What in the world is this?
It’s a cardboard piano, and that’s the Nintendo Switch game console right there in the middle. But the combination thereof is something else entirely: It’s Nintendo Labo, the latest creation from the Japanese gaming powerhouse.
Labo is a surprising new project that Nintendo unveiled on Wednesday afternoon, and it’s coming out really soon (in April!). Here’s how it works:
First and foremost, a warning: Nintendo Labo is an add-on for the Nintendo Switch console. You <em>must</em> own a Switch to use Labo.
You cannot use Nintendo Labo without a Nintendo Switch, outright. Labo doesn’t come with a Switch – you buy the Switch separately, which costs $US300. Beware!
So, what is Labo? It’s a DIY construction kit that uses cardboard to turn your Switch into something new.
Nintendo Labo is a lot of things.
Broadly, it’s a do-it-yourself construction set where you build new ways to play and control the Nintendo Switch.
As seen in the example above, Labo can be constructed into a variety of different structures.
The idea is simple: You buy Labo and open it, follow the instructions to build whichever construction you’ve purchased, and then you slap the Switch in there and play games.
In case it wasn’t clear, playing games is the whole point here: Each Labo construction has a corresponding game that Nintendo made for use with that particular design.
The “Robot Kit,” seen above, is specifically made to play with a game where you play as a giant robot that’s smashing buildings.
In the first image on the left, you see a visor of sorts being constructed. On the far right, the backpack provides resistance as you use your arms to act as the robot’s arms. And in the middle, of course, is the game itself being played with the full Labo constructed. Pretty intense!
Here’s another example, where a set of motorcycle handlebars were constructed using Labo for a racing game:
The game looks fairly rudimentary, but it’s entirely possible that the image is just a placeholder for now. In the case of the motorcycle Labo, each of the Switch’s “Joy-Con” gamepads are inserted into the handlebars, and the Switch itself (the screen) is placed in the center.
Nintendo showcased the breadth of its creations in the debut video for Labo — here, for instance, is a little house. What?
And here, you can see a fishing pole. Yes, a cardboard fishing pole.
Unlike the house, it’s a bit more obvious what you might use a fishing pole for – a fishing game, of course!
Here’s a quick look at that game:
Nintendo released a bunch of promotional images showing what construction will look like:
So, yes, Labo is very much aimed at a younger audience. The construction is relatively simple, as are the results of that construction.
There are varying levels of difficulty to Labo, it seems. The fishing rod, for instance, seemingly has a bit more going on.
Notably, instructions for how to build the fishing rod are displayed on a nearby Nintendo Switch console. We haven’t used Labo in person just yet, but it looks like a corresponding Labo app on the Switch will guide users along in the setup process (rather than, say, Nintendo providing written instructions).
The piano — which, yes, seemingly functions like an actual piano — has a variety of bits and bobs with it that look slightly more complex than, say, the house.
That said, let’s just marvel at how insanely cool this little cardboard piano looks. Come on!
Labo is meant for kids, yes, but try and ignore this adorable little piano. Go ahead.
The little house stands out as especially bizarre and unique.
Many of the Labo creations err on the side of obvious-ish motion gaming ideas. The house, however, is a bit more unique.
You’ll seemingly pop pieces of cardboard in and out of holes on the house to solve puzzles on the screen. It looks rad, frankly speaking.
Craziest of all, no doubt, is the robot construction kit. It’s got a whole pulley system involved in a backpack that looks like it will need some adult attention.
As you can see here, out of the box you’re getting a handful of sheets of cardboard (with pre-cut sections) and a handful of other lightweight construction items.
Nintendo Labo comes in two different price points: $US69.99 to start (for the Variety Kit), up to $US79.99 for the Robot Kit.
And yes, of course, you can customise your Labo. You could always just straight up draw on it with pen, crayon, pencil, or whatever else. But if you want something a bit more fancy, Nintendo’s selling customisation sets for $US9.99.
Wanna see Labo in action? Check out the first video from Nintendo right here:
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