Nintendo Labo Fishing Rod

The next thing we’ll look at that you can build in the Nintendo Labo Variety Kit is the Fishing Rod.  It works very well and you can even play a little fishing game with it.  No bait and tackle needed!  So is it a keeper or will you throw it back?  Let’s find out!

You build the fishing rod in sections.  The rod part can extend and retract, which doesn’t really serve much purpose.  You’ll actually use more than just cardboard to build it, too, as you’ll attach string held by washers and grommets (included with the package).  The string does serve a purpose, believe it or not, which we’ll get to in a minute.  You’ll also build a handle and a reel.  The neat thing about the reel is that you’ll put a little piece of cardboard inside that clicks when you turn the crank, giving you a bit of force feedback (kind of like putting a baseball card on a bike tire spoke).  The Labo kit even comes with a second one of these clickers in case you need to replace the first one if it breaks due to wear and tear from extended use.

The other main thing you build is a holder for your Switch screen.  The game calls it “Building the Ocean,” which cracked me up.  But inside the holder is another item you build.  Inside is a spool where you wind the rest of the string and attach rubber bands that’ll pull it back on its own.  Why would you do this?  Well, it provides a little bit of tension and feedback while you reel in.  I’m surprised how analog this controller is.  It makes me wonder if other special controllers, be it on a home console or in an arcade, use as much analog tech for force feedback.

After it’s all built, you can play a little fishing game with it.  You’ll wind the reel in the opposite direction to cast, which isn’t very realistic, but the rest of the experience is better.  The deeper you go, the bigger fish you can catch, but they’ll be harder to reel in.  Wiggle the line around to attract a fish, and when it bites, pull up quick to set the hook.  Then you can reel it in.  If the fish swims left or right, pull the rod accordingly so you don’t break the line.  Once out of the water, give one last tug to catch it.  The Switch JoyCons are set inside the handle and reel, and can sense when you reel in and pull left, right, and up.  You can catch three fish at once, and the game will tally your score based on size.  You can also view the fish you’ve caught in an aquarium, and even create your own fish using the Labo Piano somehow (we’ll get to that later when talking about the Piano).

The only problem I have is there’s not much to the fishing game.  And the sad thing is that Nintendo could’ve easily added some features to give the fishing game some more replay value.  How about adding different locations to fish in?  Or different modes like a time attack where you try to catch as many fish in a certain amount of time?  Those kinds of ideas would’ve been easy to implement, and would’ve given this toy much more staying power.  So while I am impressed with the technology behind building the fishing rod, the game you play with it could’ve used a bit more work.  Tune in next week when we’ll take a look inside the Nintendo Labo House!  –Cary

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