Driving with the steering wheel felt like steering a boat with arcade racing game mechanics. It takes a bit to get used to it, but it suits Labo's casual play style. This isn't something you'd want for a realistic racing game, for example. But it could be perfect for Mario Kart. It's certainly more responsive than the old Wii steering wheel.
When I swapped my Labo key over to the joystick, my virtual vehicle transformed into a small plane. It took off when I hit the pedal, and it controlled much like you'd expect. I was already sold on Labo's flexibility with the previous kits, especially the complex robot, but I was still struck by how well the cardboard joystick actually worked. My on-screen plane responded to every movement quickly, and the kit felt great in my hand.
Once I got my bearings, I was able to shoot down balloons throughout the environment easily by hitting the joystick's top button. That's one of many side quests spread throughout adventure mode. I also ran into cows that I had to drive back home, and trees that I could cut down with the car's saw attachment (every driver's best friend). The entire adventure mode experience felt more well thought out than previous Labo games. And it's buoyed by other scenarios, like a battle mode where you can go head-to-head with the computer or other players, and a simple slot car game that supports up to four people. If you've got other Labo-equipped friends, you can all bring your controllers and pedals over to compete.
The Labo's submarine controller might be the most divisive, since it's not something most gamers are used to. It's a large device with two dials, which you use to control the direction of your sub's engines. There aren't any motion controls -- you simply have to get the hang of raising and lowering the engines to turn left or right, or move up and down. Even the Nintendo rep that was helping me out had trouble with it, since it's not exactly intuitive. Still, it's a nice change of pace from the other Labo vehicles, since it forces you to think about three-dimensional movement in an entirely different way. Honestly, I can't wait for Nintendo to take the next logical step and give us a bonafide Labo spaceship controller.