Nintendo Labo VR Kit Review: Abundance of Content Makes It the Best Set So Far

Nintendo Labo is an innovative build-and-play concept using cardboard. And while that sounds ridiculous, the past three sets have delivered on the building aspect while leaving the gaming content somewhat lacking.

The VR Kit, the fourth set in the line, brings Labo into the virtual reality realm in some truly unique and innovative ways, while offering the most robust content for players to enjoy since the cardboard peripheral's debut.

No matter your feelings on Labo, the VR Kit really shows how Nintendo has learned from the other sets' failings to create a complete experience that's worth your money and time.

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The Nintendo Labo VR Kit releases April 12 Nintendo

BUILDING

I've enjoyed the construction aspect of the Labo experience with past kits, and that continues with the new set.

The Toy-Cons in the VR Kit are simpler to complete, which is a welcome change. The elaborate Toy-Cons of past kits like the Robot and Wheel each took multiple hours, while most of the VR Toy Cons take about one hour. I definitely preferred building these smaller, Toy-Cons, and parents who need to help their kids will likely appreciate this as well.

However, the Blaster clocks in around three hours to complete, but even that isn't so bad considering how elaborate it is - and it has the best games in the whole kit, but we'll get to that later.

The Labo software is just as interactive and helpful as ever when building, especially for complex pieces like the Blaster. Like other Labo, these are not meant for smaller children to do on their own. There are so many little parts and creases that need folding that it can easily be done wrong and make it hard to fix.

I had my own mishap with the Blaster. After completing the project, the trigger didn't work properly. The Blaster works when players slide the gun cock to fire, similar to a shotgun. However, my first shot cocking the Blaster didn't reset the trigger and it wouldn't shoot any more. Unfortunately, I got to the end before I realized the problem, so I had to dismantle it a bit and retrace some steps to fix it. (Remember kids, be patient and follow instructions.)

PLAYING

When I went to the Labo VR demo, I came away impressed by Nintendo's emphasis on gameplay and content with this kit. . The building part was always the most enjoyable of past kits, but the play aspect was lackluster. But after extensive time with the Labo VR, both components are equally enjoyable.

I spent the most time with the Camera, and being able to explore the underwater world filled with various animals was really immersive. I wanted to continue investigating every inch, and being able to discover fantastical creatures like mermaids was a pleasant surprise.

Players can also enter the Toy-Con House, where you can observe and photograph its inhabitant's behavior. This is not as fun as the underwater bit, but the mission objectives makes it an unexpected challenge.

The Bird Toy-Con, like the Camera, is a more chill experience that lets players fly through the air. Objectives pop up telling you to find eggs, feed chicks and more. It also offers a racing game where you can practice your flying skills against the computer, which is more fun than the exploring bit.

The Wind Pedal's game has players control a frog, avoiding balls thrown by bears. It's a timing game that test your reflexes, and the pedal also works with the bird to boost your speed in races.

The Blaster is the best part of the kit, with an addictive rail shooter that lets players take out aliens in multiple levels. A multiplayer mode pits you against friends to see how many hippos they can feed and befriend.

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Take out aliens with the Nintendo Labo Blaster Nintendo

Not every application of the Labo VR is sucessful. The Elephant grew on me over time, and definitely something that anyone with keen artistic skills can appreciate, as it allows you to draw on a 3D plane. You can also use the Elephant to play a marble puzzle game where you'll need to grab objects to navigate a maze. You can also create your own puzzles for friends to complete.

However, using the Elephant is where the fatigue set in. I began to notice my arm would tire, and there is no apparatus to keep the Toy-Con elevated other than your own hands. Many VR headsets use a head strap, leaving your hands are available to use controllers, but you don't have that freedom here. While the Toy-Cons that need a joy con can be held with one hand, and the Blaster's need for two hands make a head strap unnecessary, Toy-Cons like the Elephant could have benefited from one. This is especially the case with the VR Plaza.

VR Plaza

The biggest surprise for me during the demo was the VR Plaza, a collection of 64 games that can be played in VR or 2D mode. You have platformers, 2D fighting games, car races, basketball and much more. There's something for everyone, and all the games can be played by simply using the VR Goggles. That means if kids or their parents don't have time to build one of the Toy-Cons, they still have a library of games to play. Some of them, like the soccer game, can even be played without the need of the Goggles for easy and fun local multiplayer.

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But again, I would find myself playing the basketball game and feeling tired holding up the Goggles. While it's not heavy, having to hold it up for long periods of time while using my other hand to control the Switch Joy-Con made it tough to spend a lot of time with.

VR Garage

Each game in the VR Plaza was made using the Labo's VR Garage, which allows anyone to make their own VR games. While the normal garage suite is available to customize how your Toy-Cons work, the VR Garage is where the magic happens.

You can use one of the already-made games as a template or start from scratch. Even if you use one as a base, it's still pretty difficult to learn what to do when you first enter the garage, but the Labo software offers helpful hints on how to connect nodes to make the Joy-Cons and console do what you want. Also, it offers some great trial-and-error training.

VERDICT

The Nintendo Labo VR Kit offers amazing, immersive VR technology, and its quick-to-build Toy-Cons feel satisfying and worthwhile to construct without putting too much strain on parents.

But the best part of the VR Kit is the games. Not only does each Toy-Con offer its own unique experience or two, there are 64 games to play in VR Plaza and the VR Garage gives inventive young game designers a chance to create their own. I just wish there was a way to strap the VR Goggles to your hea,d so you can play without tiring.

The VR Kit is the best set put out so far, and well worth a look if you've been intrigued by the Nintendo Labo.

Nintendo Labo VR Kit Review: Abundance of Content Makes It the Best Set So Far | Newsgeek