Thursday , September 23 2021

Review of the Nintendo Labo VR kit: the Switch makes virtual magic


Nintendo Labo VR.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The late entry of Nintendo in the world of VR is finally here. Yes, it's made of cardboard. Yes, it's weird. But the ideas inside are probably different from everything you've tried before.

It is impossible not to think Google Cardboard by joining the Nintendo Kit Labo VR set, which I have done during the last week with my children ages 10 and 6. Nintendo Labo It is a series of ingenious, bonkers, folding game art programming experiences, for Nintendo Switch, and are made entirely of cardboard, plastic gums and hollows.

In summary, the Nintendo Labo LR Kit took Google Cardboard and mixed it together with the Switch to create a card universe.

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Of course, Nintendo has been up for the last three years while Sony, Oculus, Google, Samsung and HTC have made VR large and small. But the company has always been dabbling in immersive ideas. The Nintendo Wii since 2006 has been a pioneer in a wild motion controller, and its Nintendo 3DS It has 3D without glasses and even AR. And hey, remember the virtual boy?

Because the Nintendo Switch is a convertible tablet that can be transformed in different ways, it allows Labo to be a kind of low bid test field to use the Switch in new ways. Labo VR represents the most practical experiment of everything: what if the switch fed a VR headset? Of course Labo VR has its limits. But the concept makes sense, and best of all, it works so well because Nintendo understood the limits enough to design it around.

Nintendo had a story of making real magic in the past, including a magic kit with cards for the Nintendo DS years. In a weird way, I understand myself right now, that's what Labo VR Kit is: a box of magic tricks, full of strange wonder.

The $ 80 Nintendo Labo VR kit costs much more than the free Google carton, but it also makes six things: protective lenses, a camera, an elephant, a bird, a beater and a pedal that creates a wind. A $ 40 kit has just the lens and blaster, and it's a good starting point if you're not ready to dive. You can buy the other pieces later on a $ 20 handset, adding the same total cost.

So how do you want to assemble VR, Nintendo style? After spending a few days with my children and I build and play with it, I can say that it is very bright. But it is also wrong, and yes, it means a ton of cardboard folding, which has become really tedious. This is what happened.


The camera (a lot of zoom and clicking).

Scott Stein / CNET

We have made a camera

After placing the glasses, which took about 30 minutes to one hour, we made the camera (another hour), which has a zoom. A game under the sea allows me to look around, zoom and take pictures of fish. My children scared and started screaming over sunshine, shark fish and soccer fish. I was not afraid for my 6 year old as some more realistic submarine RV experiences Oculus Go although he had seen him before. There is a second game that includes the photography of strange creatures in a house (a reference to something that lived in a cardboard house in the first Labo kit), but we still have not got it.


This is a great explosion.

Scott Stein / CNET

We made an explosion gun

The Blaster is a great cardboard bazooka in which you loosen the glasses, and allows you to look around and shoot pretty foreigners of blob in a group of levels of railroad. "It's like this game Metroid in NintendoLand," my 10-year notes. There is a large amount of loading and firing (the cardboard box is wet and it loads a back button). It seems like an arcade game and monitoring sometimes makes me feel dizzy. I'm not wild about having my kids shooting things in games, but it's a boy's test to say the least.


It is a vision of birds.

Scott Stein / CNET

We made a duck and a weird elephant

The other Labo VR accessories range from the brightest and brightest. For example, the bird (which looks like a duck that allows him to see his ass?) He is beautiful, but all he does is catch the wings. The game that uses it is like Pilotwings for birds: flies through an island, nourishes the chicks and collects things. It is best when combined with the pedal, which blows the real wind through its giant cardboard fan and creates a breeze when it slides.

The elephant, which has a curved rubber trunk, is ingenious. Reflective stickers on the "face" plus an infrared camera on a Joy-Con controller add a positioning control that allows you to reach and grab things. This is similar to the pieces of a kinetic-rolling puzzle game or 3D doodling using an art application. In general the game feels like a reduced version of the Google Tiltbrush Vr application. Fortunately, the games know the limits of the controller and are designed so that they take advantage of the short "reach" of the elephant arm.


The elephant is weird, but its reflective stickers and their IR camera also make the controller a functional sensor for VR.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What happens to all these cardboard things now?

