( by Paige)
Game/accessory: Nintendo Labo Variety Kit
By: Nintendo Switch
Price: € 69.99 (Eu) , £59.99 (UK), $69.99 (USA)
The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit or Toy-Con 01, released on April 20th in most places and later in Europe. Toy-Cons are creations made from modular cardboard made to use with the unique functions of the Joy-Con technologies.
The Variety Kit comes with five different constructions: 2x RC Cars, 1x Fishing Rod, 1x House, 1x Motorbike and 1x Piano.
In this post I will give a brief overview of Nintendo Labo and specifically talk about the RC Car project.
When you first open the software it will ask you to make a joy-con holder. After that you can start with any project you like. The presentation of the Labo software is fantastic. The instructions are essentially a 3D video that pauses where you can rotate and pinch in to view how to to it. Since it is a video it is very easy to go back some steps or forward if you already got the gist of it. There is also some cute writing in the instructions if you read it.
Every project has a colour coded set of sheets. These sheets all are printed on one side to assist with creating the projects. They are designed so that no external equipment (bar some string, bands, eyelets and reflective tape that come in the box) are needed. All projects are made by popping out the pieces it asks. Then folding them to the instructions until they slot in together. This makes it both safer for children and harder to mess up.
The RC Cars are the simplest of the projects taking an estimated time of ten minutes. They themselves are only made of one piece. With an antennae for the Nintendo Switch that does nothing. The second car is not printed on which makes it easier to decorate. There are also custom parts on the sheet such as a bulldozer or an elephant front.
After making a project the play section for it opens up. The RC Cars are controlled by the HD Rumble of the joy-cons. You tap the joycon on screen to move each one to move it. The vibrations of the Joy-Con travel to the funny legs to propel it. You can adjust the speed of it, however higher speeds might not work. Opening the middle section is where there is access to the IR camera. You cannot take captures when the IR camera is open probably for privacy reasons.
There is a two player mode available which is why another RC Car is packed in. This does require four Joy-Cons (two left, two right). Both players have to sit near each other to control their car as it is screen controlled. Pressing the bell in the middle starts a timer where you compete to tip each other’s car over first. This mode is okay however after adding the extra parts we found it quite difficult and ended up just getting stuck on each other. There is opportunity to invent your own games as I saw some people made a race course and used the RC Cars to make a soccer game.
After playing with a toy-con, the discover section for it opens up. This is where you converse with the characters Plaise, Lerna and Professor Gerry. I always made sure to pick the sassy dialogue options. In here you learn more about each toy-con, before taking a quiz on everything you’ve learnt. With the RC Cars it explains how it works, the camera mode, customisation, custom parts, sumo mode and more.
It also teaches how to activate self driving mode, where using the IR camera the car steers itself to either a heat source or reflective tape. The kit comes with little flags that you attach the reflective circle stickers to.
When the mode is activated it will then follow the nearest flag it can see and move towards it. It does however, have a short field of view. You can also use marker stickers or reflective tape to create a path for it to follow along.
One very important thing I learned from the Arts & Crafts discover section is to put a toy-con together before decorating. Especially before painting as the paint can warp the cardboard and make it nearly impossible to put together. Also keep your cardboard sheets in case you need to make replacement parts.
The Labo is for Laboratory
The RC Cars are the easiest to make and decorate. While the simplest, it could be the most played with depending on the child. My sister particularly loved the RC Car largely because she could have one of her own!
Thank you for a very informative post Paige. I was considering purchasing this for my children, but I was wondering if there was a danger of being overun with cardboard. I’m a father of 5, soon to be 6, so the house is rather crammed with stuff as it is. 🙂
Right, you wouldn’t want to build an extension to the house just to store the things they make!
All the completed projects together do take up quite a bit of space. Half the kitchen table if that’s how I can measure it.