Nintendo Labo VR hands-on: virtual reality goes DIY

Almost a year after the launch of Labo, Nintendo's line of DIY cardboard accessories for Switch, the company is launching its fourth kit: an introduction to virtual reality for children. Although we tend to think that virtual reality is an isolation, Labo VR Kit from Nintendo reimagines the virtual reality experience with "simple and shareable" mini-games designed for several people to play and interact with.

All games must be played with the headset placed to your face, which has its pros and cons. On the one hand, small arms could get tired by holding the switch screen after a while; but, on the other hand, some of the mini-games are designed to be played in turns, and it's faster to go through the screen than to deal with all the fuss of turning the headphones on and off. Passing the headset is designed to encourage "both virtual and real-world 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, plus a pair of virtual reality glasses. The VR glasses work in conjunction with the rest of the Toy-Con, slipping into each one (except the pedal) to offer experiences such as photographing underwater creatures, and my personal favorite, "being a bird". Here are my impressions of each one. The Toy-Con accessory and the games that accompany it.

The VR glasses

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The glasses, made of plastic and glass. The lenses are the only piece that is not cardboard of the kit, in addition to the adhesives IR and the elastic bands. Pasting the 720p resolution screen of the Switch to the face has the expected result: it is quite blurry, but not at a level that prevents you from enjoying the games. The images are displayed in stereoscopic 3D, and the menu items float on the screen as a 3DS screen.

Although the games are designed for virtual reality, it is not really necessary to use them. The VR can be turned off and the games can be played in 2D with the included Screen Support, another element of Labo to build it.

The Blaster

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The blaster game of alien invasion.

A representative from Nintendo told me that the blaster took about 3 hours to build, longer than any of the other Toy-Con creations released so far. It has many moving parts and works with elastic bands that are hooked and released when the trigger is loaded and pulled. There's one game in which you defend an alien invasion, and another multiplayer minigame that was something like a hungry hippo Hungry ; allows players to take turns using the Blaster to shoot food to the hippos to attract them to their side, and whoever has more hippos wins.

The Elephant

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

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Imagine a room-scale 3D painting application like Google's Slant Brush, only your brush is the trunk of an elephant. That's Doodle one of the games based on the mask and elephant trunk VR from Labo.

Actually there are no games related to elephants. But while that makes the elephant mask look like a strange choice, the mask and the trunk create a unique control scheme. There are IR adhesives on the mask, which track the two controllers placed in the trunk. It is difficult to think of any other animal that has the kind of characteristics that allow this configuration. Maybe an aardvark?

There is also a physics-based game Marble Run where you set up puzzles and pass the handset to a friend to solve it.


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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

You can use the camera for a Picture game of underwater fish, or take pictures of the Tamagotchi. Character of the game House in the first variety kit of Labo. I lamented out loud the missed opportunity of not making a game Pokémon Snap for anyone within earshot, so do not say I did not do my job.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The Bird

Here, the controller becomes the face of a bird, you put your face in the "wrong end of a bird" (like GamesRadar very well, place it well, and wave your wings as you navigate the island. "Welcome to the world of birds," says the introduction of the minigame. almost impossible to beat the wings of the birds without repeatedly hitting the plastic earphone against my face, but it is also impossible not to laugh as this is happening.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge


The Wind Pedal

When you step on the pedal you get extra speed when you play timed challenges Bird Mode Dash : also sends a gust of wind to the face, which undoubtedly adds to the fac immersion tor. You can use it to play a simple game called Hop Dodge where you bounce on a trampoline and try to hit the highest height while avoiding the obstacles. If this sounds simple enough, it is because it is.

This could only be from my boring adult perspective, but I can see most of the mini-games in the four Lab kits that lose their fun after a few plays. However, maybe a child would feel different!

It's good that Labo's true strength comes from the actual construction process and its Toy-Con Garage platform. The if-this-then-that programming platform allows users to mix and match their Toy-Con creations and remix the ways in which they can be used. I thought that coding the guitar chords for "Rainbow Connection" in Toy-Con Garage was stressful, but entering the Toy-Con Garage VR mode and looking at the backend of the games left me speechless.

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There are 64 additional VR mini-games built inside Toy-Con Garage. The games should be a starting point for users to create their own virtual reality games, such as editable and customizable plans. For example, you can exchange the ball in a soccer game for an apple, which changes the physics of a kick along with it.

Looking at all the different options available at the input, middle and output nodes was overwhelming, but in a good way. Even though I was shown a dozen games, I had barely scratched the surface of what the VR kit has to offer.

You can buy the complete VR kit for $ 79.99, or if you're not sure you want to commit To have another room in your house with more cardboard, you can pick up the $ 39.99 VR Nintendo Labo Starter Kit and add the games of $ 19.99 expansion later if you wish. The Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 04: VR Kit will be available online and in stores on April 12.

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