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 be talking about the House. Please check out my first post where I gave an overview of the Labo software and process while talking about the RC Cars. My previous posts about the Fishing Rod, House and Motorbike are also available.
After making the Fishing Rod the first day I started on the Piano soon after. It has an estimated completion time of 150-210 minutes. My boyfriend helped me make it so it didn’t take quite that long. This projects has six steps, the first of which the main body. First the joy-con holder is made, then a few other pieces are made to form the base and walls. The side lever is made with use of marking stickers and the rubber band. After that the keyboard box is made, with one piece and others placed in it. There are also a couple of marker stickers on the back of that, the box sits right into the front.
The keyboard has thirteen keys in it, the five black keys being first. All keys have a marker sticker at the back and sit on top of a wall in the keyboard box. Then the white keys are made, some of which are different shapes. My boyfriend figured it out and made the rest of the keys very quickly. All the white keys use a folded up strip of cardboard to make a spring. Some of them have some folded cardboard to add weight to them.
After all the keys the screen holder is made with a triangular shape. Three springs with marker stickers are put in the piano, before attaching the holder to the main body with tabs. Finally the piano itself is complete. However, there are four dials that need to be made. The marker stickers on each one are different but they are all made the same.
The right joy-con sits in the holder at the back, with the IR camera facing inwards. The Piano mode of play is rather straightforward. Pressing the keys emits a sound from the switch. The four different dials change what kind of sound comes out. The first makes cat sounds, then a choir and grandpas. The round dial is acoustic mode, which vibrates the left joy-con to the keys. Putting the joy-con on the piano or another hollow surface makes it sound better. The side lever can be lifted up or down to allow for more notes. The play button, plays a few different songs. Pressing the record button in this mode makes a different sound effect but does nothing else.
To the Studio!
The Studio contains features that were too complex to include in the Toy Piano mode. It allows you to record one song. Eight takes can be recorded onto the one song. You can also create a rhythm card to add drums. The IR scanner detects which holes are not punched out to create the sound. Using the shape of the cards, you can make a wave form to change the sound’s timbre. Two pre-made ones are included on sheet D.
In the studio mode, the dials are different. 1 changes the volume, 2 changes the “hardness and softness” and 3 changes the reverb. There is a toy-con baton on sheet G, it uses the left joy-con and also needs the strap. This is used to change the tempo of your previously recorded song. You can use all of these features together to create a song to your liking.
As with any of the toy-con creations, heading to the discover section is a must. Not only does it teach you how the piano works, but how to use certain things too. It also contains tips on what to fix when certain things aren’t working. This section explains the drum cards and even shows there is a box on the motorbike’s sheets to hold the hole pieces. Also it teaches that each row on the sheet is a different drum part.
Going through the discover section even explains a little bit about how sound works. It teaches how the speed of vibration changes the sound, and what a waveform is. After this Plaise tries to copy the violin waveform. He learns we have to use the envelope dial (number 2) to match it’s change in volume to be like a violin.
To the tune of
The toy-con piano is easily the most complicated and feature filled of the variety kit. It has the potential for getting the most use. This of course depends on who is using it, my little sister got bored of it far more quickly than the others. I don’t have much of a musical understanding so it doesn’t hold my attention much either. While I imagine some people might have bought the variety kid for this alone I couldn’t say that’s the best choice. If you want a keyboard it would better up to save for the extra money. However if you’re unsure you or your child wants one, but do know you want Labo, this is one way to test that. Plus many musically inclined people have been having fun with it, as it presents a challenge.
Here are a couple of examples: