Make. Play. Imagine. With these three words we were introduced to Nintendo’s great announcement in mid-January, a long-awaited bit of news that had been promised for a while. Although fans and gamers made tons of theories on what this announcement would be, citing the possibility of a new Metroid as the most probable of the resulting news release, it turned out to be something much more unexpected than anything gamers had been discussing.
Enter the Labo: the latest in Nintendo’s wonderful and original gimmicks that serve to amaze us every few years. A collection of games based on a cardboard build-it-yourself kit, this strange new technology will allow players of all players to fish, race, bowl and many, many more activities that not even the Wii could allow you to do in its golden era.
Still, you may wonder why we’re giving you an article on the Labo now, and not when it was announced alongside a trailer a few weeks ago. Well, that’d be because certain individuals across the world have finally been given a chance to try the new game out! So, without further ado, let’s give you a proper glimpse at what we’ve learned about the interesting, controversial (because nothing can ever be perfect) new Nintendo release!
Incoming shouts of “You’re charging how much for a few sheets of cardboard?!”
Many gamers didn’t receive the news as well as others (the announcement trailer video, for example, has a high dislike count), but the truth is that Nintendo is selling much more than just a ‘box full of cardboard’ as some think.
The Labo is actually one big game that uses the cardboard as peripherals, similar to how the Wii used the Nunchuck controller and the Switch uses its Joy-Cons; in this manner, you’re still paying for actual software, not just the stuff that controls it.
But how does it work?
Labo is based on Nintendo Switch game cards, which include interactive instructions on how to assemble the devices you’ll need — or Toy-Cons — as well as the gaming software itself. And yes, you’ll need to be careful when building these strange contraptions that range from RC cars to pianos; after all, it’s still cardboard and it can still bend, break, get wet or be eaten by your dog. Yes, the latter can happen, believe it or not…
The games shown in the first glimpses of the product look quite interesting and fun, especially in the case of the giant robot kit which, through the use of pulleys and weights, will allow you to take control of a huge mech that can transform into a tank, as well as allowing you to pop on your cardboard visor and immediately receive a first-person view of what’s going on! Furthermore, you’ll get access to a special function called “the Toy-Con Garage”, which will open the door to the possibility of programming your own Toy-Cons made from either the purchased kits or your own materials.
And as if that wasn’t cool enough, the announcement trailer gave us quick glimpses of features that haven’t been announced for the first upcoming kits to be sold, such as a flapping bird, a camera, a blaster-like gun and other different Toy-Cons which will surely be added with time and depending on the success of the product.
Reviewers have said that, while it could be met with mixed reactions and possibly shunned by the mature, hardcore gamers, Labo will certainly be picked up by children and families who want casual, competitive fun. At the end of the day I guess that’s not a big issue — it’s the audience Nintendo loves to cater to, and that’s perfectly fine!
When does it come out? What am I getting for my buck?
Well, two kits will be released in the U.S. on April 20, 2018 — the Variety Kit will include 5 different Toy-Cons to be assembled: the remote-controlled car, the fishing rod, the piano, the motorbike handlebars and the house; while the Robot Kit will include the parts necessary to make the mecha suit and visor. The Variety Kit will cost you $70, while the Robot Kit, slightly more advanced in design, will set you back $80. So that’s a large $150 for the two kits if you’re going all the way — consider that when buying the product.
While info may be scarce for now, even after we got glimpses from reviewers themselves; it is becoming clear that while the games themselves may be aimed at a younger audience, the Toy-Con Garage feature will certainly be open for imaginative adult gamers to create interesting new features of varying complexity through programming.
Nintendo Switch’s Labo brings something that we hadn’t really witnessed before, and whatever reception it gets from gamers, it’ll surely mark a ‘before and after’ in gaming. Let’s wish them good luck with it — big developments across the gaming universe could follow if the Labo succeeds and you know it!
What did you think of the Labo after seeing the announcement trailer? Will it flop, or do you envision massive success for this new product? Comment below, guys!
British Writer, Gamer, TV Show Freak and Tech Enthusiast living in South America