A new attraction has landed at LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort, giving them the honour of being the first in the world to offer a LEGO virtual reality roller coaster, which will also be launched in LEGOLAND Florida Resort and LEGOLAND Deutschland Resort in 2018.
Titled “The Great Lego Race VR Coaster”, the ride fuses both elements of VR technology and roller coaster thrills to deliver a different, one-of-a-kind experience. It sees the rider accepting a racing challenge with characters from the Lego series after stepping through a colourful entrance portal – and then the real fun begins once the VR headsets are donned.
Adults will find themselves reliving their childhood days as the children get immersed in an exciting world of drops, twists, turns, and climbs. Don’t worry though, it isn’t as scary as it sounds (sorry hardcore thrillseekers), since anyone above the age of six can just hop on for the ride, and riders have the choice to not put on the VR headset – but why would you want to miss out on all that fun and action?
The magic behind the successful adrenaline-pumping action lies in the ingenuity of Legoland’s Bluetooth technology, which syncs the virtual visuals with every motion of the roller coaster. This means that a seventy-degree drop can look and feel like a descend to the depths of hell!
The Ride Experience
The adventure starts with the usual queue-line, aptly themed with elements of the ride to set you in the mood. This is where you whip out your camera and take pictures with each of the LEGO racers and their brick-built contraptions such as a rocket-powered surfboard and an espresso-fueled scooter. Here, we are introduced to the rival racers: the Trendsetter, Pharaoh, Surfer Girl, Wizard and the Pirate Captain.
As we made our way up to the second level, we are issued with a VR headset powered by the Samsung Gear VR, retrofitted with a customized head strap and mounted Sennheiser headphones. The headsets are easily adjustable via a giant red knob on the back, allowing for a snug and secure fit.
Each carriage holds four riders, two in front and two in the back row. Unlike normal coasters, it doesn’t matter where one sits, because once you don the VR headset, and start looking around at the environment, you’ll immediately see that you are a solo racer seated in a single-seater ride. Ah, the beauty of VR!
Wondering how the visuals look during the ride? Here’s a peek at some screen grabs. Think of it like Mario Kart, but LEGO-fied.
Throughout the ride, the climbs, turns and drops were accurately synced between the VR headset and the actual coaster track, and my race car even transformed into a plane midway through as it dived through a cave and back out onto the race track.
Right before crossing the finish line, the rival racers took turns and crashed off course in slo-mo, in all directions, which was a nice touch to keep the rider entertained while the coaster slows to an eventual stop. Oh, and of course that leaves you, the rider as the winner to cross the finish line.
Overall, the experience was an enjoyable thrill ride that is bound to bring a smile to both adult and kid fans of LEGO. I did have two small gripes with the ride experience though. The first was the rather low audio levels on the headphones, which dumbed down on the overall immersion quite a bit. Perhaps there were volume adjustment buttons on the right side of the headset (as with the consumer version of the headset), and it would have helped if the staff members pointed out that we could adjust the volume levels to suit each rider’s preference prior to boarding.
The other was the lack of any kind of force feedback or cart movement when the race was traversing through the water-filled track (see screen grab above) at one point. I know there are limitations on how the feeling of waves can be replicated on a coaster ride, but perhaps spraying some water might make a nice surprise for first-time riders.
You know what would make the ride even more awesome? Having the VR software updated during the Star Wars Days May the 4th festivities in 2018 to a full Star Wars themed race, and calling it “LEGO Death Star Trench Race”. One can only hope!