Nintendo has lifted the lid on its "new way to play" by announcing Labo, a range of interactive toys which you create yourself.
Launching on 27th April, the Labo range currently comprises of two packs, each filled with cardboard panels out of which you can pop-out shapes and construct objects known as Toy-Con. These work in conjunction with the Switch console and its Joy-Con controllers to create a series of unique interactive experiences which blur the line between the real and virtual worlds.
Satoru Shibata, Nintendo of Europe’s President, had this to say:
Our goal is to put smiles on the faces of everyone Nintendo touches. Nintendo Labo invites anyone with a creative mind and a playful heart to make, play and discover in new ways with Nintendo Switch. I personally hope to see many people enjoying making kits with their family members, with big smiles on their faces.
Two kits will launch on April 27th. The Variety Kit contains the Toy-Con RC Car, Toy-Con Fishing Rod, Toy-Con House, Toy-Con Motorbike and Toy-Con Piano.
+ Toy-Con RC Car: Insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into your newly built RC Car and control its movement using touch screen controls on the Nintendo Switch. The HD rumble feature in the Joy-Con controllers will cause vibrations that move the car in the direction you choose. Materials to construct two RC Cars are included.
+ Toy-Con Fishing Rod: Construct the Fishing Rod with an active, rotating reel that is attached by string to a cradle holding the Nintendo Switch console. Catch one of many exotic fish shown swimming on the Nintendo Switch screen by casting your Fishing Rod and unwinding the reel to lower the hook. Once you feel a vibration from the Joy-Con inserted in the reel, you must crank the reel quickly and tug the Fishing Rod upwards to try and complete the catch.
+ Toy-Con House: By inserting various assembled blocks into openings in the sides and bottom of the House, you can interact, feed and play games with a cute creature on the front-facing Nintendo Switch screen. Each differently shaped block is detected by the IR Motion Camera on the Right Joy-Con inserted on top of the House.
+ Toy-Con Motorbike: Insert each Joy-Con into an assembled set of handlebars to drive a motorbike on the Nintendo Switch screen. Pressing the ignition button starts the engine, twisting the right handle activates the throttle, and leaning your body or turning the handlebars left and right controls the motorbike.
+ Toy-Con Piano: After assembling a beautifully crafted 13-key piano and inserting the Nintendo Switch console and Joy-Con, you can create your own music by pressing different keys. You can even insert different assembled knobs to create new sound effects and tones.
The second "Robot" kit only has one model, but it's a wearable suit:
Create a wearable robot suit, and insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into the designated slots on the backpack and visor to assume control of the robot, which is shown on the TV when the Nintendo Switch console is docked. Enjoy a variety of fun game-play experiences, including Robot mode, where you can destroy in-game buildings and UFOs.
Nintendo is going big on the creative angle here; the promotional video shows Toy-Con customised with paint and tape. To support such artistic endeavours a special "Customisation Set" that includes stencils, stickers and coloured tape will also be available to purchase from 27th April.
Nintendo is holding a series of Labo Workshops where kids, parents, media and "influencers" will get the chance to come together to "make, play and discover"; the more photogenic attendees may even become part of Nintendo's campaign to promote Labo around the world. Keep your eye on the official Labo site for more details in the future.
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Be sure to check out our hands-on impressions of Labo here, and then let us know what you think of the concept by posting a comment.