The new Nintendo Labo VR kit from Nintendo is virtual reality (VR) done right.
Right out of the box, the construction aspect gets your creative juices flowing, as you're handed as many pieces as a LEGO set but develop each Toy-Con like origami. This kit comes with all the VR Toy-Cons included: bird, elephant, blaster, wind pedal, camera, Vr goggles, plus a few extra accessories to build such as a pinwheel and scuba mask.
You'll need to set aside large windows of time to build each, although you can take breaks and come back if preferred. On the low-end of the spectrum, it will take you 30-60 minutes to piece together the camera and VR headset. On the upper-end, it will take more than two hours for the blaster. Under the Make section of the game, you'll see times for construction are indicated for each Toy-Con (shown above).
Once the Toy-Cons are built, players can experience even more hours of immersive play through the VR mini games associated with each construction.
Using the Labo VR Goggles/Headset:
If this is your first time experiencing VR, be prepared. Things can look a bit blurry at first as your eyes adjust. One thing that's nice about the Toy-Con VR headset though is that it's designed with us four-eyes in mind; you can comfortably wear the Labo VR headset with glasses. The images on the screen are displayed in stereoscopic 3-D, but there is also an option to play everything in 2-D. For this, you'll need to build the 2-D Labo screen holder (this one only takes a few minutes). This can be handy when your eyes need a break, but you want to keep playing. The game will also remind you to take breaks and to step away from your VR headset.
The Toy-Con Camera:
With the Toy-Con Camera, you can go on an underwater photo shoot (Ocean Camera) or use the camera to take photos of Fluffball, a one-eyed creature in its natural habitat (House Camera).
With the Toy-Con Elephant, you can paint in 3-D like, well, an elephant (Doodle) or use your skills of perception to finagle differently shaped pieces in the right position to guide a marble through a hoop (Marble Run).
The Toy-Con Bird will have you flapping the Toy-Con's own wings to take flight in two different games. In one, you'll cruise around an island collecting items like fish and bees to help hatch bird friends. In Bird Dash, compete in timed challenges diving through hoops to make it to the finish line. You can also play use the Toy-Con Pedal to give you an extra wind boost and enhance your speed in the game.
Used in the same manner as a traditional toy blaster, it features pump-action to load and a trigger to fire. Go on a battle with the blaster to take down an alien invasion (Blaster) or compete with friends in a "fast-paced, fruit-shooting, hippo-feeding competitive sport" (Kablasta). Think: Hungry Hippos, only turn-based, so less madness.
Once you complete each build, it will unlock all the mini games associated with the Toy-Con.
The VR Plaza is a complete game-changer not just for regular gamers but especially for those gamers that love to hack the game. The VR Plaza features 64 mini games that you can play using the different Toy-Cons, in either 3-D or 2-D. Or you can use the Toy-Con Garage VR to customize these games and create more of your own. VR Garage (like Toy-Con Garage, also included) might seem a bit intimidating at first glance but there are easy tutorials that show you how to build your own games as well as edit the existing games.
For example, you can increased the size of the ball in the soccer game or speed up your player to give yourself an advantage against an opponent. The Nintendo team actually used Toy-Con Garage VR to build all the games that come pre-loaded.
The Nintendo Lab VR Kit is a complete upgrade from the original Nintendo Labo kits, offering perhaps an even more satisfying gaming experience that ensures repeat play. Sure, the construction of the Toy-Cons is time-consuming, which can be frustrating to some, we think for its target-audience---families--- it's a win in terms of balancing on- and off-screen play. The sky really is the limit in terms of the gaming experiences you can create, and there's a coding element to it, which is an added bonus in terms of educational value.
That said, some Toy-Cons are more exciting to play with than others, and the blaster was our favorite by far. The design of this Toy-Con will definitely get the stamp of approval of blaster snobs with in terms of functionality, and we felt the games associated with it offered the most repeat-play value. There's a reason Nintendo included it in its lower-priced Nintendo Labo VR Starter Kit, which just comes with the Toy-Con Blaster and headset.
The Nintendo Labo: VR Kit is rated E for Everyone, ages 10 and up. Folding the cardboard pieces, and attaching the rubber bands and grommets may be a little difficult for some when building the Toy-Cons but we think this is a great way for parent and child to find a DIY they can do together, or for a thrifty kid or kid-at-heart to zen out solo. The build aspect will especially appeal to kids that love to construct their toys.
Building the Toy-Cons was probably our biggest frustration overall. Because the instructions go step by step on screen, you can only speed up the process to a certain extent (by pulling the forward button to fast-forward through the steps). While instructions are certainly easy to follow, I really wish there was a mode or even a print out for faster builders.
One of the big concerns about Nintendo Labo VR was that it would result in increased motion-sickness due to the Nintendo Switch's 72 dpi resolution. This wasn't something we experienced at all through our testing. That said, follow the breaks as instructed on-screen and if you have a history of motion-sickness from VR, we suggest sticking to 2-D gameplay.
While we tested the $80 option, which includes all Toy-Cons, there is an entry level option at $39.99 that include just the blaster and goggles. There are also two expansion kits with the remaining Toy-Cons but the Nintendo Lab: VR Kit software is not included with these.
A Nintendo Switch is required to play and that is also not included. We also suggest using a micro-SD card for your Nintendo Switch system for added storage if you do not do so already.
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