We bought the Labo VR starter kit over the weekend.  This includes only the goggles and the blaster, which we constructet in little under 3 hours.  As ever, the cardboard constructions are impressively robust and ingenious.  The switch fits neatly into the goggles, secured by some foam bits that prevent it from sliding out, but still allow you to comfortably place or take out the switch itself.  The goggles then fit snuggly into the blaster, with a piece of cardboard you twist in place to secure the whole thing.  The blaster itself is pretty elaborate, with a shotgun like loading mechanism and even backfire as you shoot.  This is achieved through a large piece of cardboard that gets pushed back by the loading mechanism and let loose when you press the fire button, where it then hurtles forward, with the aid of 2 rubber bands, to collide with the blaster.  It's a very neat system that adds a lot to the overall package, with the typical Nintendo flourishes like an extra small cardboard fin that is used as a tell so bystanders can see if the gun is loaded or not.  My only gripe here is that it provides force feedback in the wrong direction, namely away from you.  On the other hand, as there is no foam to rest your face against provided with the goggles, perhaps this is for the best.

Which brings us to the goggles themselves.  Like I said: there is no foam for added comfort.  Your head rests solely against a small bit of hard plastic.  Since the whole thing isn't being constantly pressed to your face by rubber bands I don't find this to be an issue.  I even prefer it as I shudder a the thought of all the dirt and sweat build up you'd get within the foam bits you find in VR headsets.  The cardboard goggles are wide enough to accomodate glasses and are concave in such a way that the sharp cardboard doesn't come in contact with your face.  The lenses are large but non adjustable.  Things like the volume rocker and headphone slot are still reachable through cutouts, but oddly enough the power button doesn't receive the same treatment, meaning you can't turn the Switch on if it's in the goggles.  Selecting things in the software is done through looking at them and double tapping the top right corner of the goggles (assuming you're not also using joycons or a cardboard prop with some form of button on it like the blaster)

The software is of typical Nintendo quality, with event he folding manual being very charming, as the accompanying text makes a lot of remarks on the pieces you're folding, like how some pieces look like racoons, or robots, after which it'll tell you to fold their feet and so on.  The blaster games are simple shooting gallery stuff with a few bosses thrown in.  Image quality is pretty good, thanks to a reliance on simple shapes and clear colour pallettes.  Of course things get blurry when they're a bit farther off, but as there's not much in the form of finer detail, it's not much of a hindrance.  When you move your head around, things get blurry fast, although I'm not sure if this is due to technical shortcoming or if it's an implementation to reduce nausea.  Speaking of which, I haven't perceived any nausea during my limited time playing, but my wife will play for about 3 short games and then call it quits.

Overall it's a nice well rounded package.  Sure, it's no true VR, but the effect is pretty convincing, with a real feeling of belonging.  The cardboard props alleviate this beyond what can be done with something like a Google Cardboard.  We haven't dabbled with the game creator bit yet, which I'm sure will add a lot of longevity to the package.  I'm also very happy that there is the option to buy in to a 'base model' with the other toycons spread over 2 extra packs.  The fact that buying all 3 sets is barely more expensive than buying them all at once is also nice.  I would have liked it if the actual software were available as a download as well, as having to shift cartridges between Labo packs is a detriment to the pick up and play nature implied by the cardboard toys.

Posted by SupremeAC Tue, 11 Jun 2019 08:45:31 (comments: 7)
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