The Nintendo Switch is already a unique console because of its hybrid design, which allows gamers to plop the system into a dock and play games on their big screen TV, or use it as a mobile system and game on the go. It's also proven highly popular, with Nintendo having to crank up production to meet demand. Even so, the Switch is about to become even more unique and potentially more popular once Nintendo rolls out its cardboard Labo kits in April. At $70 (and up) a pop, are they worth it?
Kids and adults alike will answer that question beginning next month. In the meantime, Nintendo is hoping to drum up some excitement by holding events for handpicked YouTubers and bloggers to try out its Labo kits before everyone else. One of the people it selected is Rich Demuro, host of Tech Smart, a tech show that airs on KTLA, a local news affiliate based in Los Angeles. Demuro brought along his young son.
According to Demuro, you can think of Labo as a cardboard version of Lego, but with clearer instructions. That's because you can zoom in and out of the on-screen instructions, and rotate the image 360 degrees to see exactly how everything is supposed to go together.
Demuro and his son built a radio controlled car, which is part of a $70 Variety kit that Nintendo plans to offer. While the building and playing aspects are the main draws, Demuro said there is learning angle that shouldn't be understated.
"Each toy gets its magic through a series of integrations with the Nintendo Switch. For instance, on the RC car we built there is a little IR camera in the controller that can make the car follow you around. In the piano, kids learn that it can change tunes by 'seeing' different reflective tapes on the cardboard plugs they insert," Demuro said.
In addition to an RC car, other items in the Variety kit include a fishing rod, house, motorbike, and piano. Separately, Nintendo also plans to sell an $80 Robot kit with cardboard items to build an interactive robot suit. And therein lies the rub—these are expensive price tags for cardboard kits, though Nintendo is hoping that buyers will see the value in building, playing, and learning.
That remains to be seen. Demuro seemed to really like the overall experience, though he did question the durability of cardboard kits and whether they could stand up to heavy play sessions. The answer will come soon enough, as these kits will be made available starting April 20.