CES 2018 just came to a close, and although there’s always an astounding bevy of tech on display, as a parent, one of my favorite genres available are the build-able/programmable robots to teach kids basic construction, design, coding, and the like. Well, looks like Nintendo is about to release Nintendo Labo, their own spin on that idea, with (most likely) much less coding, but plenty of building and playing to be done.
If you happen to have a Nintendo Switch (or needed a little more motivation to get one), these add-on do-it-yourself kits will bring a lot more functionality and a bit of creativity to your system. Just build the systems, and insert your Switch and Joy-Con controllers, and now you’ll have Toy-
Con creations to play with.
“Nintendo Labo continues our longstanding mission of making people smile by surprising them with new experiences,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and COO. “It is an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform – one designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination in people of all ages.”
Nintendo Labo launches on April 20 with two kits: the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit. With the Variety Kit, you can create many different Toy-Con, including two Toy-Con RC Cars, a Toy-Con Fishing Rod, a Toy-Con House, a Toy-Con Motorbike and a Toy-Con Piano. With the Robot Kit, you can build an interactive robot suit with a visor, backpack and straps for your hands and feet, which you can then wear to assume control of a giant in-game robot. Both kits include everything you need to assemble your Toy-Con creations, including the building materials and relevant Nintendo Switch software. The Variety Kit will be available at a suggested retail price of $69.99, and the Robot Kit will be available at a suggested retail price of $79.99. A special Customization Set that includes fun stencils, stickers and colored tape will also be available to purchase on April 20 at a suggested retail price of $9.99.
So what do you get as part of each of those kits? Quite a bit, but mostly you’ll be paying for a unique family experience.
Toy-Con RC Car: Insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into your newly built RC Car and control its movement using touch screen controls on the Nintendo Switch console. The HD Rumble feature in the Joy-Con controllers will cause vibrations that move the car in the direction you choose. Materials to construct two RC Cars are included.
Toy-Con Fishing Rod: Construct the Fishing Rod with an active, rotating reel that is attached by string to a cradle holding the Nintendo Switch console. Catch one of many exotic fish shown swimming on the Nintendo Switch screen by casting your Fishing Rod and unwinding the reel to lower the hook. Once you feel a vibration from the Joy-Con inserted in the reel, you must tug the Fishing Rod upward and crank the reel quickly to try and complete the catch!
Toy-Con House: By inserting various assembled blocks into openings in the sides and bottom of the House, you can interact with, play games with and feed a cute creature on the front-facing Nintendo Switch screen. Each differently shaped block is detected by the IR Motion Camera on the Right Joy-Con inserted on top of the House.
Toy-Con Motorbike: Insert each Joy-Con into an assembled set of handlebars to drive a motorbike on the Nintendo Switch screen. Pressing the ignition button starts the engine, while twisting the right handle activates the throttle. Leaning your body or turning the handlebars left and right controls the motorbike.
Toy-Con Piano: After assembling a beautifully crafted 13-key piano and inserting the Nintendo Switch
console and Joy-Con, you can experiment with your own musical creations by pressing different keys. You can even insert different assembled knobs to create new sound effects and tones!
Toy-Con Robot: Create a wearable Robot suit, and insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into the designated slots on the backpack and visor to assume control of the robot, which is shown on the TV when the Nintendo Switch console is docked. Enjoy a variety of fun game-play experiences, including Robot mode, in which you can destroy in-game buildings and UFOs.