Nintendo raised a lot of eyebrows last month when it announced Nintendo Labo, a new kind of “experience” that players can build and use with their Switch. While DIY software in itself is hardly a novel concept, what makes Labo particularly unique is that it comes packaged with pieces of cardboard and other assorted crafts, which can be fashioned into a number of different peripherals, such as a fishing rod or a miniature piano, and used in conjunction with the Switch console and Joy-Cons.
Of course, it’s difficult to fully wrap your head around Labo without experiencing it for yourself, and you may still have questions about how it all works. If you’re confused over what exactly Nintendo Labo is and how you play it, we’ve got you covered. In the video above, we break down exactly what it is you do with Nintendo Labo and how your cardboard creations are able to interact with the Switch.
Labo is available in two different kits, each of which includes several sheets of cardboard paper and other materials you need to build Toy-Cons, the cardboard objects you use to play Labo’s various activities. The cardboard is already perforated, so assembling your Toy-Con is simply a matter of popping out the pieces (carefully, as the cardboard is fairly thin) and following the step-by-step instructions displayed on the Switch screen to put them together.
Every Toy-Con you create has a slot for your Joy-Cons, and it uses these controllers in various ways to interact with the Labo software. The RC Car, for instance, “drives” around by using the Joy-Cons’ HD rumble. Other constructions, like the Piano, have strips of IR tape that are read by the right Joy-Con’s camera to determine which note to play when you press a certain key. Similarly, the House Toy-Con comes with a variety of plugs that can be inserted into either of its sides, which will cause something different to happen on the Switch screen.
For a better idea of how the game works, be sure to watch our hands-on footage of Nintendo Labo. We got to build several Toy-Cons and played all five of the activities in the Labo Variety Kit: RC Car, Fishing Pole, House, Motorbike, and Piano. You can also watch us try out the Robot Kit, which has players strap on a Toy-Con backpack to control an on-screen robot.
Nintendo Labo releases in the US and Australia on April 20, while it arrives in Europe on April 27. Both the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit will be available at launch; the former will cost $70 USD / £60 / $100 AUD, while the latter retails for $80 USD / £70 / $120 AUD. Nintendo will also release a separate Customization Set that includes stencils, stickers, and colored tape to customize your Toy-Cons.