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    • Sony announced its Playstation Classic today and somewhat surprisingly I have been reading some threads of people who are not at all excited by this. Now, I am a Playstation man, through and through, so my opinion may be somewhat biased, but overall I really like the idea of the retro mini console and having it stocked with games. Older consoles, controllers, and especially game carts and discs become worn and useless as time goes on. Experiencing older games on a crisp new screen with responsive brand new controllers sounds great to most of us, but to many it will never live up to the original experience of untangling the controller cords, blowing the dust from your cartridge and switching the TV input over to RGB. I totally see both sides of the argument and I think that these retro consoles are not for everyone. I had serious plans to purchase the SNES Classic but never got around to it and now it seems as though many of those games I would've bought it for will end up on the Switch at some point anyways. Even the PS Classic is kind of lost on me now considering Final Fantasy 7, 8, 9, 10, 10-2, and 12 will all be out on the Switch soon. So what do you all think?
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    • Hello fellow Radarians! It has been a while since I have posted anything new so I figured.... I would do exactly that! This post concerns my newest obsession: Hollow Knight. Man, oh man. What a game this is! I am a major metroidvania fan, so games like Axiom Verge and Owlboy already appeal to me, and Hollow Knight is no different. There isn't a ton to mention as far as what makes this game special to me or stand out in a major way, but it is special and it does stand out. I like everything about this game. The art style is simple and unique. The gameplay is very simple and easy to handle, however, the enemies and bosses are anything but. This game challenges me in the same way I am challenged by a Dark Souls title. You fight, you die. You fight again, you die again. You try and level up, return to fight, die again. It's really a smashing good time. Something about the lore of the story has me drawn in as well. This underground kingdom of bugs, that has this tragic and mysterious past, is tons of fun to explore and master, searching every nook and cranny for new things. The other bugs you meet all have distinct and engaging personalities and voice acting, although they are speaking "bugish" and we cannot understand them without reading the text on screen, that somehow just fits perfectly and sounds right 100% of the time. My favorite bug voice is of the cartographers wife, Iselda, and her bored sounding sigh of "bafanada..." This game is hard as hell and super engaging. I highly recommend it for its playability and the way it translates from big screen to handheld. Some metroidvania games are best viewed on a smaller screen(Axiom Verge is a great example of this; on my 66" screen the game looks silly), but that does not apply to Hollow Knight. I love the way it looks on my TV and it is perfect and cozy in handheld mode. I bought this game while it was on sale for around $8 and I had a few hundred points, too. It cost me maybe $5 in the end and I have enjoyed it far more than Octopath Traveler(which I was SUPER excited for) that I paid $59.99 for. 
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    • So now that Smash Ultimate has been announced and EVERY SINGLE Smash fighter ever (and some extras) are a part of the roster, I'm curious to find out who everyone's main might be.

      Personally, I'm excited to try out Little Mac now that air dodges improve recovery. I hope that might help to balance out his attacks without occasionally falling off the map with no control whatsoever. I also want to try out the Ice Climbers and how their two-in-one combo fares against some of the newer fighters. 

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    • Proud to announce that as of today NintendoRadar is now available in app-form on all your favorite mobile devices! We had a feeling you might like one *cough, ahem, a'choo* 
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    • I finally got around to finishing Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn and I have to say I had a lot of fun with it. I don't mind the crude, verging on racist, humor and the play style is reminiscent of early 90s beat 'em ups. There's even a move where you hit A to land a size 22 kick that launches the enemy straight into the screen just like TMNT IV: Turtles in Time. Shaq Fu never takes itself seriously, poking fun at crowd funding and the game itself. All of the old beat 'em up tropes are present and accounted for; endless enemies, random things in the background and foreground to smash, the odd object you can use as a weapon until it breaks, etc. At $20 USD in the eshop I think that the price is a bit steep for the amount of game time you'll get from it, if you play it on easy you can walk through this game in one sitting and I don't see much replay value in it. Harder difficulties does make it a longer process though. There is a DLC pack called "Barack Fu"  that opens up a new story line where you play as President Obama, the humor continues as one of "Dirty Barry's" moves lets you call in a "Peace Prize" drone strike. Nintendo's eShop says it released on June 5, but I can't seem to find it. The game's website says that physical copies come with a code to download a "bonus game" later this month. I haven't seen what that game is yet but I would suspect that it is the DLC so if you really want to fight as Barack Obama the physical version might save you a bit of money. Overall I give Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn a solid 5 out of 7 Size 22 Reebok Pumps. Pick it up if you find it on sale, and you enjoy old school beat 'em ups (think TMNT IV style with some off color humor and a stupid plot).
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Posted (edited)

Opening note

I’m not going to go into too much detail on what Labo is, as I feel that most users have some prior knowledge of the toy/game. 

