Nintendo has long owned the boat when it comes to virtual reality. After all, the Japanese manufacturer is above all fun and closing does not fit into this image. the Nintendo Labo VR Kit will now change that. While Nintendo’s entry into the virtual reality market is nowhere near as technologically advanced as the competition, it nestles comfortably in its own corner where teamwork and fun are at the center.
Cardboard VR glasses are reminiscent of the Google Cardboard in terms of appearance: a cardboard holder with lenses where you slide the Nintendo Switch. With only the glasses, there are a number of little experiences to play in the VR Plaza, which you control with the Joy-Con that protrude from the cardboard holder like ears. The experiences are very short, so the distinct way of holding on never becomes uncomfortable. In addition, the glasses are very wide and the cardboard is protected from perspiration and condensation by a plastic rim. The experiences are a great introduction to what virtual reality has to offer, but the package makes perfect sense when you’ve built all the cardboard extensions.
For example, the camera allows you to take photos underwater and in the laboratory house. In both cases, there are missions that point to hidden photo opportunities with cryptic clues. Your immersion is improved by rotating the camera lens to zoom in. With the bird, you freely fly over an island while feeding newborn chicks. The flight remains comfortable thanks to the stable frame rate. The immersion is also high, especially if you use the wind pedal. Each time you step on it, a pleasant breeze blows across your face, an added dimension that adds a lot to the VR experience. The same wind pedal can also be used for its own game, in which you have to jump over projectiles like a frog. Tangible cardboard creations do a lot for immersion, turning relatively simple games into full-fledged VR experiences.
The elephant is a question of freedom of movement in a virtual environment. With this you make 3D drawings and complete puzzles based on marble tracks. In addition, you can develop your own puzzles to challenge others and there is a Pictionary mode where you have to guess what your coworker has drawn. The elephant’s trunk and the luminous stickers help the Switch to accurately determine the position of your cursor and despite the limited range, you have enough freedom to draw and puzzle. Creative abilities make the elephant a great experience that you can enjoy with multiple players over and over, and show that even with simple motion controllers, you can have a full VR experience.
Finally, the Blaster is one of the most impressive Labo construction panels to date and the absolute star of the Labo VR kit. Inside the case is a cardboard “ball”, which you can feel when you pull the trigger. With the pump at the bottom of the barrel you reload the bullet, and even without the VR glasses, the illusion is already convincing. In the accompanying game, you save the city from an alien invasion, which remains replayable for a long time with several levels and hidden targets. There is also a two-player game, in which you alternately attract hippos to your side by pulling fruit from their open mouths. The blaster is fun from the moment you build it, and the games that come with it make sure you take it off the shelf again and again.
The Toy-Con garage is an integral part of each Lab package, in which you can develop a new game with programmable building blocks. While much is possible, the Toy-Con garage has so far offered virtually no options to make experiences more visually appealing. That will change with the Toy-Con VR garage. This allows you to create new games for and out of virtual reality in a simple game engine with predefined objects. This evolution of the Toy-Con garage adds an important visual element, teaching game designers to become important concepts which prove very useful when using more advanced game engines like Unity 3D and Dreams.
With each Labo package, Nintendo pushes the limits of what is possible with a piece of cardboard, and the Labo VR kit is no exception. The package includes awesome building kits that are as fun to build as they are to play. Cardboard creations add an extra dimension to their accompaniment games, with the wind pedal and the Blaster as strengths. The Toy-Con Garage VR is also an excellent evolution of the original tool set and an excellent entry point for anyone wishing to get started in game design. Nintendo finally plays with virtual reality, in its original, creative and original way that you have to see to believe.
Nintendo Labo VR is now available on Nintendo Switch.
Source : Eurogamer.nl