the fun?
When trying out some of the different mini-games it became apparent that the level of skill needed was sometimes beyond my abilities.
A personal favourite (and challenge) was holding the Toy-Con Elephant to my face while nimbly angling a ‘trunk’ to build a marble maze – the trunk was actually the two Switch joy-cons working simultaneously to create a ‘controller’ that easily rivals that of the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
The possibilities for products like this goes way beyond silly (but fun) games for kids.
With more and more artists moving over to the digital sphere, the VR kit could be an accessible gateway to virtual reality creativity.
With games like Doodle, where you can create 3D artwork by moving the ‘trunk’, Nintendo is already making moves in this direction.
This is only the first step.
Building the gear is fun and interactive
In my opinion, the best feature of any Nintendo Labo kit is the building phase.
With step by step instructions given to you via your Nintendo Switch, the process is simple, easy and doesn’t take too long.
Although, if you are looking to purchase the larger VR Kit you may have to spend a tad longer building all of the larger attachments as it can get a little fiddly with all of the flapping, moving and adjustable parts.
Not the same rehashed VR idea
When it comes to virtual reality, the majority of big contenders have had a shot at it.
Nintendo, however, always has to be different and that’s exactly how the VR Kit felt.
With the capabilities of the Switch limited, Nintendo knew they had to try a different tact when tackling the VR market.
Where PlayStation and HTC went for realism and triple-A titles, the focus on bright and colourful mini-games that pit you up against friends and family was a brilliant move.
Games are fun (great for parties)
With so many different Toy-Con attachments and the prospect of more to come, should the VR Kit sell well, we could see hundreds of new and unique mini-games.
One positive to the lack of head strap is the ability to pass the googles around between friends when playing games like Kablasta, where, using the Toy-Con Blaster you play against friends to see who can feed the most hippos.
Or Bird Dash, using the Toy-Con Bird and Toy-Con Wind Pedal, you will test your coordination as you compete in timed challenges by racing through checkpoints as you fly through the sky.
With the further integration of the VR kit into other Nintendo games, the future is bright.
No to head straps
We have covered already that the Nintendo Labo has been targeted at kids, therefore, in a way, the lack of a head strap makes sense.
Kids are constantly moving and parents probably don’t want their kids sitting still for hours on end with a screen two inches away from their eyes.
However, after playing with the VR Kit for over 30 minutes I found my arms getting tired.
With Nintendo having announced that VR support for Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey will be coming, it seems as though there may be a need for head-straps in the future.
For the time being, fans have started creating their own…