One of the first things that you will have to understand is that, with Labo, you are doing many things with something new that is fragile. Yours children can break them and if you do not, you will need plenty of shelf space or a large box to store them. And if they are saved out, will your children forget about them and really need more crap in your home? Labo does not ask that he make sense. You are in favor or not. Sorry


Some of the minigames included do not even need VR, and everyone can be played on the screen, in 3D and without glasses.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Could cut and create more, if I had patience

There are many small Easter eggs buried in the Labo VR kit. The Discover section teaches a little about how VRs and optics work, and a Toy-With Garage allows encoding like other Labo kits (which in theory is almost unlimited if you can understand the confusing scheme of the Garage menus). Another toy tool (Toy-With Garage VR) lets you re-create or create new arcade mini-games to prove, so there's a lot to do. Nintendo includes 64 mini-games fast to prove it, and everyone can be redesigned and redesigned. This could be the first introduction of a basic VR game design.


Building Labo with the step-by-step instructions takes a long time, but at least it is clearly explained.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Limitations? Of course

The Switch has a 720p low resolution screen so when used for VR the screen pixels are really large and slightly blurry. Its battery life is very short (less than 3 hours) and its drivers are not necessarily designed for VR, so while they are wireless and have great habits, sometimes they are clumsy to use.

All creations of Labo VR are made to be used without a headband, so it is necessary to hold the heavy and heavy glasses-Switch to your face, which becomes really tiring for more than 5 minutes and the screen sometimes has a fair amount of lag too. Labo VR software encourages players to pause every few minutes and agree. Again, my children played for a long time on a stretch and wanted to move on.

The Switch uses its own motion and rotary motion sensors to allow the rotation of the head (called 3DoF in circles VR), which means that it does not lean or walk. This is good news because it limits the possibility of injuries and it is easier to sit or stand. But the movement controls have to be recalibrated at times, which requires that you set the switch on a flat surface to be newer. This is not ideal, and it's just another example of how the Switch is not optimized for VR.

Some of the VR controls can also be confusing. Lenses have a superior touch area that allows you to double-tap on the card to select things, as Google Cardboard has done with its unique button. Touching a little exposed part of the screen near the part of the nose can leave the applications, but it is not immediately apparent. The Joy-Con controllers must be placed in the elaborate cardboard accessories of the Labo VR, and synchronize them and withdraw them fiddly. Parents and older children who like to play are the best bets for it.


Google Cardboard (left), know the Nintendo Labo VR Kit (right). The card led to Google Daydream. Why is Labo VR going to take?

Sarah Tew / CNET

Could it be Nintendo's first step in VR, with more to come?

I asked my eldest son, who worked with Labo with me a year ago, to value the experience with Labo VR. He said he loved her, but found out that the pixels were "a little big." Maybe a new Switch, suggested, with smaller pixels and a new driver, could you benefit better from a complete VR headset?

Curiously, I was thinking the same thing. Nintendo Switch is 2 years old. A new version with better visualization and processor and controllers could handle VR more convincingly. After all, the next Oculus Quest You are doing exactly that in an independent mobile game system.

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Nintendo would follow that idea? Maybe Super Mario Odyssey e Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild they are get additional updates that work with Labo VR. I have not played those functions yet, but I would expect them to be quite limited (I would also have to keep Labo VR in touch while playing, which is again tiring).

But the real question is whether Labo VR is a sign that Nintendo is preparing for the next wave of VR hardware. The Switch is not a perfect fit for VR. It is a dip-your-face-in-a-a-bit experience that feels more like a set of new 3D glasses than a totally immersive VR experience. But it works well to pass. This shows that the wild ideas of Nintendo could be applied to VR games.

Again, maybe VR is better preserved as an experiment, which is exactly what Labo VR is. Yes, it is a novelty, a weekend of folding and attractions with some surprises thrown in. But, we had a great time doing everything, and my children were fascinated and worshiped every second (fighting against VR glasses, fascinated by games and the worlds, and curious to know more). This is, in the end, what Nintendo always does the best: to be weird and fun. Labo VR is not perfect, and no, it's not your next Killer VR headset. But it has given me a weekend that I will always remember. And I think my children feel the same.

$ 48

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