Nintendo bringing VR modes to Mario and Zelda on Switch
Two of the biggest game franchises ever will soon be playable in VR. Nintendo has quietly announced that two of the Switch's best games, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, will get new modes to make them compatible with the upcoming Labo VR Kit.
The VR Kit is the latest construction kit in Nintendo's Labo lineup. Along with a plastic-and-glass VR headset, the bundle contains sheets of cardboard that can be pressed out, folded and slotted together into various accessories like an elephant's trunk, a flapping bird, a camera and a blaster. The Switch console and controllers then bring them to life, to play the 60 or so included games.
When the VR Kit was first announced last month, we pointed out the "exciting possibility that existing Switch games could get VR modes in the future," and now it seems we didn't have to wait long at all for that prediction to come true. Pulling no punches, Nintendo jumped straight in with Mario and Zelda, inarguably the console's biggest titles.
Super Mario Odyssey's VR mode will take the form of three new mini-missions, where Mario is tasked with collecting a bunch of music notes and coins under a time limit. The Zelda VR mode looks a bit meatier – from what we can tell, the entire game (with the exception of pre-rendered cutscenes) appears to be VR-compatible, toggled by a new option in the settings menu.
In both cases, the game is still played from a third-person perspective. That might seem odd for VR, but it has worked well in the past, with games like Astro Bot Rescue Mission on PlayStation VR.
These modes might not keep your interest for too long, but it's still interesting to see Nintendo adding extra value to the Labo VR Kit. We can't help but wonder which other Switch games could benefit from the tech. First-person Mario Kart? Animal Crossing where it feels like you're looming over your village? It could even just add depth to side-scrollers like Yoshi or Donkey Kong.
The VR modes will be available as free downloadable updates to each game on April 26. The Labo VR Kit is due to launch on April 12, for US$79.99.