The materials

The cardboard is quite thin, durable, and has a quality feel to it. It folds easily on the creases. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will fold it improperly and cause structural damage to your Toy-Con. The connecting tabs also work very well. If you have ever done paper crafts before, you have probably experienced situations where pieces “kind of fit,” and you have to force them in. This situation is not the case with Labo; it just works. In fact, while constructing you get the impression that you could put the pieces together without even looking at the instructions. I would not recommend this course of action as it would lead to lead to confusion and frustration, but a simple glance at the instructions is usually more than enough.

The aforementioned instructions can be found within the game software. They are easy to follow and navigate. Videos can be rotated, enlarged, and sped up. At no time was I confused about what I was expected to do.

The remote-control car

There is not too much more I can say about the RC car that hasn’t already been said. If you have seen any videos about it, that’s it; what you see is what you get. It's easy to make and can be snapped together in just a few minutes. It moves better than I had expected. Yes, it’s slow, but for an electric toothbrush on cardboard legs, it’s quite impressive. The way it utilizes the IR camera is also very impressive. I chased my dog around the room without even looking up from the screen.

 

The house

Expect a huge jump in complexity after the RC car; my eight-year-old took about two hours to complete the house. The house itself, which houses the console and right Joy-Con, is straightforward. What is impressive about this set is the plugs. Gameplay revolves around using said plugs to interact with a Tamagotchi-like pet. Different plug combinations yield different results. Moreover, the plugs themselves are tactility rewarding; it feels really good to press the button, turn the lock, and rotate the crank. 

I am a little disappointed in the reward system which consists of collecting multiple skins for the pet. These skins can be collected rather quickly, and this fact limits replayability. I feel that it could hold children’s attention much longer with just some minor tweaks. 

 

The fishing rod

My biggest disappointment was the fishing rod. First, however, allow me to address the positives. The rod itself was fun to build. The three stages of the telescoping pole made it easy to segment the project. Consequently, even children with shorter attention spans could enjoy this construction. The telescoping action feels really professional; the rod never bends, and the sections cannot be pulled out accidentally. The fishing line is a nice touch and the rubber band powered spool is very innovative. 

The fishing line, however, is also where things started going downhill. I am not sure if it was a construction error on my part, but the tension never really feels natural. In addition, after only a few minutes of play, the line had come off the spool and spun around the rubber band, necessitating a minor reconstruct. There is a cardboard clicking mechanism that also simulates the feeling of winding a reel. While this is a cool idea, and you are given a spare, mine has already gotten stuck and is now worn out after only a few minutes of gameplay.

The fishing game is very simple. Simplicity is not necessarily an issue, but it naturally limits replayability. My biggest issue with the software is that almost every fish I catch breaks the line, and it becomes very frustrating. Yes, I could research ways to play online, but instructions/gameplay tips really should have been incorporated.

 

The motorcycle

My positive attitude returned with the motorcycle. At this point, I was feeling like a cardboard folding expert (even though I wasn’t the one doing the majority of the folding), and the time spent building these Toy-Con handlebars just flew by. In spite of our newfound expertise, the process never felt tedious; instead, it was quite impressive how the ignition and throttle were put together. Even more impressive is how they felt. The rubber band resistance made for quite an immersive experience.

The matching game is a simple racing game/Mario Kart clone. I do not mean to criticize this game with my use of the word simple. In fact, I would suggest that it could even be a $10 standalone game (remember this game is a small part of what you are getting for $70). You can even use the IR camera to scan in custom tracks. While I haven’t ‘built’ any of my own tracks yet, this is something I am looking forward to.

 

The piano

The added complexity of the final Toy-Con in the Variety Pack was no match for professional folders like my daughter and me. Frankly, Domino’s would be lucky to have us. Jokes aside, I will admit that this one felt a little more tedious; making some of the keys felt repetitive and there weren’t any construction surprises. The way the IR camera reads the reflective tape on the keys to input the correct sounds should be impressive enough, but (and perhaps this is my fault) I was aware of this mechanism long before I bought the Labo sets. There are plugs that can be put into the top of the piano that change the sounds produced, but they are simple and can only be manually rotated to affect pitch.

