Tuesday 17 September 2019

Nintendo Labo VR Kit review: Cardboard classic

Switch ★★★★★ Age: 7+

Nintendo Labo VR Kit
Nintendo Labo VR Kit
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Pioneering as always, Nintendo jumped into virtual reality in 1995 long before its resurgence in recent years. But its Virtual Boy headset was fairly rubbish and flopped unceremoniously back then.

More than two decades later, Nintendo proves VR can be done right with nothing more than a few bits of cardboard and a handful of rubber bands (oh all right, and the €320 Switch console). Remarkably, it's a system that can hold its own versus set-ups costing hundreds of euro more.

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But you don't really play Labo for the games themselves. Instead, you (or your offspring, mostly likely) derive pleasure in assembling complex gadgets origami-style from flat cardboard. Like the delightful kits before it, this latest in the Bafta-winning Labo series melds Lego with Ikea as clear instructions (um, so not like Ikea then) help you fold, tuck and build objects as a diverse as a camera, windmill, bird and elephant.

It would be foolish to claim the results are idiot-proof or even that the gadgets end up robust. But the VR effect using the Switch screen linked to the gadgets feels utterly impressive. The bundled games are particularly simplistic this time round but the real fun lies in creating your own little experiences with rudimentary coding.

Silly but clever, crude yet sophisticated, the Labo VR Kit shouldn't work but yet again shows Nintendo understands games and play better than anyone.

Hypnospace Outlaw

PC/Mac ★★★★★ Age: 15+

Hypno.jpg

Back in the 90s, the web was a painful place. Slow, unprofessional and littered with crimes against design. With a knowing wink, Hypnospace Outlaw transports us back to those innocent times via an interface pastiche that echoes GeoCities, AOL and MySpace (look 'em up, kids!).

But beneath that patina of tinkly tunes, garish graphics and blinking text sits a surreal storyline where Hypnospace connects to users' brain via a headband while they're asleep. Acting as a moderator chasing down a mystery, you trawl through this hilarious alternative web space, hunting for clues amid the fan pages, conspiracy theories and the downright insanity.

It's both madder and funnier than it sounds, more than a nostalgia trip and wholly entertaining so long as you've got the patience.

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