Nin­tendo Labo Va­ri­ety Kit

Ma Make and play with these in­no­va­tive new toys

Computer Active (UK) - - Contents -

The Switch (£279 from Ama­zon www.snipca.com/27813) has re-es­tab­lished Nin­tendo as the video-game com­pany for fam­ily fun. It con­nects to a TV, but can also be un­docked and car­ried around, giv­ing you a tablet-like screen to play on and proper joy­sticks to twid­dle.

Labo takes the whole thing even fur­ther with a set of card­board mod­els that in­te­grate with the Switch’s de­tach­able Joy-con con­trollers to cre­ate the kind of smart toys that kids (of all ages, from eight to 80) could pre­vi­ously only dream of.

There are two ini­tial Toy-con sets: the Va­ri­ety Kit, with five desk­top-size mod­els, and the Ro­bot Kit (£70 from Ama­zon www.snipca.com/27810). The lat­ter cre­ates a full-size back­pack at­tached by strings to arm and leg sen­sors so you can stomp around in real life con­trol­ling a gi­ant ro­bot on the screen.

Con­struct­ing each Toy-con is part of the fun and a chal­lenge, po­ten­tially tak­ing a cou­ple of hours apiece. If you’re think­ing about get­ting Labo to share with the grand­kids, rest as­sured that the in­struc­tions will see you through. There’s also a grow­ing Youtube chan­nel with tips and tu­to­ri­als ( www.snipca. com/27844).

The pi­ano, re­mote-con­trol car, mo­tor­bike, house and fish­ing rod each have their own ac­tiv­i­ties. House is the most enig­matic, sup­plied with three tools that you in­sert to feed a vir­tual mon­ster that lives inside. Mo­tor­bike is a pair of han­dle­bars that you can use to race around tracks. You can scan your own tracks, drawn on pa­per, into the game. The RC Car uses vi­brat­ing Joy-cons in­stead of wheels to scut­tle around un­der your con­trol.

Ex­plor­ing fur­ther reveals that Toy-cons can in­ter­act, pro­duc­ing new on-screen ob­jects and en­vi­ron­ments. When you’re ready to go fur­ther still, the Toy-con Garage lets you set ac­tions – for ex­am­ple, make one Joy-con vi­brate when you shake an­other – to cre­ate your own ac­tiv­i­ties, maybe even with your own DIY toys. All they need is places to slot in the Joy-cons.

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS

Set of five card­board toys • Re­quires Nin­tendo Switch • Recommended for ages three and over • In­cludes strings, eye­lets, rub­ber bands • No glue or cut­ting re­quired www.snipca.com/27814

VERDICT: An in­no­va­tive idea bril­liantly re­alised, Labo is a must-have for ev­ery Switch owner and an­other rea­son to buy one ★★★★★ AL­TER­NA­TIVE: Labo Ro­bot Kit £70 For kids sev­e­nen and up, this back­pack and vi­sor puts you in the ac­tion and makes gam­ingng phys­i­cal

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