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Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 03: Vehicle Kit

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 28 - 2018

Paper cuts and burning rubber.

Those delightfully creative people over at Nintendo just take an idea and run with it. Not content with having us spend hours slotting pieces of card together to create the likes of pianos, houses and giant robot suits, the latest entry in the Labo line up is one for the petrol heads. The Toy-Con 03: Vehicle Kit will give the user three different vehicle controls, and hours of folding card before the fun even starts.

lvk1 (Copy)

Although, it should be said that a large part of the fun with Labo should be coming from the construction of the interactive models. With a younger audience in mind, Nintendo want the Labo kits to be about the journey as much as the actual destination of playing games with the interactive models, and for the target audience, the marvel of putting together these complex constructions and being able to see how they work, which is some form of magic I am sure, is where much of the fun would be. Add to this the ways in which Nintendo encourage customisation and experimentation, and it becomes an art and craft sessions much more than just playing video games.

For the less wide eyed though, putting together the models can be really hard work. With the Vehicle kit, the user will only get three large models to build, each representing a different vehicle, but will still be looking at as much as eight hours of folding and tucking. That’s a lot of work for someone who is only interested in playing a game. Grab a small person, and it becomes much more interesting though.

So, this time around we have a steering wheel to control a car, a flight stick for a plane, and a submarine control for a, um, submarine. There are also a couple of other items, including a pedal and the all important key. The most complex item to create is the steering wheel, which is an absolute marvel of design. As you put the model together, you can see how it all works, but it still really amazes when it is actually finished and works. Not just a plain steering wheel, which would have been cool in itself, this model includes a slot for the key which controls all of the models, along with a pull handle and a couple of levers with twisty knobs. The other two main models are equally as impressive, but not quite as complex. The flight stick is just that, while the submarine control uses two wheels and is much more sedate. Still, to fully enjoy the included game, players will need to get everything built first, so better get folding.

lvk2 (Copy)

As with the previous sets, there are full, interactive instructions to the construction that present themselves on the Switch. Users are able to fast forward or rewind through the instructions, and even pause them when they get tired. In fact, the instructions will often suggest taking a break from the building, seemingly knowing that they are asking a lot for the builder. The instructions are great, and often entertaining in themselves, attempting to add some levity to the chore of building for those who would rather be elsewhere.

It may take a while, but once the models are done, the player can enjoy what is easily the most entertaining Labo offering so far. While the Variety Kit offered a large number of mini games that had very little longevity, and the Robot Kit was more focussed but had limited gameplay, the Vehicle Kit offers a much more solid gaming experience, headed up by an adventure mode that includes a nice sized open world to explore.

How the player explores in adventure mode is entirely up to them. They have the freedom to drive, fly or swim around using the different controllers, and find all sorts of different things to do. Swapping from one vehicle to another is just a matter of putting the key in, and aside from having to stop for fuel occasionally, there is really no limit to where the player goes. Different gadgets on the car, which are operated through the various knobs and levers, give rise to different games to play, and there are a good few hours of exploration and discovery to be found, offering a great pay off to even the most miserable cardboard folder.

lvk3 (Copy)

Don’t be expecting AAA level open world gaming though. The game itself still targets younger players. But there is a lot of fun to be had by cutting down trees with a giant saw attached to the car, or collecting underwater treasure. The vehicles are great to use, with the car feeling not too dissimilar to driving a real car. The plane takes a little getting used to, but is relatively simple. The submarine is a much more relaxed experience, and perhaps the trickiest to control, but still works well.

Aside from the adventure mode, there are a host of other distractions to keep players entertained. Things like rally races or slot car races are all great fun, as are battles, but there are obvious limitations to the amount of fun in these modes. Multiplayer will, for the most part, require multiple controllers, which is fine if you know of others who have picked up the Vehicle Kit. Otherwise, it will require some genius level use of spare cardboard and other bits and pieces to construct new controllers, and then it will still need another Joy-Con. The multiplayer modes are a cool addition, but I fear most players will never even be able to use them.

When you combine the joy of construction with the more polished and complete gaming experience, the Vehicle Kit is a great new entry in the Labo range. However, and I cannot under emphasise this, the models are big. The cardboard is sturdier than anyone would have imagined, making them quite durable, but that doesn’t help with the storage. Anyone who has already picked up the first two kits will know how bulky they are to store, and this kit will only add to the problem. Labo fans may need to consider moving house and dedicating a spare room to their cardboard collection before long.

lvk5 (Copy)

Once again, Nintendo have produced something that is aimed at a very distinct audience. The game side of the Vehicle Kit is quite impressive and, while not comparable to stand alone games, can offer hours of entertainment. The model making is, as with the other kits, long and tedious, or exciting and magical depending on your point of view. For parents and kids, this is a project that can span a few rainy afternoons with a great pay off. For gamers, there is not so much here. Pick up the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 03: Vehicle Kit to entertain the little ones.




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