Cheer­ful jour­ney

‘Nin­tendo Labo — ToyCon 3: Ve­hi­cle Kit’ fi­nally gets into the game­play

The Gulf Today - Time Out - - BUDS & BLOSSOMS - Gieson Ca­cho/Tri­bune News Ser­vice

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.

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