Nintendo Labo Motorcycle Handlebars

VROOM! VROOM!  The next Nintendo Labo creation is a set of motorcycle handlebars.  Once you build them, you can play motorcycle racing and stunt games.  Let’s take them for a test drive.

In the middle of the handlebars houses the Switch screen, and the handles hold the left and right JoyCons.  There are buttons you build that press buttons on the inside where the JoyCons are.  The left button honks the horn, and the right button starts the engine.  Accelerate by twisting the right handle, and brake with the top lever.  Steer by tilting the whole thing left and right.  You can even power slide like how you do in Mario Kart or Ridge Racer.  At first I thought the big protrusion coming out from the bottom was a counterweight, but you actually put that against your belly while you play. Here is a picture of the whole thing.

And here’s another shot of the front.  You even build a headlight for the front, but it doesn’t do anything.

After you build you can choose to do circuit racing or stadium.  In circuit you choose from a set of beginner, intermediate, or advanced tracks and race against other bikers to become first.  You can run over boost bottles or get behind another player for a burst of speed.  In the stadium mode you try to pop balloons on a stadium full of raised hills and valleys.  The cool thing is you can create your own tracks and stadiums, and there are little extra things you can build to make those activities more fun, supposedly.

The first thing you can build is a mini-bike, which houses the JoyCon controller.  It’s just cosmetic, really, but it does look cute.  You’re supposed to use this to create your own tracks, but you can also use the full handlebars as well.  You can drive around to make a road, and raise and lower the level and many other things.  Only problem is it’s really hard to figure out how to do it.  They explain it a little bit in Discover Mode, but not enough to understand it once you try it yourself.  It was so confusing to make tracks I didn’t even finish mine.  That’s the one big problem I with this this Labo set.

The other thing you can do is make your own stadium with hills and valleys using the IR camera on the right JoyCon. This one works much better.  I scanned my Pac-Man amiibo and it created a pretty good looking Pac-Man shaped mountain to drive around on.  The object you build looks like a camera and helps keep the JoyCon steady.

And that’s really all there is to it.  Although I can’t help but think Nintendo had some missed opportunities with this.  The motorcycle racing game is fun, but a little generic, and the announcer voice is totally incoherent and unrecognizable.  With a change in graphics and style, they could’ve changed it to an Excitebike themed area with more jumps and music and such.

You know what other game that these handlebars made me think of?  Anyone remember the arcade game Paperboy?  (now there’s an obsolete job)   Anyway, the arcade version of Paperboy had a bike handbar on the arcade cabinet that you could use to control the character.  Wouldn’t it be cool if Paperboy came to the Switch and could use the Labo handlebars as a controller?  I think it would be the first time that authentic arcade game controls for Paperboy would’ve been on a home console version!  Anyway, last up for the Nintendo Variety Kit is the piano.  Stay ‘tuned!’  –Cary

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