About a year after the launch of Labo, the Nintendo line of DIY cardboard items for the Switch, the company releases its fourth kit, an introduction to VR for children. While we find the virtual reality rather insulative, the Nintendo Labo VR Kit introduces the VR experience with "simple and sharable" mini-games that allow multiple players to play and interact.
All games must be played with the headset up to your face, which has its pros and cons. On one hand, the little arms might get tired after a while, if you hold the switch screen. On the other hand, some mini-games are designed to be played alternately, and it's faster to walk around the screen than to deal with all the turmoil that turns a headset on and off. The handover of the headset is said to "promote both virtual and real interactions," says Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser.
Six Toy-Con creations can be made, including a blaster, a camera, an elephant, a bird and a pedal, and VR glasses. The VR goggles work with the rest of the Toy-Con and slip into each (except the pedal) to provide experiences such as taking pictures of underwater creatures and my personal favorite of being "a bird." Here are my impressions of each Toy-Con accessory and the associated games.
The VR goggles
The plastic and glass lens goggles are the only one besides IR stickers and rubber bands Non-cardboard part in the kit. If you stick the screen with the 720p resolution of the switch directly to your face, this has about the expected result: it is rather blurry, but not at a level that affects your enjoyment of the games. Images are displayed in stereoscopic 3D, and menu items are displayed on the screen like a 3DS display.
Although the games are designed for VR, you do not really need to use them. VR can be turned off, and games can be played in 2D using the included Screen Holder, another Labo element that you can assemble.
A Nintendo representative told me that the blaster took about 3 hours to build. longer than any other previously released Toy-Con creations. It has many moving parts and works with rubber bands that hook in and release when loading and unloading the trigger. There is one game in which you fend off an alien invasion and another multiplayer mini-game that was, in a way, a little wilder Hungry Hungry Hippos ; Players can take turns using the blaster to shoot food on hippos to lure them to their side, and whoever has the most hippos wins.
Imagine a 3D-scale room scale app like Google's Tilt Brush. Only your brush is the trunk of an elephant. This is Doodle one of the games that play around Labo's VR elephant mask and suitcase.
There are not really any games related to elephants. While the elephant mask appears to be a strange choice, the mask and hull provide a unique control scheme. The mask has IR stickers that track the two controllers in the trunk. It's hard to imagine another animal that has the features that would allow this configuration. Maybe a starry sky?
There is also a physics-based Marble Run where you set up puzzles and pass the headset on to a friend they can solve.
You can use the camera for one Underwater fish photography game or snap pics of the Tamagotchi-like camera use character from the House game in the first Labo variety. I loudly lamented the missed opportunity not to allow anyone within earshot a game Pokémon Snap so do not say I did not do my job.
Here the controller becomes the face of a bird, you put your face on the "wrong end of a bird "(as GamesRadar ] and raise your wings as you hover over an island." Welcome to the world of birds, "reads the mini-game intro. I found it almost impossible to beat the bird's wings without repeatedly pressing the plastic headset against my face, but it is also impossible not to laugh as this happens.
The Wind Pedal
When you step on the pedal, you have an extra boost when you play timed challenges Bird Dash mode – he also sends a gust of wind into your face, which certainly contributes to the immersion factor. You can use it to play a simple game called Hop Dodge where you bounce on a trampoline and try to reach the highest altitude while avoiding obstacles. If that sounds pretty simple, it's because it is.
This may just be from my boring adult perspective, but I can see that most minigames in all four Labo kits lose their fun after a few games. Maybe a child would feel different!
It is good that Labo's true strength comes from the actual building process and his Toy Con Garage platform. With the if-this-then-that programming platform, users can combine their Toy-Con creations and remix their uses. I thought coding the guitar chords for "Rainbow Connection" in Toy-Con Garage would be exhausting, but when I came into VR mode from Toy-Con Garage and saw the back-end of the games, my chin caught.