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Overview

Building a Toy-Con with Labo's step-by-step interactive 3D instructions
Building a Toy-Con with Labo's step-by-step interactive 3D instructions

Nintendo Labo Variety Kit is a construction toy and complementary software suite developed by Nintendo EPD and published for Switch in April 2018. Players follow the included software's interactive instructions to build five different projects using cardboard cut-outs and other materials, which are assembled in conjunction with the Switch's display unit and Joy-Con controllers. Once built, these "Toy-Con" devices can interact with the kit's software in various ways, such as a fishing game controlled with a fishing rod peripheral or a simple musical keyboard.

The Variety Kit is the first of the two initial Nintendo Labo sets, the second being the Robot Kit.

Toy-Con Projects

Each of the Variety Kit's five main Toy-Con projects comes with its own set of step-by-step interactive 3D instructions and specialized software applications, as well as different estimated completion times which vary depending upon the complexity of the build.

The Variety Kit's packaging suggests that this product is suitable for children ages six and up, but also mentions that "adult assistance may be required" due to the fine motor skills needed during certain steps of the construction process.

RC Car

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This simple yet unorthodox remote-controlled vehicle is powered by the rumble feature of the Switch's two Joy-Con controllers and maneuvered with touch controls shown on the system's separated display unit. The right Joy-Con's built-in infrared motion camera is used to detect nearby objects, and the car can be set to drive itself along a path using flags marked with special reflective stickers.

The Variety Kit includes materials to build a second RC car if two pairs of Joy-Con are available. This allows two players to race against one another, or they can engage in a sumo-style versus match by attempting to flip over the other player's car with their own.

  • Completion time: 10 minutes (per car)

Fishing Rod

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After building the telescoping reel peripheral and its attached "Ocean" display unit cradle, users can play a fishing game that utilizes the two Joy-Con controllers' motion input features to mimic the act of hooking and reeling in a live catch. The reel is connected by a string to the Ocean, a separate box containing a spool that provides tension on the reel by winding and unwinding a rubber band.

The Toy-Con Piano (if also built separately) can be set to Aquarium mode, allowing players to view their previous catches or create custom fish via the Piano's card reader slot.

  • Completion time: 1.5-2.5 hours

House

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A diorama of a single-room house built using the Switch's display unit and the right Joy-Con. A mysterious creature inhabits the House and can be interacted with as a virtual pet in several ways, such as shaking the House, tilting it to one side, or using the touch screen to feed the creature treats.

This Toy-Con also comes with a set of four "Block" accessories (Button, Crank, Key and Cable) that enable further interactions when inserted into one of the three "window holes" on the left, right and bottom sides of the House. Inserting a particular Block into different windows can create different effects, and combining multiple Blocks at once may completely alter the state of the room, including enabling a number of different minigames that can be played to earn additional treats for the creature.

  • Completion time: 2-3 hours

Motorbike

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This arcade-style Toy-Con simulates driving a motorbike by twisting the Joy-Con in the right handle to accelerate and tilting the handlebars along the central column (or physically leaning into turns) to steer; raising the entire Toy-Con while driving performs a wheelie maneuver. The Switch's display unit is positioned between the two Joy-Con handlebars and shows the racecourse. A single-player Grand Prix mode is included for competitive racing.

Players can generate custom in-game terrain with the "Scanner" accessory, which uses the right Joy-Con's IR camera to scan objects. Additionally, the "Minibike" accessory can be used to create custom circuit tracks by tracing paths in 3D space with the left Joy-Con.

  • Completion time: 1.5-2.5 hours

Piano

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Arguably the most complex of the Variety Kit's five projects, this functional toy piano uses the right Joy-Con's IR camera to read reflective stickers placed on the keys and other buttons. When a key is pressed, its sticker is revealed to the interior-facing camera, which registers the position of the key and generates a corresponding musical tone through the Switch's display unit cradled above the keyboard like a book of sheet music. A sliding switch on the left side selects between five octave scales, and two buttons positioned along the top near the display unit control the playback and recording of audio tracks. Shaking the Piano while playing a note adds a vibrato effect.

The Toy-Con Piano includes several accessories. Three of the Knob accessories alter the Piano's sound into "Cat," "Choir" or "Grandpa"-like tones when inserted into the Piano's circular slot. Using the fourth "Acoustic" Knob causes the left Joy-Con to generate audio tones with its rumble feature, which can be amplified by resting the Joy-Con against certain resonant objects (such as an empty cardboard box). Each of the Knobs can be manually adjusted to alter their effects. When the software's Studio mode is activated, these four Knobs are instead used to adjust the Piano's volume, envelope, reverb and rumble strength settings.

Two Waveform cards and two Rhythm cards are also provided, and these can be inserted into the thin card reader slot situated just behind the display. The first type of card alters the basic waveform of tones, with the two included cards generating a "sawtooth" wave and a sine wave. The second card type is used to store rhythm sequences for automatic playback. New variants of both kinds of cards can be custom-made by players.

Finally, the left Joy-Con can become a conductor's baton, which controls the tempo of a recorded song when swung in a repetitive back-and-forth motion.

  • Completion time: 2.5-3.5 hours

Contents

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The Variety Kit includes all necessary materials for building the five Toy-Con projects (aside from the Switch console itself), as well as a few spare parts, accessories, and a physical version of the Nintendo Labo Variety Kit software.

  • Cardboard sheet x 28 + extra customization sheet
  • Reflective sticker sheet x 3
  • Sponge sheet x 3
  • String (orange) x 1
  • String (blue) x 1
  • Eyelet set (gray) x 1
  • Eyelet set (blue) x 1
  • Rubber band (large) x 2 + spares
  • Rubber band (small) x 6 + spares
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