Hands-On: Nintendo Labo
Everyone was perplexed when Nintendo revealed a new line of product that was entirely made of cardboard. With its never-ending thirst for innovation, Nintendo presents us with an opportunity to finally see what Nintendo Labo is all about. After of trying out different kinds of contraptions, this is my take on the experience.
During our exclusive hands-on, we were able to see all major steps in the Nintendo Labo strategy: Build, Play, Discover. Much like its tagline, our experience proceeded the same way. At first, we were able to build our own little contraptions step by step. As one would imagine, it is definitely simple enough and doesn’t take too long. For children, it will definitely serve as part of the fun to assemble the items together.
There are two kits that were revealed so far: The Variety Kit and the Robot Kit. We only got to build part of the Variety Kit due to our time limit, but it was easy to see how much fun it can be to simply build and customize these Toy-Cons. Of course, it is clear that this new line of products can easily transcend into multiple kits that would join the market later on. The sky is the limit with what Nintendo can cook up with Nintendo Labo.
Afterward, it was time for us to play of course. We were able to play a handful of these completed items with completed setups such as the Motorbike, Piano, House, Fishing, and Robot. We were able to try out every single one and learn of the prowess behind this innovative project. Although most of these games were simple enough, what impressed me the most was the sheer technological ingenuity that goes behind Nintendo Labo.
A couple of these games are somewhat like mini-games but allow for a more active role for children who play them. Perhaps the most physically-demanding of the bunch is no doubt Robot. To play this game, you must build an elaborate cardboard suit that will make use of strings to function. I was able to try this one personally and I can tell you, it is baffled me how quick the game responded to my every move. I was equipped with a visor that had the left Joy-Con and a back-pack that had the strings inside and the right Joy-Con scanning the magic inside via infrared. Each of my legs were equipped straps connecting to the back as well as my arms. With the pull of a string, I controlled this giant robot with every step and every punch. It was very intuitive and the entire concept even convinced me of how far Nintendo Labo can be taken should Nintendo ever want to create more complex kits such as this one.
Accessible and simple, most of the magic behind these cardboard cutouts is done discreetly. The example I can use is the Piano (seen as the frog in the picture below). The inside of the cardboard instrument is pretty empty. However, the darkness of the enclosed space allows for the right Joy-Con, which has an infrared reader on the bottom, to scan for signals inside the instrument. Along the back of the keys lie fluorescent straps that will appear extremely visible in the dark environment, allowing for the quickest of responses.
Before jumping into the final part of the experience, we were shown how easily customizable these kits can be, as seen in the picture above. We also learned how users will not only be able to play with these kits as they were intended. Nintendo Labo is a creative hub where players will also be able to make their own programs and make new connections using the Joy-Cons and the made Toy-Cons. It is possible to make your own things and use the Joy-Con connections through the Nintendo Switch to create new things. Being able to use such an expansive and creative hub is the value of Nintendo Labo.
Nintendo Labo comes out on April 20th, 2018 with two kits available. The Variety Kit will retail at 69.99$USD and the Robot Kit will retail at 79.99$USD. There are also some customization kits to decorate the Toy-Cons and such. Of course, all this is playable on the Nintendo Switch.