Nintendo has made its move into the world of virtual reality (VR) with a new Labo kit that launches today. This one is by far our favourite Labo kit so far. Why? Well…
South African pricing suggests that this could be the cheapest VR headset you can buy (depending on whether you already have a Nintendo Switch console or not). And it offers a range of interactive games, each with its own quirky Toy-Con module (Toy-Cons are the name Nintendo gives its build-them-yourselves cardboard creations).
Using the range of Labo VR kits (from the starter kit to expansions and the full kit), you’ll be able to create six different Toy-Cons. Each gives you access to a few mini-games you can shove your face into. The main module, VR Goggles that the Switch slips into, is your connection to Nintendo’s VR world.
Take me away
Stuff had the opportunity to create and use some Toy-Cons from the VR kit, and we’re happy to report that we enjoyed it much more than we were supposed to as, you know, fully-grown humans.
[Above: Stuff attempts to build the VR Goggles from the Labo VR Starter Kit.]
What’s surprising is that, while the resolution of the Switch console is obviously much, much lower than ideal, it didn’t struggle to convince us otherwise. Give it a few moments and the jaggies stop mattering as you let yourself be absorbed in the quirky games that Nintendo offers.
The Starter Kit features the goggles and the Blaster Toy-Con, and honestly, it’s our favourite from the range. While we’ve never wielded a shotgun (and have absolutely no intention of doing so), pulling back the pump-action loader ends with a satisfying clunk inside the barrel, with a thumb trigger then firing it forward. Open up a little window in the side of the barrel and you can watch the mechanism engage. It’s simply incredible that Nintendo managed to design something a child can build yet which feels like proper engineering.
You slot the VR goggles into the end of all the other Toy-Cons too, though you don’t have the added stability of a head-strap to keep them in place. Nintendo did this on purpose, to keep the little ‘uns from sitting with their eyes pressed up against a screen for hours on end. Although the games regularly notify you to take a break, you may not have a choice. Your arms will battle if you’ve got gamer arms like we do.
Take our money!
We love seeing Nintendo putting the tools of creation in the hands of players, especially children in developmental stages. Once they’ve finished building the included Toy-Cons, Labo users can also head to the ‘garage’ where they can build their own games from scratch, or rework existing ones. And that’s not all we like seeing. We also cannot wait to see Nintendo’s VR capabilities in action in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.
The full Labo VR kit (that includes all the pieces needed for each of the half-dozen Toy-Cons in the VR range) costs R1,400, while the starter kit (VR goggles and Blaster) costs just R700. Each expansion on top of the starter costs R300. If you need us this weekend tough, we’ll be folding cardboard and hanging out in Nintendo’s world.