10:00 am EDT, April 14, 2019

Nintendo Labo VR review – A beautiful, slightly impractical experience

The Nintendo Labo VR experience is one you will never forget, but that’s not always a good thing.

It has always been an intimidating experience to open a Nintendo Labo box. There are a lot of parts, with multiple cardboard sheets to punch shapes out of. There are even washers, screws, and rubber bands. What makes this all so fun? Building with friends.

Nintendo Labo VR review

Building an experience

If you’re attempting to make any of the Nintendo Labo VR Toy-Cons on your own, you’re in for quite the grind.

While all of the Labo kits before it have been a bit of a chore to put together, none have felt as complex as the VR kit.

The best part of building any Nintendo Labo Toy-Con is the thrill of knowing that you’re done building it.

They aren’t all that difficult to make, and take a minimal amount of concentration to complete, but the process of making any given one of the six Toy-Cons in the VR kit can feel a bit draining.

Don’t get me wrong: I loved building the Labo VR kits. However, after I was done making even the basic VR Goggles Toy-Con, I didn’t have much gusto left in me to actually play with it.

Thankfully, I kept building the kits until I found one that was awe-inspiring.

An immersive and gorgeous game

The next kit I built was the Toy-Con Bird. It was a bit harder to build than the VR Goggles, but seeing as I knew I already had half of it built with the VR Goggles, I was more inspired to complete it.

The bird itself looked a bit dorky, but as I attached the screws and washers, I could already see the VR experience coming together. The wings flapped somewhat realistically, and the tension as I squeezed the wing levers felt incredibly responsive.

Then, I turned on the Bird VR game.

nintendo labo vr review kits

Immediately, I was transported into a Breath of the Wild-like world. I had a smile planted firmly on my face, and I was ever so excited to be flying in a way that felt real. On top of that, there are pinwheel and pump Wind Pedal additions that further immerse you in the sky soaring VR experience. It was all breathtaking, and sold me on not only the functionality of the Nintendo Labo cardboard kits, but also on Nintendo’s VR capabilities.

Cardboard and rubber bands make for an awkward combo

After the Bird VR Toy-Con, I built the Elephant Toy-Con. This kit left a lot to be desired. It was clunky, and didn’t feel anywhere near as responsive as the Bird Toy-Con did.

nintendo labo review kit contents

That’s a shame because I was eager to have another immersive experience in Nintendo’s Labo VR line. Unfortunately, the awkward construction of the Elephant Toy-Con prevented me from experiencing the full wonder of the Elephant’s games.

The vanilla VR games didn’t have anything to really draw my attention, but that’s not to say they weren’t well-made. Everything I tried out was cute, and had a fun concept, but many could be experienced in seconds to get the gist of what they were about.

Room to grow

It seems a bit silly that the Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild free VR DLC updates weren’t available for the launch of the Nintendo Labo VR kit. Those two games would have carried over their expertise in game design over to the somewhat lackluster VR games that come bundled with the Labo VR kit, perhaps making this kit feel more worth it.

There isn’t much to bring you back to the VR games in this Nintendo Labo bundle. You can re-experience the joy and wonder of flying through candy-colored skies via someone else, but once the splendor effect has worn off, you won’t find much reason to return to the world of Nintendo’s VR.

nintendo labo vr review toycons

The Nintendo Labo VR kit is a relatively affordable means of experiencing virtual reality, but I don’t see this rivaling the Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR headset. The VR tech lies within the Nintendo Switch, and the VR Goggle Toy-Con could be versatile enough to spread over to other Nintendo video games.

However, the likelihood of games other than Mario and Zelda using this VR is slim. This is going to go down in the books as one of Nintendo’s more obscure tech ventures, not unlike the failed 1995 Virtual Boy. It should make for a good parent-child bonding moment, and is even entertaining enough for an adult to build on their own, given you have enough patience to get to the fun part.

nintendo labo vr review goggles

Technical tidbits FAQ

Can I wear my eyeglasses with Nintendo Labo VR?

Yes, and you should, if you usually wear them. I found that my nearsightedness made it very difficult to see the Switch’s screen without them. The VR Goggles Toy-Con fit comfortably on my face, even when I was wearing my glasses.

Is this a good gift for kids?

Yes. Work with kids to help them build these simple but time-consuming kits (expect most to take anywhere near 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete). Be careful to teach kids to heed the saftey warnings about not looking into bright lights while wearing the goggles, and to also not leave them in a place where sunlight could funnel through the goggles, potentially lighting a fire.

Is it worth it to buy the VR Starter Set or the full VR Kit?

Both come with the required Switch cart needed to run the VR games on your Switch. If you have the patience and means to purchase the full kit, I would say to go for the full set. The blaster is great, but the entire experience will be over once you’ve made it.

Our Score

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