Nintendo Labo consists of cardboard foldable papercraft construction projects, plus software on the Switch that tells you what to do and plays games with what you've built. I got to try out Nintendo Labo with my kid in New York in advance of its release.
This is me, wearing a cardboard robot suit. This is Nintendo Labo, arriving in April: and it's crazy.
The $80 Robot Kit is one of two packages you'll be able to buy. It uses your Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers and turns them into a body-controlled robot backpack body suit.
Punches become robot punches. Kicks and steps become robot kicks and steps. A head visor activates a first-person POV mode in-game, too.
The robot backpack works when crouching (you turn into a robot car) or standing (you become a mech robot). Pulleys activate thumping sounds in the backpack.
The cardboard creations, called Toy-Cons, use the Joy-Con controllers to power wild ideas. This House turns the Switch into a weird interactive dollhouse.
Pop in cardboard knobs and buttons, and you can make crazy things happen in your tiny home (I flooded mine with water).
The fishing kit, one of five in the $70 Nintendo Labo Variety Kit, makes a fishing rod that attaches to the Switch and turns into an awesome working fishing game.
Making the fishing rod ended up being over an hour of work, and we didn't even finish.
The Labo Piano is a real working keyboard. The keys trigger musical notes, or can be other sounds when cardboard plugs are popped in.
A Motorbike project creates working handlebars that control an Excitebike-type game. The handlebar rotates to accelerate, and it vibrates realistically (seat not included).
RC Cars, another project in the Variety Kit, involves making race-car housings for the Joy-Con controllers (they're more like cardboard bugs).
One Switch can control two sets of buzzing RC cars if you have four Joy-Cons.
The Robot Kit only has the robot backpack and game, but it's a really big construction project.
Some bedazzled and customized buzzing RC car things Nintendo showed off to indicate how much you're free to color or design your cardboard.
A few more super-customized Labo cardboard designs from Nintendo. There's going to be a lot of Instagram sharing of Nintendo cardboard.
The Labo step-by-step instructions show 3D models of what you're supposed to fold, and it's easy to use.
A lot of pieces to manage! Luckily, the app makes sense of them.
I felt great satisfaction making a cardboard thing to put Joy-Cons in (seriously, though, it was satisfying!).
Each project's instructions can be fast-forwarded or rewound as needed, and models can be zoomed in or spun around.
My son and I stare at the instructions to plan our next move. If you've made Lego, you'll feel right at home: it's excellently designed.
Building things is half the fun of Nintendo Labo.