NINTENDO LABO: VEHICLE KIT
Nintendo Labo has quickly come to release its 3rd kit in only 8 months since its announcement. The series of kooky cardboard creations were met with mixed reactions with praise and criticism. When the new Vehicle Kit was announced a couple of months ago, there was much more promise then seen in the original Variety Kit and Robot Kit. While Labo related content has never gone over so well here at Fanatix Four, I was nevertheless excited to get the chance to review the Vehicle Kit.
The Nintendo Labo 03: Vehicle Kit comes equipped with a new outlook on how it can fit into the larger Nintendo Switch ecosystem. The Variety Kit was lauded as an interesting concept but severely lacking software support. Most of the games seemed unfinished and incomplete more like a proof of concept than anything else. The Robot Kit was more of the same, reusing old concepts from a Wii U demo called Project Giant Robot. It still felt as though the game was only an afterthought to the cardboard accessories. Nintendo attempted to help by opening support for the Motorcycle Toy-Con found in the Variety Kit with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch. It was honestly an inspired idea. Even I who was originally skeptical of the Labo series was looking for ways to get my hands on the Motorcycle Toy-Con. It wasn’t long after that Nintendo announced the Vehicle Kit and that it would also have support with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The Vehicle Kit doesn’t use Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as a crutch though. This time around, the new Labo kit comes with a much more robust game accompanying it. But before we get to that, let’s talk about the hardware.
” I couldn’t praise the inventiveness involved enough.”
The Labo Vehicle Kit comes with three main Toy-Con kits; Steering Wheel, Submarine, and Plane. The Steering Wheel is by far the hardest taking over two hours to finish but the other two will take at least 30 minutes to an hour to finish. I was amazed at the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the designers involved here. I’m a big fan of model kits and have an avid Gunpla builder for the last decade or so. The kits here are playful and fun yet complex. Those who love to build things such as Lego, Erector, Knex or model kit should find enjoyment in the engineering involved inside these kits. I couldn’t praise the inventiveness involved enough. The functionality the people at Nintendo were able to get out of “plain old” cardboard is truly outstanding. Sadly that’s where the praise for this comes to an end.
Just like last time, the software is still the weakest link for Labo. Don’t get it twisted, the included game is more “full-featured” than anything included with the Variety Kit or Robot Kit earlier this year. While the Variety Kit was plagued by its own indecisiveness. The Vehicle Kit fixes this by trying to condense the different kits into a single game. The game has you traverse around a set of regions in an all-terrain buggy, submarine or plane. The plane acts similar to Nintendo’s popular Pilotwings franchise. While Pilotwings resort was the last entry in the franchise, the Labo Vehicle Kit is a promising spiritual successor. Sadly, the game doesn’t offer much in the sense of accomplishment or replayability. The controls are tight and the gameplay itself is well designed. I can’t honestly find any faults in the game itself in those regards but the game does little to excite me to play it again. It’s a great concept and it plays well but it once again is just too little. It is a step in the right direction but it is just not enough. I can already see the Toy-Con being regulated to the top shelf in my closet with little reason to pull them down.
While the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit is definitely a step in the right direction, Nintendo still falters on delivering captivating software to bundle alongside its inventive cardboard offerings leaving users bored and unfulfilled.
PRODUCT PROVIDED BY NINTENDO