Parents' Guide to

Nintendo Labo Toy-Con VR Kit

By Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Cardboard crafting meets fun virtual reality experiences.

Game Nintendo Switch 2019
Nintendo Labo Toy-Con VR Kit Poster Image

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The newest VR kit for young gamers proves that you don’t need to have a super-powered PC or headset to have an engaging virtual experience. Like the other Labo kits, the strength of the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con VR Kit is grounded in the peripherals that you construct from sheets of cardboard. The key one is the VR goggle headset, which is quick to fold together and has a surprisingly good set of lenses to reproduce VR effects. This is vital, because unlike the other Labo kits, you can’t dock the Switch and experience the VR on a TV; you have to use the goggles in the headset to explore this environment. Compared to other low powered VR headsets (like the swarm of Google Cardboard knockoffs that hit the market a few years ago), these lenses powerfully amplify the content from the Switch well. There are moments where the depth can feel a bit off when you’re trying to focus on objects on the edges of your vision, especially if you’re sitting down, but for the most part, it’s impressive. This is reinforced by the peripherals, which maintain Labo’s legacy of solidly built controllers that can withstand a lot of play for multiple hours without feeling like they’re going to fall apart. The blaster is a particular standout because cocking the gun and firing it with one button press feels better than some devices that are more expensive on other systems.

Like the other Labo kits, the main play experience tries to highlight the strengths of each controller. Most of the games are quite good, such as the camera "games" where you photograph fish or aliens -- the zooming in and out has a great tactile feel thanks to a click wheel embedded in the device. What’s also great about the VR Kit is that when you get tired of these games, you can check out the VR Plaza that has more than 60 mini-games that show off what the peripherals can do as well. Players that have a creative side can dive into the included VR Garage and either edit these games or make your own. That helps to really extend the life of this VR pack farther than the first two Labo packs. If there's a negative, it’s that there’s no strap to help players, particularly younger ones, hold the device. If you have a young kid with small hands, trying to hold the goggles or a peripheral with the Switch inserted for a long time can be tiring for them. While it might be possible to modify your Labo to include straps, this is one of those things that Nintendo really missed on. Fortunately, the game does try to remind you to take breaks frequently so you don’t get too tired, but it’s something to pay attention to for little gamers. This issue aside, if you’ve been on the fence about VR gaming, you may want to give the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con VR Kit a try -- it may turn you into both a Labo and a VR fan.

Game Details

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Subjects: Language & Reading : following directions, reading, reading comprehension, Hobbies : building, sports
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning : decision-making, problem solving, solving puzzles, spatial reasoning, Creativity : brainstorming, combining knowledge, imagination, innovation, making new creations, producing new content, Tech Skills : coding, using and applying technology
  • Pricing structure: Paid (Full kit is $79.99. Parents can also purchase a starter kit for $39.99 and get expansion kits for $19.99.)
  • Available online?: Not available online
  • Publisher: Nintendo of America
  • Release date: April 12, 2019
  • Genre: Mini-games
  • Topics: STEM , Space and Aliens
  • ESRB rating: E for Comic Mischief
  • Last updated: April 29, 2021

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