Nintendo fans are about to get their first Nintendo VR experience in over two decades with the launch of the Virtual Boy’s spiritual successor: Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 4: VR Kit.
The game, as it states clearly in the title, is the fourth set for Nintendo’s cardboard craze Nintendo Labo. It comes bundled with a bunch of buildable Toy-Con as usual, but it is shaking things up by throwing a VR headset into the mix.
Players use the VR headset in the box along with their Nintendo Switch device to combine both items into a working VR headset. Fans can then try out a host of enjoyable mini-games based on each cardboard creation that comes bundled in the box.
However, unlike most VR kits that are ready to go when you take it out of the box, players will instead have to build their VR headset from scratch before they have a chance to try it out— such in the wonders of the Nintendo Labo sets available on offer in store.
How exactly does the VR headset hold up? And is there enough on offer to warrant the high price tag? Let’s find out.
Let’s get building
Being Nintendo Labo, we can’t exactly begin the whole VR process without building everything first.
If you love making models and Lego kits then the building process will be really enjoyable for you, even though it can take a bit of time to build absolutely everything in the kit. Just like with previous Labo kits, you need to follow the instructions on the Nintendo Switch to learn how to put everything together.
In total, it’ll take at least five to eight hours to get everything built up. Try not to rush it either as you could end up destroying a part if you aren’t careful. As you build each toy, or Toy-Con as it is known, new mini-games will start to unlock based on what you just created.
Once you finally build your VR headset and all the Toy-Con and put everything together, we have a few tips that you should definitely consider before using it. For starters, clean your Switch’s screen. Any slight specs of dust or fabric will be visible when using the headset, and it takes away a lot from the overall experience.
Next, don’t play with the VR headset for prolonged use. We found playing the headset for more than 30 minutes made our eyes water and gave us slight headaches, so it’s definitely something to enjoy in short bursts rather than for hours at a time.
Lastly, prepare to enter a world of fun.
So what is on offer?
Let’s kick things off by stating the obvious— Nintendo’s VR kit works. Crazy, right? Hard to imagine that the same company that made the doomed Virtual Boy all those years ago would finally get VR right after all this time.
When we first got our glimpse of the VR in action, it rekindled a lot of the same amazement and joy that we got when we first saw the 3D on the 3DS work. Amazement, astonishment, and glee— it made us feel like kids again.
Of the VR experiences on offer, players need to use one of four Toy-Con to access each mini-game collection. The camera’s main two games have you take photos of life underwater, trying to take pictures of every species while also offering another mini-game where you take pictures of a monster posing inside a house.
There is a weird bird Toy-Con as well, which is used in a small adventure mini-game that has you traversing a map, completing quests given to you by baby birds. There is also your typical blaster Toy-Con for 360 degree shooting mini-games as well as a weird foot pedal Toy-Con that you can use with a jumping game.
Lastly, there is a huge selection of smaller games on offer that use various parts of the set to really demo what the VR kit can use. There is also a selection of other Nintendo properties st to get VR updates in the future including Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
In all, all the games are entertaining with plenty of difficulty options and levels to take part in. There is enough variety to keep you entertained for hours and the replayability is off the charts.
Let’s look at the setbacks
Being a cheap VR experience, don’t expect to get PSVR or Oculus levels of quality out of your Nintendo Labo kit.
Picture quality isn’t the best with some images hard to see at times. Reading words is easy, but in some instances, images are entirely blurred out or hard to make out. Images that would look fantastic on the Switch’s docked mode are just pixelated messes using the VR headset, which sometimes completely takes you out of the VR immersive experience Nintendo is trying to offer.
The headset is also incredibly finicky and will require you to hold it at all times. That’s right, this VR headset doesn’t have a strap to attach it to your head and you will instead be encouraged to hold onto it while you play games.
For some of the Toy-Con on offer like the Bird or Elephant, this makes sense as you have to physically move parts of the toy to work. Nintendo obviously doesn’t want fans to risk pulling on the mechanisms too hard and breaking the cardboard or pulling the mask into their faces too hard— but for some games that require items like the Camera or if you just want to use the VR for general use, a strap would have really been helpful.
This whole mess makes the VR inconsistent, as your eyes are never fixed into the lenses, so they don’t have time to adjust and see everything around you. This also leads to strain in the eyes, which can cause them to ache and hurt when you first use the equipment.
The games on offer are still appealing and fun to play, but these issues just hurt the gameplay experience more than it should.
We found ourselves having more fun with Nintendo Labo then we first anticipated, with a wide selection of games and toys on offer to fool around with.
Each mini-game isn’t just a VR demo; it’s surprisingly engaging and offers a lot of replayability and challenge. The picture mini-games, for example, will have you frantically looking around for all the secrets and coming back for more.
Some modes, however, are easily overlooked. The Secret Lab mode returns as usual, giving creative talents the chance to create their own games but it is something that one percent of players will actually pick up and use. There is even a VR Lab option for those who want to create unique VR-themed experiences.
In short, Nintendo Labo’s VR kit is a fun, enjoyable experience that lacks a little bit of quality at times. It is definitely worth picking up if you can afford it and should not be overlooked.
Just make sure you have a place to store all those cardboard creations, though. We are still struggling to find space for them right now.
Disclosure: Our Nintendo Labo VR Kit was provided courtesy of Nintendo UK.