Nintendo released Toy Con Labo 01 and Nintendo Toy Con 02 Robo kit about 6 months ago now to a pretty good reception even though this was all about making things out of cardboard. I enjoyed the Toy Con kit 01 as it meant I could make a piano and enjoy it with my 3 year old daughter. A little walking robot and a house that she could not get enough of. It was an innovative idea at the time but one that came with software which was a little limited and didn’t have much of a gaming experience included for the price, but it was neat for sure and we got many good hours out of it.
Here then we take a look at the newest kit from Nintendo and one I was quite looking forward too albeit not as much as the first time around purely because I was about to build a bunch of peripherals to control a car, submarine, and a plane in a game. To be honest, I would have preferred to build the car, plane, and submarine – ok, so maybe that was wishful thinking seeing as flying and going underwater may not have been the best thing for the cardboard. Before you begin to even think about investing in Labo Toy-Con 3, I am going to get some of the negatives that I came across out the way and then focus on the positives.
Time is of the essence
To make the most out of this kit, you are going to have to build the pedal, steering wheel, and controls for the plane and submarine to get the most out of the open world game where you can control these vehicles. Nintendo state around 8 hours to complete these and with a 3 year old it took us about 6 hours or so to be fair. Bear in mind Nintendo aims this product at children of the ages of 6+ but with adult supervision, my 3 year old daughter was folding and putting bits together in no time at all. I just think that 6-8 hours is a rather long time to get the most out of this and my child would get bored after an hour and we would have to take a break and come back to it the next day or so. No big deal as we just took our time with it. If anything it was probably me being the one getting impatient!
Storage can be a problem
The next negative is storage. These peripherals, when built, take a lot of space and these are not easy to take apart and put away. Even if you do have a lot of storage space I am not sure who is going to want these large bits of cardboard lying around. I mean, don’t get me wrong they look great but if you are going to chuck them in the loft or storage space then they can easily get damaged. Our first Labo kit is by and large either stored in the loft or parts of it in my daughters room.
Still too expensive?
The genius of Labo for us was having all these cool things that you could mess around with, like the robot or piano in Toy- Con Labo 1, but in this kit these toys are specifically designed to control a car, plane and submarine on a screen which is just not the same. Put too much weight on the pedal with my heavy foot and I am flattening this thing. Then there is the price, Nintendo still wants £59,99 for cardboard and an ok gaming experience but we will get onto that later. I do feel that building peripherals to control vehicles within a game is not the same as having to build actual toys which you can play with away from the TV Screen using your switch.
A Father & Daughter Experience
Let’s get onto what Labo really does well and has done well from day one. For me it was always about sharing this building experience with someone and for me, it is my daughter. Something we could both do together and something where she could learn a few things too. Something she would talk about for days afterwards. When I would drop her off to the nursery before work she would tell her minders how Daddy and she spent the day building things together and how she could use her colouring pens to make our creations unique. I enjoyed every minute explaining to her what steps we needed to take next and the Labo instructions are second to none and super simple to follow. The video instructions allow you to zoom in and out, turn the plans 360, and allow you to rewind or fast forward at your leisure.
This for me is what Labo is all about and where for me the most enjoyment came from, that pure bonding experience which brings people together. Once your peripherals are built which include a steering wheel, key, controls for a plane and controls for a submarine. All you need is a key to use which is one of the joycons itself used in a cardboard surround which looks like a key and then used to insert into the controller of your choice. The game which comes with the Labo kit is pretty good in that you get to play a number of mini games and control the vehicles in an open world space so exploration is fun enough but ultimately quite a shallow experience. The fact only one of you can play at a time is a real shame for me as it would have been even better had both of us been able to play the game together.
Overall I think Labo as an experience is really good and one that really can’t be beaten if you can share this with someone and for me, it was wonderful sharing it with my daughter. It is still a very innovative and creative idea. Some may buy this for their older children and leave them to it and I am sure they will have a great time putting everything together. There are for me some negatives though which may or may not put you off when spending the best part of 60 quid.