Two things that my children really love are gaming, and constructing models / toy sets.
Luckily for us, Nintendo Labo combines these two things in a really fun way.
I didn’t really understand the concept of Nintendo Labo until we tried it out, so hopefully this will be helpful to anyone else wondering, What is Nintendo Labo all about and is it any good?
Our chosen Nintendo Labo kit was the Toy Con 1 variety kit. Also available from the Labo range are a vehicle kit and a robot kit. Nintendo Labo is designed to work in conjunction with your Nintendo Switch in a whole variety of interactive ways.
What’s inside the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 1 kit?
Inside the Toy-Con 1 box, you get the materials to construct your cardboard creations, alongside a Nintendo Switch cartridge that provides you with the games to use alongside your constructions. It also provides a step by step guide to create the Labo kits. Just pop the game into your Switch and follow the instructions to get started.
The items you can make with the Toy Con 1 variety set include a house, remote control cars, a motorbike, a fishing rod, and a piano. You can further customise the remote control cars with the animal sets that are included with the Toy-Con 1 variety kit.
Once your cardboard constructions are built, the gaming fun begins. Each game uses the Nintendo Switch in slightly different ways. The games are included on the cartridge that comes with the Toy Con 1 variety set.
Take a look at this video to get a better idea of the way the Switch games work in conjunction with the Labo sets.
The motorbike set included in Labo Toy Con 1 is also compatible with Mario Kart 8 – one of our favourite family games for the Switch.
My children often spend hours on a weekend constructing model sets and Lego with their dad, and I soon realised that our Labo kit was providing the same sort of opportunity. They spend that time learning to work as a team, concentrating, and troubleshooting together – which are all valuable skills to hone.
My seven year old liked the Labo fishing game the best – where you reel in different sea creatures that are worth different amounts.
My five year old particularly enjoyed the Labo house game included with Toy Con 1, where you complete tasks to earn your little creature food. There are little tools that pop in and out of the house, which changes the on-screen action in fun ways.
My two year old could even get involved with the more simplistic game-play of the remote control cars.
I understand the importance of gaming in my children’s lives, and I’m under no illusion that the time they will want to spend gaming will only increase as they get older. So it’s great to see Nintendo providing ways to keep gaming fun for pre-teens.
Nintendo Labo changes the concept of gaming from something that involves zoning out in front of a screen, to something a lot more active that requires a whole different set of skills.
To be totally honest, I started off quite sceptical about Nintendo’s Labo kits. It seemed like a lot of money for cardboard creations. But after trying out the Labo kits I’ve totally changed my mind. You get 5 mini games, the functionality and game-play of which are more in depth than I’d have imagined. I can see the Labo games holding longevity for my children.
Cardboard is not the most durable of materials, but I honestly think half the value of the Labo sets lie in the construction. Labo replacement sets are available if your favourite Labo game / construction gets damaged.
However, the real proof for our family lies in my children’s reaction to the Labo kit. Particularly my five year old, who embraced the concept the most, and whilst he needed parental help with the construction, he was able to play the games and use the various interactive pieces of cardboard unaided.
The Nintendo Labo games are interactive and intuitive like I’ve never seen before in any console, and my children’s squeals of delight tell me that Nintendo have done a very good job with Labo.
Yes, Labo is a gimmick in that you don’t need it to play a Nintendo Switch and the Switch is a great concept without the Labo. But it’s a pretty good gimmick – and one that broadens Nintendo Switch’s age range, making it accessible to a younger audience.
Disclosure: Oour Nintendo Switch and Labo Toy Con 1 kit were provided for the purpose of this review.