No other company is better at thinking outside of the box than Nintendo, in fact they have got so good at it that they have figured out how to get people playing with the box with their latest stroke of genius Labo.

More toy than videogame, Labo sees the Switch housed in all kinds of cardboard contraptions called Toy-Con which players build and personalise, before taking on a simple series of games and challenges in the included software.   

At launch there are two sets available. The Variety (read: starter) set and the much more advanced Robot.

The variety set contains a piano, fishing rod, house, motorbike handlebars and RC car, which players can construct and then use to play a series of basic mini games.     

Meanwhile, the Robot Kit contains everything players need to construct the complex controller used for the much more involved robot game that sees players use their entire body to control an onscreen robot.   

Half of the fun with Labo is making the Toy-Con themselves, which is fortunate because aside from the RC car, each takes several hours to construct, the robot kit took me almost as much time to put together as I have playing with it thus far.  

The make section of the included software in each set gives you detailed instructions on how to put the Toy-Con together - allowing you to see the Toy Con from all angles and follow the instructions at your own pace.

The resulting Toy-Con are fairly robust and Nintendo have used high quality printed cardboard in the sets. But if anything does break, or you want to try building new Toy-Cons out of different materials, or simply need a replacement part, all of the templates for the sets are available to download.

Once the Toy-Con have been put together each set offers a variety of games which work with each model.


The piano is used with a simple studio that allows you to record simple jingles and tunes, the model comes with several nobs that change the sound of the piano including making it sound like a cat, and a grumbly old man.

The only downside is there’s no kind of tutor to teach players some basic songs.

The fishing rod is used with a rather fun little game which sees you trying to catch fish from deep under the sea. It requires patience and surprising amount of skill, especially if you want to hook the elusive sharks lurking in the ship wrecks at the bottom.

All the fish you catch are then sent to an in-game aquarium (don’t worry they don’t eat each other) and then in an interesting twist you can also use the waveform scanner in the piano to create your own fish which are then added to your aquarium as well as the fishing game.

The Handlebars are used for a simple racing game which handles a lot like a stripped-down version of Mario Kart without the power ups. You can also use the Joycon IR camera to scan objects to turn into tracks. This is quite fun but, I think it would have been better if they had allowed you to simply build your tracks with an editor.

The house on the other hand sees you taking care of a little creature inside a house. Depending on where you place the three buttons in the home, you unlock different minigames to win fruit and sweets to feed your little pet, these include a nifty little bowling game and fun mine craft game that sees the weird critter avoiding bombs while trying to collect jellybeans.  

Meanwhile, once you have constructed the Robot you are ready to tear a city apart as a giant robot. As someone with a love of Godzilla movies and Rampage, using full body motion controls to trash a city is my idea of an afternoon well spent.

What’s more due to some ingenious use of string to work the robot’s arms and legs, one size really does fit all. (I’m 6’5 and it worked fine).

Each of the mini games packed with the kits are fun but are a bit shallow and ultimately will have limited appeal to adults. Kids no doubt will be amused for a little while longer by the built-in games, but if you only play what’s provided in each pack you are missing out on what is arguably the most exciting part of the Labo experience – Garage

At the bottom of the Design Section is a manhole cover, click on that and you enter the Labo Garage.

Each set has a different Garage with specific commands that relate to the Toy-Con included and allows players to create their own experiences using simple drop-down commands and linking them together by using the touchscreen.      

It’s incredibly easy to use and is a great way to teach children (and even adults) the basics of programming. What’s even more exciting though is the fact that it can be used to make all sorts of fun games without the need for cardboard at all, as well as power whole new Toy-Cons made by the community.

Overall though whether Labo is worth it, depends entirely on how old you are, ( I have no doubt that children will go mad for it) and whether you are the kind of person who likes building, tinkering things and making your own fun.

The supplied games are all fun but have limited appeal, However the garage could potentially give players endless fun - coming up with concepts, building new Toy-Con out of cereal boxes and exploring the limits of the Switch hardware and their Swiss Army Knife controllers. 

Clever, cool, and just a little bit crazy - Labo is tons of fun for kids and big kids alike.