Leave it to Nintendo to get the whole world excited about cardboard with what looks to be the latest incarnation of its philosophy: fun and play over graphics and power. Labo is Nintendo’s new DIY Switch-powered cardboard accessory line, and I’m sure you have plenty of questions. So we put together a list of five little things that you may not know about Nintendo Labo.
The RC Car is without a doubt, the simplest Toy-Con in the Variety Kit. It only takes a few minutes to assemble, but it still comes packed with some pretty exciting features. This Toy-Con can see. It uses the IR sensor located inside of the right Joy-Con as a camera and sends a direct video feed back to the Switch, allowing you to see where you’re going, even in the dark. The camera is also smart enough to track objects using reflective stickers, so we don’t recommend sticking any on your cat. That is, of course, unless you’d like to test out your cat’s paper shredding skills.
The Kit also comes with enough material to create two RC Cars. So if you have two sets of Joy-Con, you can battle it out with a friend. Not to mention, it includes some fun bonus parts that you can use to customize each car. Personally, I’m a fan of the elephant mask.
The Motorcycle Mini-game that pairs with the handlebar Toy-Con borrow’s a bunch of assets from Mario Kart 8. Which is great, because who doesn’t love Mario Kart, right? Even more interesting, however, is the included Toy-Con scanner. The Scanner also utilizes the Joy-Con IR Sensor, except this time bringing real-world elements into the game. Players can use it to build custom stadiums in the games track editor by scanning real-world objects to shape the in-game terrain – which can ultimately lead to some particularly unique stadiums.
Also included is a Toy-Con minibike, which you can use to draw paths in the air to create your own racing circuits. It’s no doubt an interesting use of the Switch’s motion controls, and it really makes me wonder what a level editor in Mario Kart 9 could be.
Next up is the Fishing Rod. This Toy-Con utilizes your Switch in a bit of a different way. It comes with a mini-game that has you use the rod to catch virtual fish while your Switch sits nestled vertically in a tiny cardboard cradle. What’s especially unique about this one though, is that the fishing game is also compatible with the Toy-Con Piano. You can use it to view all the fish you’ve caught in your record book, and you can create custom fish. You can cut out paper shapes and scan them straight into the game when your Switch is docked in the Piano. It’s another Labo game that utilizes the IR reader to detect shapes and send them into the game, except this one borrows the reader from inside the Toy-Con Piano.
Speaking of the Toy-Con Piano, did you know that you can use it to compose music with the buzzing of your Joy-Con? Yup, that’s right. The HD rumble in the Joy-Con is precise enough to be recognized by the regularity of its vibration. So much so, that it emits a tonal frequency that’s loud enough to be heard by the human ear.
You can also record your own original music with the Piano and then use your Joy-Con like a conductor to play back the music back you recorded, allowing you to control the tempo in which the music is played. It’s no doubt a neat idea, and impressive use of rumble technology, but we’re still hoping that it doesn’t turn into another awkward Wii Music phase for Nintendo.
The Robot Kit is indeed the most advanced Toy-Con that will be launching alongside Nintenndo Labo. It requires the player to wear a Toy-Con Robot suit that’s complete with a wearable visor enables a first-person mode, and straps that lead down to each arm and leg to control movement. Alongside the included game come a couple of fun and interesting features. You can customize your in-game robot using special Toy-Con bolts which are inserted on the side of the backpack.
There’s also a secret mode called Robot Studio. It allows you to walk around the real world while essentially cosplaying as the robot. Its programmed with sounds that react to your gestures, which will probably make for some good fun for younger players. Also, if you have an additional kit, you can play a robot multiplayer fighting mode against a friend using gesture-based controls.