Just when you thought everything was completely normal, Nintendo has to come along and throw a fun-sized spanner into the works. The Japanese gaming giant has announced and detailed Nintendo Labo, a product we’re still not sure how to pronounce properly which looks like… an awful lot of fun, once you can wrap your head around it.
Nintendo Labo is, basically, a whole mess of cardboard sheets, rubber bands and bits of string and things which combine to form what the company calls Toy-Cons. These are little cardboard constructs which have space for the Nintendo Switch to slot into which then turns the games console into an RC car, a fishing rod (yup), motorcycle, house, piano, or a standalone VR-ish robot suit. You read all of that correctly but if you don’t believe us (and we wouldn’t either) you can see them in action in Nintendo’s reveal video below.
Nintedno Labo is obviously intended for the kiddies, though we suspect more than a few parents are going to want to go stomping around the lounge in a cardboard robot suit, smashing buildings and generally being a Transformer. Labo is going to be sold in two pieces: the aforementioned robot kit and then the Variety Kit, which will have a collection of smaller Toy-Con options. Oh and both kits will have the actual software you need to actually play with the cardboard bits, of course.
Our major concern with these new peripheral setups is durability but we can also understand why the Labo is made from cardboard — it adds to the interactivity element, is lighter for kids to wear and it also keeps costs down. Nintendo Labo probably wouldn’t sell at all if you had to drop several grand on a plastic peripheral (are you listening, Activision?) or seven. Happily, these kits shouldn’t be that expensive.
Ninty’s Labo products will be launching on 20 April this year internationally, but we’re going to have to wait a week longer before we get our hands on them. South Africa’s set for a 27 April 2018 launch. The Variety Kit, Toy-Con Robot kit, and a customisation kit (which seems to be a pack of stationery and other bits) will be available on the day. Pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the US will see kits starting from $70 (R860) so don’t expect it to be too cheap.