Whether you love or hate cardboard peripherals, Nintendo remains dedicated to its Nintendo Labo line of crafting-cross-video games products. It remains a unique approach in the games industry a year on from its debut, and with Nintendo Labo VR on the horizon, it looks like we’ll have a closet full of cardboard until the end of time.
Labo VR is Nintendo’s first foray into developing games built for virtual reality, and there are good reasons to be excited about that. Well, four at least. You can poke holes in Nintendo’s plan to bring VR to the Switch, but even with some valid concerns, it’s hard not to eagerly anticipate seeing it all in action. Here are four reasons you should be excited for Nintendo Labo VR.
Nintendo-made VR games
This is the most obvious reason. Nintendo’s studios are some of the most talented game developers and designers in the world, and is something the company has proven time and time again. Seeing what they could potentially do with VR is a fascinating prospect.
Nintendo always creates software that complements their hardware, and for proof of that, you need to look no further than the creative games they made for the Nintendo DS, or even ARMS on the Nintendo Switch. VR is a brave new world for the company, and it’s tantalizing thinking about what gaming experiences they could create.
Based on what we’ve seen from the Nintendo Labo VR imagery, it looks like each cardboard kit will be home to its own gaming experience, but what that could be is up to the imagination at this point. The one shaped like a bird could be a flying game, while the elephant ToyCon appears to let you control its trunk. We can only speculate for now and wait to see the games in action for ourselves.
Inventive JoyCon uses
The Nintendo Labo kits thus far have made full use of the JoyCon. Each kit has made inventive use of the JoyCon’s IR camera, HD Rumble, and gyroscopic capabilities, in addition to the buttons being pressed with cardboard handles and the like.
The images we’ve seen so far suggest that the JoyCon will continue to be used in weird and wonderful ways. A left JoyCon — with an IR camera — is inserted into a bazooka in one ToyCon. The aforementioned elephant ToyCon’s face has multiple IR reflective stickers covering it, giving the IR camera an accurate indication of where the player is.
It’s still unclear how these fun contraptions actually translate into gaming experiences. But with a unique ToyCon for each game, it seems safe to say that each experience will be unique in how you play, proving how versatile the JoyCon really are.
This is an easily forgotten part of the Nintendo Labo experience if you just stick to the ToyCon you make, but it’s no less essential. The ToyCon Garage allows you to craft your own simplistic game experiences, complete with basic graphics and sound effects.
You can even fashion yourself an instrument out of it since the software is fairly robust. With basic knowledge on how it works, you could even challenge friends to a miniature game jam and see what you can create. And with Nintendo Labo VR, the possibilities of ToyCon Garage have opened up considerably.
That is if Nintendo adapts the ToyCon Garage software for their VR kits. Thus far, Nintendo has shipped the same ToyCon Garage software with each Labo kit, which has been fine for the existing ToyCon, but a different approach is required or VR. The question is, will Nintendo give its ToyCon Garage an overhaul so players can make basic VR games, or will it continue to be the same as always? Let’s hope it’s the former.
Compatibility with other games
It took a while, but after release, Nintendo updated Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with ToyCon compatibility. This means that you can race around on Mario Kart tracks while using the steering wheel from the Labo Vehicle Kit. It’s a tiny thing, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to the longevity of Nintendo Labo. Now apply that to other Switch games and throw VR into the mix.
The most obvious one is Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. It’s getting DLC soon, and the puzzle box design the game champions is perfect for VR as you could peer around the box and solve puzzles with the new perspectives. Just a handful of VR compatible levels would be incredible for this.
That seems within the realm of possibility, but what if we were to shoot even higher? A playable first-person Metroid mission would blow fans away and completely forgive the wait for Metroid Prime 4. Even a Zelda shooting gallery game, in the same vein as Link’s Crossbow Training, would put a smile of the faces of fans everywhere. There are a ton of possibilities, but what we all want to see most is Nintendo Land VR. Get on it, Nintendo.