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Here’s Our First Look at Nintendo Labo, the Most Fun You’ll Ever Have With a Bunch of Cardboard

A couple months ago, Nintendo proved once again that they’re not afraid to experiment. With Nintendo Labo, they managed to turn sheets of cardboard into their next big contribution to video games. Labo is a new series of play sets made for the Nintendo Switch that the company plans to launch in April. Each set contains the cardboard and building materials needed to create all kinds of toys, from cars to pianos to giant robot suits, that can be brought to life using the Switch and the console’s two Joy-Con controllers.

In San Francisco last week, Nintendo held a demo event to show us exactly how Labo works. We were able to build a couple of the cardboard Toy-Cons ourselves, try out all of the Labo toys that Nintendo will be releasing in April, and even got a look at Nintendo’s latest addition to Labo — the Toy-Con Garage, which lets you build Labo toys out of anything you have laying around the house!

The Joy-Con controllers fit into the slots, and vibrate to make the cardboard legs scoot along a surface.

We started out with a couple Toy-Cons from the Variety Kit. The remote-controlled car is the simplest one to build — it’s made from one piece of cardboard, with a small second piece providing a decorative RC antenna on the Switch. The cardboard pieces pop out of the sheets easily, and the Labo game that comes with the kit walks you through the process of folding the cardboard to create the car.

The instructions are really well done. At any point, you can fast-forward or rewind as fast or slow as you want by dragging your finger. Need to see the flip side of the model? You can rotate it on screen and zoom in or out. It’s really beginner friendly, which is key — some of the other Toy-Cons are a lot more complex.

Like, say, the fishing rod. The rod and reel have loads of cardboard pieces that need to fit together just right, requiring little plastic bolts to hold some pieces together. Best part? All the pieces fit together just right. Building the fishing rod, I was really impressed by how well-designed it was — tabs fit perfectly into slots and some ingenious folds help to keep the whole thing together without adding too many extra parts. Oh, and no need to throw out the leftover cardboard sheets once all the pieces have been popped out — they can be used as stencils for if one of your Toy-Cons gets destroyed, which, since we’re dealing with kids here, seems likely!

Next page: Playing with the Toy-Cons

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