Community Review: Nintendo Labo

Community Review: Nintendo Labo

For this week’s Community Review, let’s just stop and reflect on the fact that you can buy a console in 2018. That interfaces with cardboard.

The immediate principle of attaching sheets of cardboard, which seem incredibly flimsy and prone to breakage, to a $450 console seems a tad insane. And yet, there’s a genius to it that kids absolutely adore.

I got a message from a friend over the weekend, whose two kids love the Switch more than life itself. One’s five, the other three. According to my mate, his kids walked themselves through the entire process for installing the fishing rod, and played with it for hours on end.

“The genius doesn’t fully reveal itself until you start putting the thing together, and realise it’s teaching kids more than LEGO or Meccano actually does,” my mate, thoroughly impressed with his purchase, said.

Of course, it helps if your kids aren’t destructive. A quick check of Mark “Don’t Have Kids” Serrels revealed exactly what anyone would have expected: his kids ruined one of the Labo toys. Given that they managed to wedge 3DS cartridges into a PS4 and broke a Splatoon disk, I’m not surprised.

So, Labo isn’t for all families.

But as Stephen wrote in his review, the cardboard is incredibly intuitive. “You can only fully appreciate these models when you make them: a cardboard fishing rod looks cool, but when you’ve assembled it yourself, assembling the telescopic rod, wrapping elastic bands around a reel and inserting a cardboard tab so that it makes a satisfying clacking sound, you fully appreciate how it works,” he wrote.

Nintendo Labo: The Kotaku Review

The first question you might have about Labo is. What's so special about a box of cardboard and some mini-games? And the first thing to understand about Labo is that what's actually in the box is only part of the appeal.

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Print Your Own Labo Parts

Already destroyed the cardboard accessories from your Labo? That was fast, I'm impressed. Don't worry, Nintendo have PDF copies of all of the Labo templates on their website so you can print out new ones.

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For those who shelled out on Labo last week, how have you found it so far? And more importantly, did your toys survive?


  • My kids are 3 and 5 and totally not up for putting it together, but loooooove the house and Mr 5 loves the motorbike too.

    Putting them together is quite fun, they are incredibly clever they way it all works. I think we’ll work on another one tonight, maybe fishing. We’ve had fun doing it in little bits and then enjoying what we’ve made for awhile.

    • At least they can enjoy aspects of it. My daughter is 6 months, and I’m desperate for her to get old enough to justify getting this. X.x 😛

  • I had a busy weekend and didn’t get to play with my Labo kit much. I managed to build the RC car and used it to chase the cats around the lounge room for a while.

    I was impressed with how Nintendo made use of the Switch’s hardware for something as simple as attaching the Joy Cons to some cardboard and buzzing them around on the floor. You can use the IR port in the right Joy Con as a camera (that works in the dark), and there are reflective stickers that the IR port can automatically track to, so you can make the car follow a course. There’s lots of potential to get really creative with a very simple toy.

    The software is fantastic with nice clear instructions for building stuff. The “Discover” part is really fun and takes you through all the different functions of a toy and explains how everything works.

    I have no kids and unashamedly bought this kit for myself. Part of me was thinking “are you nuts buying cardboard to stick to a video games console?” but it is totally worth it if you like building/crafting, trying stuff out and being creative. I can see why kids would go nuts for this. I can’t wait to build the piano!

  • MrsBS and I got the RC cars and the fishing rod done. It’s a real marvel how it comes together to work with the switch. MrsBS is loving the crafting angle of it as well.

  • Put the RC car, fishing rod and house together for the kids (5 and 7). The 5 yr old has already stressed some of the parts for the house, she got over enthusiastic with one of the mini games. I’m going to have to reinforce them with something.
    As an adult playing them, they’re a great novelty and done very well. The girls really enjoy the house, more than the fishing.

  • Thank you Nintendo for posting these online over the weekend, time to fire up the laser nd cut some extra cardboard sheets out

    and make some acrylic versions as well

  • The genius doesn’t fully reveal itself until you start putting the thing together, and realise it’s teaching kids more than LEGO or Meccano actually does.

    Seriously? Your mate needs his head checked. Confirmation bias methinks.

    • Unless you’re building Mindstorms or the really expensive Technic sets, Lego actually teaches very little in how things work.

      • Depends what you are building, but it certainly taught my childhood self a lot about estimating lengths, load-bearing capacities, leverage, area, structural support, creativity, resource management, role-playing, following visual instructions, substitution and perhaps most importantly, improvisation. That’s leaving aside the Lego motor, which taught me a lot about locomotion.

        The idea that a Nintendo Switch and a few bits of cardboard could approach the depth learning that a decent Lego collection could provide is preposterous. Your mileage may vary, of course.

        • Dude. Seriously? It’s ironic that you mentioned confirmation bias. You seriously listed all that stuff out!

          You sound like a really smart dude with way too much time on his hands. So do something with it. Make something positive happen with that big brain of yours buddy!

          • I like to keep people guessing. Will I make a flippant, off-the-cuff remark? Or will I write a long-winded and considered response? Who knows!? Just be yourself, I say.

  • Lol bought Mt nephew the robot set he likes it but this is toy for the rich for sure. The price is nothing short of ridiculous

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