Back when the Nintendo Wii was at the height of popularity, it was accompanied by a variety of accessories from tennis rackets to wheels. It gave the Wii controllers a little more shape, and provided more of an immersive gaming experience. Following the launch of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, Nintendo has announced Nintendo Labo – cardboard-based accessories for the Nintendo Switch.
Here, you’ll find out everything you need to know about Nintendo Labo including the UK release date, pricing and everything that Nintendo Labo can do.
Nintendo has since announced a new Toy-Con Garage Mode which allows you to code Labo yourself and do almost anything with it. We've tested Garage Mode out ourselves, along with the rest of the Variety Kit and Robot Kit - read our Labo preview to find out what we thought.
Nintendo Labo release date news
So, when will Nintendo’s cardboard creations be available to buy in the UK? The good news is that we don’t have too long to wait – although those in London have an opportunity to get a sneak peek much sooner.
As confirmed by Nintendo, the Nintendo Variety and Robot Labo kits will be made available to buy in the UK on 27 April 2018, a week later than in the US (20 April 2018). It’s worth noting that there are Toy-Cons featured in Nintendo’s reveal trailer (seen above) that aren’t available in these packs, so it’s safe to say that there will be more coming to market soon.
How much does Nintendo Labo cost in the UK?
The most important question is to do with price – how much will Nintendo Labo cost in the UK? It is made from cheap cardboard as opposed to plastic, after all. Following the announcement of the accessory packs, Nintendo announced that the Variety Kit will set users back £59.99/$69.99, while the Robot Kit is slightly more at £69.99/$79.99.
Those interested can also pick up an £8.99/$9.99 customisation set with stickers, tape and stencils to customise your cardboard kits.
Of course, being made out of cardboard, the Nintendo Labo accessories aren't the most durable on the market. Prior to launch, this made some fans nervous: would they have to fork out another £60/£70 if they break the cardboard fishing rod, or crush the robo-backpack? Thankfully, it won't be the case.
It seems Nintendo itself is aware of the low durability of its latest product, and has started offering replacement parts of its' DIY kit on the Nintendo Store in the US, where Labo is already available. The accessories aren't that expensive either; spare parts start at only $1.99 each.
We imagine that it'll also be the case for those in the UK once Labo is released on 27 April, but will have to confirm at launch.
It's worth noting that you can't simply buy replacement parts and hope to have the Nintendo Labo experience - the kits come with a game cartridge, something not available from the replacement parts section of the store.
What can I do with Nintendo Labo?
The big question is what can you do with Nintendo Labo? As showcased in the reveal trailer seen at the top of this article, Nintendo Labo offers a range of cardboard accessories to enhance your Switch gaming experience.
In a nutshell, Nintendo is set to sell two Switch games with their own DIY construction kits – one with a variety of accessories, or Toy-Cons as Nintendo calls them, and one that is specifically about robots.
You simply pop the cartridge into your Nintendo Switch and follow the Lego-esque step-by-step instructions on-screen to build your cardboard accessories. All the accessories are flat-packed to begin with, and can take anywhere from 5 minutes to two hours to install – especially when it comes to the more complex accessories like the telescopic fishing rod or the wearable exoskeleton.
While it sounds pretty cool on the surface, it’s how Nintendo is achieving this level of connectivity using cardboard that is most impressive.
Have you, like us, wondered how the Nintendo Switch can play notes from a cardboard piano? Rather than somehow utilising the Joy-Con’s HD Rumble, it uses the right Joy-Con’s IR camera to read the internal workings of the keyboard and translate those notes to the console.
The Joy-Cons really are at the centre of Toy-Cons, and can be used in new and inventive ways. Want to build a cardboard robot? Pop it out of the flat-packed cardboard, tape a Joy-Con to the rear and watch as the controller’s vibration motor makes it move.
And, being cardboard, it should be fairly easy to customise, repair and replace your Toy-Cons if/when they get damaged. Nintendo has confirmed that it’ll send out replacement parts, but you could just as easily glue/stick it back together with sellotape. It really is an interesting, environmentally friendly way to introduce gamers to a whole host of new accessories.
Since the initial announcement, Nintendo has introduced the Toy-Con Garage Mode for Labo. In a nutshell this will enable players to create their own way to use and play with the Labo accessories.
In what is a fun way to do a sort of coding, Labo uses will be able to control 'nodes' for both input, middle and output so you can decide what happens when you do certain things. It works in a similar way to 'if this then that' (ITTT).
"For example, an input node could be gently shaking the Joy-Con controller, a middle node could be a certain number of times shaken, and an output node could trigger a sound effect or a blinking light when the two previous actions occur," said Nintendo.
The possibilities are almost endless so you could use the Labo fishing rod as a musical instrument or use the piano to steer the RC car.
Watch the first three episodes of Toy-Con Garage to see what's possible: