Nintendo already have a reputation for making kid-friendly games and consoles that are great fun for the whole family – aside from Mario Kart that is, which has caused an untold number of family falling outs, of which I’ve unfortunately been the cause of myself on an embarrassing number of occasions. Nintendo are now looking to break into some interesting new ground with their upcoming Nintendo Labo release. These games and their cardboard components are aiming to educate while entertaining, and Nintendo has high goals of improving children’s knowledge and understanding of a wide range of topics like engineering, programming and physics. So, what exactly is Nintendo Labo, how does it work and when will your kids be able to try it out for themselves?
Putting it simply, Nintendo Labo is a range of physical toys (in the form of DIY cardboard pieces) and partnered software/games. Kids build these carboard toys around the Nintendo Switch’s controllers and then use them to play different games or perform different functions. For example, kids can build a cardboard piano, insert the Switch controller and then press the keys to make music. Other creations include a remote-control car, robots that move across the floor and custom controllers for the packaged games, like a fishing rod or even a full-size robot suit.
The Labo kits all allow for a high degree of customisation and kids can change the cardboard components, or entirely design their own, to find new ways to play with what they have. The cardboard also lets kids run away with their creativity and decorate them in any way they want, with additions like stickers and paint. Nintendo even encourage this decoration with a separately sold customisation set, filled with stickers, stencils and colourful tape.
Aside from the novelty of building their own toys, what else does Nintendo Labo have to offer for your children? Well, Nintendo claims that Labo can be used as an educational tool and it comes packaged with lots of software and information to support that claim. The Discover part of the software simply, but clearly, explains exactly how it all works, covering everything from the moving parts of the cardboard to the infrared on the controllers.
Once your child has dug around the Discover section and started to understand how it works, they can even program their own uses for their cardboard constructions with the simple Toy-Con Garage software. This will really let them run wild with their imagination while also developing a valuable understanding of how to use programming and engineering. Once your child has got to grips with this, there is almost no end to what they can build and do with the software and their own custom parts.
That all sounds pretty good to me! Building an interest in how things work is really important not only for children’s development but also to foster creativity and drive for their future. Nintendo Labo will release as two separate packages, the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit. These are pretty much exactly what they say on the tin. The Variety Kit has lots of different pieces to build a, you guessed it, variety of creations while the Robot Kit is entirely robot themed and targeted more at its accompanying robot game.
Labo is set to release in the UK on April 27th this year and will be between £59.99 and £69.99 depending on which kit you get. Nintendo products are infamous for flying off the shelves on release, so if you’re interested it’s probably worth getting in a pre-order to make sure you can get this on day one. If you want to save on your Labo, then keep an eye out for any packages or saving with any deals on toys is great with coupon sites like Groupon.