‘Nintendo Labo — ToyCon 3: Vehicle Kit’ finally gets into the gameplay
THE irst “NIntEnDo LABo” kIts relied heavily on the novelty of making toys and the joy of discovering what they can do. When it comes to the play aspect of “Toy-Con 1: Variety Kit” and “Toy-Con 2: Robot Kit,” the games were more like tech demos rAtHEr tHAn Full-lEDGED ExpErIEnCEs. They showed the potential for play, but the games offered were short and shallow.
For “Nintendo Labo — Toy-Con 3,” the video game maker turned to something both accessible and compelling _ vehicles. With this iteration, making the toy-cons takes a backseat to playing with them.
The heart of that experience lies in two toy-cons. One is the key and the other is the pedal. Both are needed to operate the three vehicles that players must create: the car, the submarine and the plane.
Of the three, the car is the most DIFiCult to put toGEtHEr, wItH sEvEn steps that include multiple rubber bands, grommets and a string. The process takes about four hours or so. The submarine takes less time and is easier while the joystick for the plane Is A BrEEzE AnD CAn BE inIsHED unDEr 90 minutes.
The magic of the design lies in the key, which is what houses the right Joy-Con that has the infrared sensor. Players insert it into each of the rides to make it work, just like with real vehicles. The sensor reads tHE rElECtIvE tApE InsIDE EACH toycon and interprets the motion of the controller.
The other part of the equation is the pedal, which houses the left Joy-Con. It works like the real-life counterpart: pressing down on the pedal with the foot makes vehicles move forward. Letting up slows the vehicle down until it stops.
When the pedal is combined with the key and vehicle it creates the convincing feel of piloting a vehicle. Tilting the joystick left and right banks the plane in that direction. “Nintendo Labo — Toy-Con 3: Vehicle Kit” doesn’t make flying too complicated, so don’t expect to do loop-de-loops or Immelmann turns. Flying is natural, easy and the best way to explore the world quickly.
The submarine is more unusual, with the pedal propelling the vessel. Steering involves twisting the wheels on each side to rotate thrusters. It takes A wHIlE to iGurE out How to ExACtly control the vehicle, but that’s part of the magic in “Toy-Con 3: Vehicle Kit.” Mastering the novelty of the controls is a huge part of the fun.
Thecarisbyfarthemostcomplicated ride, with two levers each on the left and right that control a rotator saw, bombs — for removing obstacles — the radio and the fuel hoses. It also has a simple gear shift that puts the car in reverse. Lastly, it has a drawstring that activates a boost.
Players must switch back and forth among these three vehicles in the main mode of “Toy-Con 3: Vehicle Kit.” It’s essentially an open-world exploration game, in which players explore 10 distinct districts. They can ly, DIvE or DrIvE ArounD tHE worlD, but players have to keep in mind that they need fuel for their vehicle.