Nintendo Labo VR Kit
Release Date: 12/04/2019
Price Range: £35 – £70 // $40 – $80
Expansion Sets: £17.99
Well it’s Friday 12th April as I sit and write this first impressions article. It’s been a day that has been full of joy and I’ll be completely honest it’s down to my time spent with the wonderful Labo VR Kit that’s been released today by Nintendo.
So when the Labo VR Kit was first announced I was so sceptical that I remember saying it was gimmicky and I couldn’t see how it would work and I really was not fussed about Nintendo’s latest innovation.
I had seen the other Labo sets and whilst I had not purchased any of them I could see why people would, sets such as the Labo Vehicle Kit looked to add a new way to control games such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
So fast forward to April fifth and a Nintendo Tweet went out explaining that two updates were coming to both Mario Odyssey and Zelda: BOTW that would incorporate the VR Kit…by now I was interested, for one they are Free Software Updates (Not many companies would do this for free, it’s why we love the Big N) and for two I could play Zelda in VR…SOLD!
Fast forward to the following Friday and here I am sat waiting for my Amazon delivery driver to drop off my set. I didn’t order the full Labo VR Kit as some bits didn’t really interest me so I ordered the starter Kit and the Expansion Set 1 (Camera & Elephant). The driver has turned up and dropped these parcels off and I must say I didn’t wait I got straight into building my VR Goggles….though I’m going to admit something to you all, I was looking for instructions for a few minutes and became a little annoyed when I couldn’t find them, only to discover the instructions are actually on the game cartridge itself (I know, I’m a prat).
Upon loading up the game and being greeted by the brightly coloured menu, you can choose from 3 different options which are MAKE, PLAY and DISCOVER. My first port of call was obviously to Make the goggles and follow the instructions (shush lol). These didn’t take long to construct and once built the actual set seemed sturdy and not bad at all, my main gripe is still that there is no Head Strap but I will counter point this by saying that the goggles aren’t heavy and for the length of time that I imagine myself playing I can hold these to my face no problem – at least until a third party company create a VR headset for the Switch.
One of the first things I tried was the VR Video section and whilst it was good and fun to see Mario day in front of me the video didn’t have complete 360 degree video as you could turn your head and see black, so good but certainly not mind blowing. The next thing I tried has me giggling like a kid with fun and I was shocked at my reaction, especially as I have PSVR.
The next thing to try was the selection of built in games just to see how the VR performed on one of those and the game I chose was Car Driving and it’s a simple game that basically has you Driving a remote control car around an open green plain with a couple of ramps and a ball to drive it yet I had such fun! It really was great I was turning around to see all my surroundings and there wasn’t any black spots here as the whole VR world surrounded my vision.
Whilst I remember if you choose to purchase this let me say that if you think your Switch screen is clean, let me advise you to clean it before you pop it into your VR goggles, the way they magnify everything on screen a speck of dust or a rogue hair can be really off putting when playing – I thought I kept my Switch clean but I wanted to share this piece of advice just in case.
So the one game that really interested me was the Blaster game in the starter kit and so I put my glasses on, set up the instructions and started popping out the corresponding pieces of card to create my Blaster. I was shocked when I read how long it could take to build the next piece of kit, a whopping 120 – 180 minutes, so 2-3 hours…yeah not great.
Well I’m not going to lie it didn’t take me the full 3 hours but it took long enough and the instructions are keen to tell you to take a break, if I had done that I probably wouldn’t have spent much time with the game today, but I’m bloody glad I did because the blaster game is fantastic fun. I can’t lie I really love this Blaster game, the blaster build is great and works really well. I love the fact you can cock your blaster and press a trigger to fire it feels great and the way the on-rails game plays is just great.
Think like the old House of the Dead games except you find yourself shooting at weird blue and pink aliens instead of the undead hordes. It’s typical Nintendo but it feels great and I defy anyone not to enjoy this game. In their own way Nintendo have made VR work and they sold me cardboard in the process, what a company. Like I mentioned I have PSVR yet I’ve had loads of fun with this today and I keep going back to the Blaster game, ok let me just say it was Friday when I started writing this and it’s now 01:27am on Saturday morning as I have just finished another go with the Blaster, yeah I may have issues.
With the blaster game there is also a secondary game in which you will be feeding Hippos and this game is also two player (by handing over the blaster to the second player). It’s a little bit of fun sucking up the fruit in the blaster and seeing how many hungry hippos (I know, sorry) you can feed. It’s good, clean fun and definitely will get people arguing or playing again and again.
So I decided next to build the Camera Toy Con and let me tell you this one didn’t take long to build at all and all the builds this far have been fun.
The Camera opens up the Ocean VR world for you to explore. You’ll find yourself tasked with lots of missions to take photographs of lots of different sea creatures and will you spot the legends diver? The underwater world is certainly cool and the ability to move the lens on your camera to zoom in and out is very well done and realised so well when you consider this is cardboard.
The house camera is also opened up via the Camera Toy Con. The gameplay mechanics are pretty much the same as the Ocean World, in front of you is Fluffball and you need to take photos of him to complete the missions that are set for you.
Now whilst I’ve focused on the plus points with The Labo VR Kit let’s look at where the thing falls down. I’m going to start with display, now whilst it works and looks ok there are image blurring issues and the screen type needs to be better to really make the best use of VR. Now the long rumoured Switch Pro could be a way to address this although that’s if the Switch Pro is a reality but at the moment it’s a pipe dream. Nintendo are known for their hardware revisions so let’s wait and see.
The VR goggles are great and like I mentioned earlier they aren’t heavy BUT I would have expected at the very least some form of strap so you don’t have to hold this thing to your face, also for any future games to come to Nintendo VR how are you supposed to use the joy cons properly if the have to be stuck to the side of the Switch. Like I mentioned before I don’t think it will be long before third party companies will produce a helmet or new version of the goggles to compensate for this.
The whole set of games or mini games are bright and silly and mega fun but, most of all they are all incredibly innovative and typically Nintendo. Those guys have honestly done some truly great work with the Labo VR Kit. Not only are there the main games as per each VR Toy Con but if you enter the VR Plaza you’ll find lots more mini games waiting for you. Each different Toy Con will unlock new games in the VR Plaza which increases the value for money as you go.
I can honestly say that I never thought I’d get sucked in by the Big N with Labo but, having played this and built the different toy cons I really might go out and buy another set. These really add a new level of fun to the games they support and they really are truly awesome and amazingly creative sets.
I am a 36 year old man and I have had lots of fun with these sets so far. I am really glad I purchased the sets that I did as they have provided enough variety and given me a bigger insight into the world of Nintendo VR. Another plus point is that you can wear your glasses whilst using the Labo VR goggles and it’s not a pain in the bum whilst you’re gaming.
When I consider how all this looked when I first opened the box, I never would have believed the pile of card, bags of elastic bands, stickers etc could come together to create such a wonderful bit of gaming fun. It’s really broadened my outlook on Labo Kits and I am keen to try more now.
Take a bow Nintendo, you’ve done it again!
Check out the Nintendo Labo VR Kit Trailer below: