Nintendo surprised everyone last year with its Toy Con. These cardboard toys associated with the Switch, its flagship console, made it possible to discover augmented reality. This led to a new way of playing. After three models around this principle, the Japanese firm is tackling virtual reality with the Nintendo Labo VR Kit.
Indeed, the Toy Con 04 brings together six accessories made of cardboard and plastic to try out the VR. It’s up to you to ride them. Refractories will say in the first place that the screen of the Switch with a resolution of 720P makes the thing impossible. Yet, Nintendo developers are trying the adventure without demerit. If the technique does not really follow, we will see in this test that they are full of ideas to make VR fun and fun.
- Compatible console: Nintendo Switch
- Weight: 400 grams with the console
- Price: $39.99 to $164.99 from Amazon
The Toy Con 04 pack contains:
- 32 cardboard boards
- 1 Pair of VR lens
- 1 sheet of reflective stickers
- 2 sheets of adhesive pads
- 1 sheet of smooth stickers
- 6 gray eyelets
- 2 female parts of gray carnations
- 11 yellow carnations
- 2 Big elastics
- 16 Small elastics
- 1 Nintendo Switch cartridge with 64 mini games
Unboxing of the Nintendo Labo VR Kit
The box in the colors of the Switch contains everything needed to build the different models on the box. The main image directly announces the color: this product is primarily for children. On one side we have the mounting times of different toys. On the other hand, the models are put in condition of use.
Once opened, the box contains the necessary to make the six accessories. Everything is tidy. It almost seems like Marie Kondo participated in the placement of the elements. No really. For comparison, console pack layouts are not perfect. There, nothing exceeds.
This is important. Indeed, the boards are classified in a certain order. First, there is something to build what Nintendo calls VR glasses. Then the mill, a complement of the cardboard headset. Then you can make the camera and its diving mask, the elephant, the bird, the wind pedal and finally the gun. Obviously, it is easier to follow this order. But the fact that each of the plates is numbered helps to navigate.
But before removing one by one the elements necessary for the assembly, it is necessary first to remove the cartridge. Indeed, all the instructions go through the Switch. This saves a valuable place and so do not make grow this already large box.
Editing the Nintendo Labo VR Kit: a pleasure for a Lego fan
Before diving into Nintendo-style VR, you will spend long hours mounting different accessories. For a Lego lover, it’s a bargain. Fortunately, the Japanese firm has designed an easy-to-follow production manual. Each step is detailed with care. A child under the age of 10 can very well follow the instructions and succeed in building without damaging anything. I l will however need an adult or adolescent at times. Indeed, the insertion of carnations requires a little strength and fingering. All the rest is played in the ability to successfully fold, to nest tabs or to fix elastics.
VR glasses – 30 to 60 minutes of editing announced – 1:30 real
This is THE centerpiece of this Nintendo Labo VR Kit. We advise you to be careful so as not to miss the editing. Indeed, it welcomes other accessories on its facade. The key words: patience and delicacy. Fortunately, the parts are detached without effort and each fold is marked not to achieve a cardboard horror. Even when you doubt your quality to follow the instructions, the instructions anticipate your reactions. A fold not right? Not serious, the thing will be readjusted later. The area of difficulty to anticipate? The cage that hosts the Nintendo Switch.
It must be as straight as possible. Indeed, the weight of the console plays on this part that bends little by little. You can still straighten it. In addition, the security piece comes to maintain everything. We took our time to make it. According to the metadata of our camera, it took us 1.5 hours to assemble the VR glasses.
The windmill – 1h real
A small assembly during which it will be necessary to be careful to realize well foldings. Indeed, the mill wheel is easily mounted despite the eyelet to install, but the body of the device requires rigor. Go, have patience and you’ll get there in less than an hour.
The camera and its diving mask – 30 to 60 minutes announced – 1h10 real
So this is a new essential accessory to enjoy two mini-games. The parts of the camera are simple to fold. The editing went without a hitch, we must still pay attention to the direction of placement of the elements. No, we lost time elsewhere: when to detach the pieces. Many small pieces of cardboard serve as junctions, but turn into waste. However, the end result is worth the effort. This camera has a zoom that rattles. Unfortunately, the diving mask does not add anything to this accessory. It is as useful as a pair of glasses mustache and big nose. Finally, you look less stupid when you wear it.
The elephant- 60 to 120 minutes announced – 2h real
This editing is not very difficult either. The assembly itself is done in just over 1:45. The new disruptive element? The presence of elastics to fix correctly. Attention, the trunk has an articulated area, where you slide the joy-cons. This is the most complicated part to climb. It is especially important to pay attention to the junction of the folds with the tensioners. Being able to move the horn offers you new interesting gameplay opportunities.
The bird – 90 to 150 minutes announced – 2h40 real
The base of this accessory is very similar to that of the camera. We must therefore mount three main pieces to overcome: the base, the body and the head of the bird. One of the joy-cons serves as a beak. Once again, the elastics must be pulled out and the body returned to reach the junction of the wings. The central area is full of folding, which requires concentration not to be wrong. Placing the wings is a breeze once you have checked everything. Then simply connect the assembly to the VR glasses.
The wind pedal – 90 to 150 minutes announced – 2h real
This is the only accessory not to put on the headset. The big problem is to make straight folds so that the structure that will be crushed by the foot is solid. The stickers should be correctly placed. Fortunately, the instructions are simple to follow. It is enough to push the eyelets to ensure its robustness. There is only to operate the pedal.
The Blaster – 120 to 180 minutes announced 2:45 real
This is the big assembly of Toy-Con 04 and inevitably the most attractive. This species of bazooka composed of several elements takes again the architecture of the objective of the camera, but in longer. The part that attaches to glasses looks like that of the elephant. Finally, it is the pump of the barrel that requires fingering. Indeed, it is necessary to meticulously install the elastics. Especially since this part welcomes the joy-con that triggers the shots. Fortunately, the result and compatible experiences are clearly worth it.
Design and ergonomics: Nintendo did not think of everything
The materials used obviously make “cheap”. In concrete terms, these are improved carboards. However, Nintendo has worked on the fun and colorful aspect of the various accessories. The origami culture is reflected in the editing and videos available in the discover space. We have fun making them and then customizing them if we wish. Moreover, the famous Discover section allows you to learn more about how to customize accessories.
To wear, the VR glasses of the Nintendo Labo VR Kit weigh a little more than 400 grams. The console counts for 339 grams by integrating the joy-cons. It is very close to the characteristics of an Oculus GO. Only, the strap makes it easier to wear. Depending on the experience, the headset should be held with one or two hands. With one hand, the fatigue is really felt after 30 minutes. Just like eyestrain. The software reminds you to take regular breaks, approximately every 10 minutes.
Nintendo Labo VR Kit: Practical commands
On the other hand, orders are most often practical. Just tap the virtual cardboard button to display the game’s exit menu. The gyroscope of the console does everything. As for the controllers, you can count on the joy-cons and their wrist straps. We go from one to two controllers on the fly, if at all. It seems that everything is mainly thought for right-handed people. The headset is held in the left hand and the handle is manipulated by the other hand. When you’re left-handed, some experiences like baseball or golf are less obvious. We would like to be able to change the meaning. This remains a detail, it is not the first time that we will have to adapt to this right-handed world.
Finally, you can connect a headphone through the vents provided to breathe the console and give access to the connections of the console. They are not enough to prevent heating. After an hour of play, the Nintendo Lab VR smelled a special smell: the cardboard heated. It must be done. For our part, it reminds us of the arrival of chicks in the henhouse on the farm.
The Nintendo Labo VR Kit limited by the technique of the Switch
This is the biggest defect of this Nintendo Labo VR Kit. The Switch’s 1280 x 720 pixel resolution screen and 60Hz refresh rate coupled with cardboard magnifiers add to the feeling of seeing big lines of pixels. It takes a little while to do it. Another sine qua non condition to make the most of this product: the cleanliness of the screen. The smallest grain of dust is swollen. It is therefore necessary to spend a good blow of rag before diving into the adventure.
Likewise, most games do not fit the perfect 60 FPS. Sometimes the technique starts when the number of animations saturates the memory of the little beast. Nevertheless, the graphics in a little below the standards of the Switch. The textures are not superbly detailed, while the 3D models do not shine with their finesse. In addition, the videos available in the “discover” mode are only 180 degrees in average quality.
Inquisitors of the VR could cry foul. Do not do it. What counts with the Toy Con 04 pack is the pleasure to explore, to try innovative technologies at the service of naive idiocy and inventiveness.
Features of the Nintendo Labo VR Kit: a big effort on the playful aspect
Ah! That’s where Nintendo focused its effort. If you cannot move in a space like the HTC Vive, if the grip sometimes resembles that of Oculus GO, once again the Japanese firm focuses on the entertainment and practice of video games. In the menus of the cartridge there are 64 mini games, some unlock after mounting accessories. Just with VR glasses you have access to 16 small experimental levels. You can also watch 33 videos in the discovery mode. This serves as a giant tutorial to customize the accessories.
The first simply reveals the placement of the camera. You control a robot that, when it jumps, create platforms under its feet. Note that most experiences are not seen in the first person. This one is often fixed. Pressing a key changes the angle. The following show this little robot, then a car, a spaceship, a crazy dancer, and finally the camera goes to the first person for the practice of golf, basketball and baseball. Do not worry, we will not give you an exhaustive list of each of them.
Each of the accessories gives you access to a lot of mini-games and new gameplay elements. With the windmill you have to blow, with the camera, the zoom and the 360 degree concept are really taken into account. The elephant offers you additional movements and the ability to draw in VR. The bird allows you to fly and pick up objects like in an arcade game.
Value for money: a good investment for a Switch owner
If you add up the editing time, the entertainment provided by this step and the possibilities offered by the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, the Toy Con 04 pack is well worth the effort. However, we must be aware that it is better to respect the age guidelines. Indeed, the effects of nausea and the big lines of pixels tire the eyes in the long run. The weight of the console lightly presses on the wrist and the hand that wears the VR glasses. Even if you are aware of these negative points, the experience is to be done for any player of Switch. The discovery of this universe is a lot of fun. It is easy to fall back into childhood.
For the little that we have the console, the investment of 30 or 69.99 euros is really not prohibitive. Best of all, it’s a gateway to VR. Indeed, not all parents have discovered this technology. Unfortunately, the free bet of Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of the Wild are not satisfactory. It is hoped that Nintendo will open access to its dev kit to third-party publishers. Some developers have said they are inclined to adapt their games to the device.
Nintendo Labo VR Kit facing the competition
Difficult to compare this product to competitors. In itself, Nintendo’s approach disrupts market habits. Most skeptics will compare this product to a simple Cardboard.
Nintendo Labo VR Kit VS Google Cardboard
Clearly, the Google Cardboard is used to watch videos from his phone. This is not the main use of this product. Nintendo offers a product geared towards children. After assembling the different models, users try a multitude of mini-games. The two objects have little to see except the materials used and basic handling. In addition, the Joy-cons provide greater control over what is happening on the screen. Regarding image quality, everything depends on the smartphone and its slab. Difficult to give a definite opinion on this point.
Nintendo Labo VR Kit VS Oculus Go
This is a more logical comparison. Indeed, the two headsets allow to play in VR. In terms of ergonomics, the Oculus Go wins with his headband to put on the head. As for controls, the Nintendo Labo VR Kit offers more freedom. The Oculus Go gives the impression of having a Playmobil arm. Obviously, the Switch cannot compete with the visual quality of Go. Most games are more beautiful on the product offered by Facebook. Side autonomy, the VR Kit wins with the console and its three hours of autonomy, against two hours for the Go.
No, VR aficionados will not change their minds about these “stuff things” in cardboard. The performances proposed by Nintendo do not appeal. If you do not necessarily come out of there with a headache, note that the proposed comfort is summary. The question of the test of time arises immediately. Nintendo responds partly in the discovery mode.
On the other hand, the Nintendo Labo VR Kit offers a superb gateway to newcomers. Some will probably spend more time, and may be more fun, to mount the various accessories. But the rewards at the end of the road are particularly satisfying. If it cannot compete with the PSVR, the playful offer of VR Kit brings back directly into childhood. To have observed it, the children of 6 years do not want any more to release it. The 66-year-old adults who have never touched a video game of their lives are diving in with delight.
- A very playful approach to VR
- Profuse of games to have fun
- Sometimes silly experiences that bring back childhood
- Particularly well-designed assembly diagrams
- Odor of heated cardboard
- Very short mini games
- Durability of the object
- Difficult technical limitations to forget
- Feeling of nausea on some experiences
- Too many pieces of unused cardboard