The final product was also a little disappointing. On TV, the piano looks so polished. However, (and this might be because it’s the product of eight-year-old hands) mine came out quite crooked and somewhat sloppy. I am not sure what I expected, but the keys just balance on another piece of cardboard and are easily skewed when pressed. The buttons also felt cheap with only folded cardboard providing resistance. My biggest complaint was that the tiny reflective stickers didn’t stick to the plugs. I had to use white glue and now they look even sloppier.

At the risk of confusing anyone who has read this far, I will say that the piano is great. Yes, great! In spite of its shortcomings, it is a working piano made of cardboard. How cool is that? You can even play songs using only the Joy-Cons’ HD rumble!

 

The robot

The Robot Kit is a standalone pack that sells for $80. It is the more expensive option, but it was also the most fun to build. In fact, I would suggest that it is the better kit. The fact that it is one project to the Variety Kit’s five should not dissuade anyone from picking up this kit. If you have a young child who is interested in robotics (like mine), I would even say this set is a must-buy.

What is so good about it? The quality of the construction was unmatched. For a cardboard backpack and headpiece, this Toy-Con is solid! While some of the Variety Kit’s moving parts had a squishy feel (best way I can describe it) every moving part on the robot feels fluid and well-built. The pistons that move with your arms and legs feel like realistic machinery and give children insight into how simple machines work. Its complexity is itself a positive; it kept my daughter engaged for several hours over two days. Finally, in spite of the fact that you are looking at the TV, it really gives you that immersive VR feeling.

The negatives are that the software wasn’t that engaging for my daughter, after crushing buildings for a few minutes, she had had enough. Also, where am I to keep this thing now that it is finished? The backpack is huge! Time to have a tag sale to make room for both of our Labo kits.

 

Final thoughts

It is very hard for me to give Labo a numerical rating. Would I recommend it? Absolutely – especially to parents of children between the ages of seven and twelve. However, you must remember, these sets are far more toys/construction sets than video games.

Edited by JNASTY
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Looks great so far! Definitely something to consider when deciding on whether or not I should buy a Labo kit.

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How is the durability of the cardboard? Is it heavier than say your typical Amazon box? One of my concerns about labo is that within a week the cardboard will be broken in some way. 

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Posted (edited)

It feels quite good. It’s not corrugated, so it feels more like two sheets of extra heavy cardstock pressed together than your typical cardboard. When you fold it, the pieces sometimes pull apart a tiny bit, but this hasn’t been an issue yet. 

In my opinion, it’s quite durable. However, I should note that I have a rather calm daughter. If you have a couple of rambunctious boys, I could see the Toycons not lasting very long. 

My fishing pole review is coming soon, and it’s not as positive. 

Edit: Upon closer inspection, there is indeed mini corrugation, but I stand by my comment; it feels like cardstock. 

Edited by JNASTY
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I wonder if Nintendo will give you free replacements of the cardboards arrays if they get damaged. It shouldn't be too much trouble.

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10 hours ago, EliteSmash said:

I wonder if Nintendo will give you free replacements of the cardboards arrays if they get damaged. It shouldn't be too much trouble.

Not free, but you can buy replacement parts

https://store.nintendo.com/ng3/browse/subcategory.jsp?categoryId=cat960195

But they did publish PDFs of them so you can cut out your own replacements.

https://www.nintendo.co.jp/labo/parts/

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19 hours ago, Shawn Marcy said:

Might give it a shot someday

As much as I have enjoyed Labo thus far, I am not sure I would pick it up for myself. For me, the joy comes from watching my daughter play and learn at the same time. 

If you are on the fence, I am sure used copies, sans-cardboard, will be available very cheaply in the near future. If you don't mind some cutting, it could be worth it.

My fishing pole review is up.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @Potatogun @FamiTom and @NintendoFanJosh7000  I may have gotten in a bit over my head on this one. Any subsequent reviews will not be as ambitious. 

As a bonus, here is my Hyrule Warriors review:

It is quite good; I’m having a lot of fun.

Score: 4/5

:D

Edited by JNASTY
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