Nintendo’s previously-announced experimental VR support for two of their finest Switch titles is now live.
A couple of weeks ago VG247 took a look at Nintendo Labo VR and concluded it was one of the most satisfying virtual reality gaming experiences available right now. It’s cheap, cheerful and silly – but given VR has really struggled to elevate itself beyond a fun gimmick no matter the platform, that works well for what it is.
Today, Nintendo launches some bonus content for owners of both the Labo VR kit and two of the best Nintendo Switch games – Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Both are getting VR support, though in very different ways.
The latest update to Super Mario Odyssey (that’s version 1.3.0) adds an entirely separate VR mode to the main menu, and rather than letting you play the entire game in VR this instead features three special VR journeys to the Cap, Seaside and Luncheon Kingdoms you will have explored in the main adventure. This experience is fairly short – you can likely polish it off in under an hour – but it’s a solid little proof-of-concept for 3D Mario play in a virtual reality setting.
The update for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (version 1.6.0) is more significant, however. Through a new menu option VR can now be enabled across the entire game – meaning you can take a virtual reality journey through its vision of a sprawling, ruined Hyrule.
To be clear, this isn’t a first-person mode. Rather, you’ll have a VR viewpoint of Breath of the Wild as it usually appears on a TV, complete with some fairly unique camera controls. This one seems far more experimental and curious – and from the very brief look at it we’ve had, performance is all over the place, as is currently being well-documented on YouTube – but it’s a fun distraction and novelty addition to any Labo VR purchase if nothing else.
It perhaps makes clear that if Nintendo really want to pursue VR modes for this and future games like it, more powerful Switch hardware might be required sooner rather than later – though Nintendo has now said that won’t come at E3, at least.
To be honest neither update seems like it’s going to be a major reason to replay these games – not that these games, especially Breath of the Wild, don’t come with plenty of built-in excuses to replay – they’re merely gimmicks, a proof of concept for future development. To that end they’re worth a look.
If you want to try out Link and Mario’s adventures in VR, the patches are out now – just perform the update process through the Switch dashboard as normal.