Nintendo Labo VR Kit: Blaster

The final thing you can build in the Labo VR Kit is the Blaster.  It’s the most complicated thing you can build in the set.  In fact, Nintendo even made a version where you just build the goggles and blaster only.  So let’s take a look and see what it does!

My brother Jeff helped me build these, and he said that the blaster was complicated enough that he still doesn’t know totally how it works, and he built it!  After playing the games, I think I can at least describe how it works in very simple terms.  I imagine some parents may not like the fact that you are building a gun, but it doesn’t really feel like you are firing a real gun.  It’s more like you’re shooting a cartoony bazooka, or one of those T-shirt guns you see at sporting events.  And in the games you’re only shooting colored shapes at silly one eyed aliens, or feeding hippos by shooting fruit.

One of the JoyCons sits in the barrel of the blaster.  You can pull back a lever to cock the blaster, like you’re pumping a Super Soaker.  There is a button on the back on the handle that you use to shoot after you’ve cocked the blaster.  So it’s not even like you’re pulling a trigger.  The JoyCon in the barrel reads reflective stickers inside to know when you cocked and shot something.  Rubber bands snap things back after you shoot so you feel a little force feedback.  You sit the goggles on top of the blaster and put the other JoyCon near it and you can turn it to do various things, which we’ll go over later.  Here is a larger picture of the blaster.


The first game doesn’t have an original name, but you use the blaster like a turret on a tank, and shoot little one eyed aliens in a 3-D city area.  You can tilt the left JoyCon to stop time, but you can only use that for a short while.  You can get a higher score by shooting multiple aliens with one shot.  There are quite a few stages, too, with several rounds each.  When you shoot an alien, they just get tossed away, so it’s not too terribly violent.  The whole thing reminds me of Point Blank, which I think would make an excellent VR game.


The next game you can play with the blaster has an even less descriptive name.  If I were to name it, I would call it Hungry, Hungry Hippos Tactics, as it plays like that classic board game with some strategy.  It’s a two player game, where each player hands the blaster off to the other when it’s their turn, but you can also have fun playing it by yourself to get the hang of things.  I do wish they could’ve added a single player mode, as I think it would be easy to do.

Anyway, so a bunch of hippos are in a pool, and there is a red side and a blue side.  When it’s your turn, you must shoot fruit at a hippo to feed it and make it swim toward your side.  Whoever has more hippos on their side after a certain number of rounds, wins.  To feed a hippo, you must first cock the blaster so it sucks in a fruit hanging from above.  Then fire the fruit at a hippo with an open mouth, and if it connects, the hippo will swim to your side.

There are a bunch of strategies you can use to get the most of your hippo feeding.  Different fruits do various things when you shoot them.  Apples just go straight and feed one hippo.  Watermelons sail in an arc, and in the air you can press the fire button again to make them split into slices, possibly feeding more hippos.  Grapes are like a spread shot, and there are even more fruits to try.  Tilt the JoyCon near the goggles to see what fruits are the hippos’ favorites, and if you can feed them one, they’ll swim to your side faster.  Combine this with shooting at faraway hippos, and they may push other hippos into your side as well.  You can even use a fruit to shoot at a coconut tree, making coconuts fall that can feed more hippos.  Press the trigger button after firing to whistle at the hippos to get their attention.  There are even more strategies than that, too!  And I love how when the game ends, the text on the screen says, “It’s All Hippover!”  Overall, it’s a really fun game and I liked it a lot.

And that’s all I can say about the Blaster.  You can play some more little games in the VR Plaza, but I won’t go into those.  And so ends our series on the Nintendo Labo VR Kit.  Stay tuned later this week for a bonus Labo article and my VR Kit Wrap Up!  Later!  –Cary

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