Nintendo’s just dropped a trailer for what seems to be their craziest idea yet – the Nintendo Labo. A series of kits that allow you to create cardboard peripherals for your Nintendo Switch to use with special games and software. Could it be another silly gimmick? Or a genius move by Nintendo?

What is it?

“Imagine being able to turn a simple piece of cardboard into almost anything”

That’s what Nintendo aims to achieve with the Labo. Although not exactly, since you’ll need to buy kits in order to make these accessories. Each comes with a game cartridge that goes into the switch and acts as the instruction manual for making these constructions,  named Toy-Cons. It’s essentially Nintendo’s version of Lego Dimensions but with cardboard rather than plastic bricks and figures.

The Switch’s Joy-Cons then slot inside the Toy-Cons which turns the cardboard creations into a game you can play and control. As shown in the trailer, some of the possibilities include a piano, a fishing rod, an RC car and a robot among many others.

But apart from seemingly being a toy aimed at kids, it also tries to make an introduction to coding and engineering. Via the Switch you’ll be able to take a look at the cross-sections of the Toy-Cons you’ve created and see how the parts interact with each other. So rest assured it’s also a form of education and not just entertainment

Toy-Con kits

Here are the 2 kits that will be the first to be released and are also available for pre-order:

An assorted collection of the basics

Toy-Con 01 – Variety Kit

This one packs numerous starter Toy-Con kits: RC Cars (2 included), the fishing rod, house, motorbike and piano.

  1. The RC cars are controllable by using touch controls on the Switch’s screen after you insert a Joy-Con inside each of them.
  2. The fishing rod includes a wheel attached by string to a cradle which in turn holds the Switch. The game has you catching exotic fish as they swim across the screen by casting the rod and unwinding the reel to lower the hook.
  3. The Motorbike kit has you inserting a Joy-Con into the handlebars to drive a motorbike shown on the Switch screen. It’s similar to motorbike found in arcades as you can twist the handle to accelerate and either lean or turn the handlebars to change direction.
  4. The piano has 13 playable keys which you can use to create music. There’s even different knobs for sound effects and tones.
The Iron Giant IRL

Toy-Con 02 – Robot Kit

This kit contains the robot Toy-Con kit and the accompanying software. Although it only nets you a singular kit, in comparison to the Variety Kit, it actually comes with multiple components which includes a backpack, visor, foot hooks and controllers.

Inside the robot kit

Judging from the image it would seem to require four Joy-Cons to operate the kit properly: one for each foot, one in the visor and another in the backpack. Assembling the parts will allow you to control a giant robot in a VR experience, where you’ll be destroying buildings or fighting UFOs.

Pre-ordering and Price

The kits are slated for an April 20 release in the US/Australia and April 27 across Europe. As for price, the Variety Kit is priced at $69.99 AUD/£59.99/$99.95 AUD while the Robot Kit is a tad more expensive at $79.99 USD/£69.99/$119.95 AUD. A pack of decorative stickers and tape will also be available for $9.99/ £8.99/$14.95 AUD.

Now an important thing to note is that these kits will include both the cardboard for the Toy-Cons and their respective games and software that’ll help you build it and see its inner workings.

What happens if they break?

Well Nintendo hasn’t confirmed where they’ll be supplying replacement cardboard kits or template for broken Toy-Cons. But the whole point of it being cardboard is that you should be able to repair yourself with some tape and glue and even decorate it to hearts content.

Bright and colourful cardboard

Unless you’re as creative as these people and will take your Toy-Con to the next level:

What do you think of Nintendo’s new creation? Will you be pre-ordering one today? Is it an outrageous cash grab by Nintendo? Or do you see it as a cheaper and genius solution to the VR/AR crave?

Video game and film enthusiast. Studying a Bachelor of Communications in Media Arts and Production along with International Studies at UTS. I play games in any genre, but mainly focus on CSGO and Tekken. I’m a fighting game aficionado and have met top players from both the Street Fighter and Tekken scenes. My other hobbies include reading, anime and learning the occasional song on guitar.