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Best Nintendo Labo Toy-Cons 2022: Every single Nintendo Switch cardboard kit, ranked

Get the lowdown on each individual DIY Switch accessory, and find out which one's the most fun

Nintendo certainly isn’t shy about making leftfield announcements. The ambidextrous Switch console broke games console tradition, and we all remember the gimmicky R.O.B robot games helper from the late eighties. But Nintendo’s  Labo accessories aren’t quite so high-tech – although they’re a lot more fun.

Yes, this is Nintendo’s Labo, a cardboard DIY Switch accessory designed for inquisitive minds. Together with the Switch console (sorry Wii U owners), each Labo kit provides enough tools for kids – and playful adults – to construct their own DIY creations, such as a fully functioning cardboard piano, fishing rod or driveable RC car, and see their creations come to life.

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Nintendo Labo: Everything you need to know

The very first Nintendo Labo kits launched in the UK in April 2018 in the form of the Variety Kit (£55) and Robot Kit (£65) bundles. A further two kits have launched since the line’s initial inception, which includes the Vehicle Kit (£57) and Labo VR Kit (£75). Essentially, all of there are cardboard construction kits that interact with the Nintendo Switch to play various games in new, interactive and innovative ways. 

Nintendo states that the intention behind the Labo kits is to introduce the principles of engineering, physics, and programming to gamers at an early age. There’s also a third kit available, the ‘Customisation Set’ (£9), which contains stickers, tape, and stencils that can be used to further customise your cardboard creations. Nintendo Labo kits are available from Game UK, as well as various other retailers including Amazon and the official Nintendo site, although you’ll have to ship internationally to buy from the latter.

What are Toy-Cons, and what do they do?

Each Labo kit comes with a set of modular cardboard sheets, specifically designed to interact with the Switch and the Joy-Con controllers. Construct your chosen accessory, such as motorbike handlebars or a fishing rod, into what Nintendo aptly calls a “Toy-Con” and plug your console and controllers into the designated areas.

What are the differences between the Toy-Con kits?

There are currently four Toy-Con kits available for the Nintendo Labo: the Variety Kit, Robot Kit, Vehicle Kit and VR Kit. Confusingly, the packs are numbered as Toy-Con 01, Toy-Con 02 and so on, but the kits within said packs are also referred to as Toy-Cons. Thankfully, these Toy-Cons have individual names rather than numbers, so it’s a lot easier to differentiate between them.

How many individual Toy-Cons are there?

There are many, many Toy-Cons to choose from. One of them, the Toy-Con Robot, comes in the Robot Kit and is the only cardboard pack included in the set – although it’s far, far larger than the rest. Five Toy-Cons are included in Variety Pack, including the Toy-Con RC Car, Toy-Con House, Toy-Con Motorbike, Toy-Con Fishing Rod, and Toy-Con Piano.

The Vehicle Kit includes the Toy-Con car, Topy-Con plane and Toy-Con submarine. Lastly, the newly-launched VR Kit includes a total of six Toy-Cons: The Toy-Con VR Goggles, Toy-Con Blaster, Toy-Con camera, Toy-Con Elephant, Toy-Con Bird and Toy-Con Wind Pedal. Then there’s Toy-Con Garage, a game (of sorts) that is compatible across all of the currently available Toy-Cons.

What is Toy-Con Garage?

Toy-Con Garage is a separate gaming universe unto itself, and massively expands the capabilities of the Nintendo Labo. Found tucked away in an obscure area of the Labo game menu, this so-called ‘hidden game mode’ lets players create, quite literally, anything they want. Your imagination is the limit as you repurpose the cardboard Toy-Con builds to suit new and exciting purposes.

One example, seen in a promotional video released alongside the Toy-Con Garage announcement, sees a Nintendo engineer turn a piece of cardboard, a string, and a regular broom into a playable guitar.

The best Nintendo Labo Toy-Cons

1.Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con VR Goggles

Price: £29 l Buy now from Amazon 

The Toy-Con VR Goggles are the perfect accompaniment to your Nintendo Switch. While there are all sorts of VR goodies included in the Labo VR Kit, and the actual construction is more basic than most, the goggles offer the most fun out of the lot. The VR plaza section of the game allows you to play a wide variety of unique minigames without the expansion kits, including a Thunderdome-like vehicular battle arena and a ragdoll platformer. 

Not only that, but the VR Goggles serve as the basis of every Labo VR Toy-Con. It slots into all of them, and you can even use the VR Goggles in other games such as Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda Breath of the Wild. Nintendo’s first stab at proper VR on the Nintendo Switch is glorious.

2. Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con Piano

Price: £74 l Buy now from Amazon 

As part of the Labo Variety Kit, the Toy-Con Piano is a game that will directly translate into real-world skill. With eight pressable keys, you play along to songs selected via the slotted in Switch and can learn to perform some very basic tunes on an actual piano or keyboard. It’s like a pianist’s version of Guitar Hero, only better because the game actually translates into real-world ability, as opposed to Guitar Hero, which for us only resulted in RSI.

In addition, you can compose multi-layered recordings of songs that allow you to use the full range of a piano’s notes, only broken down into segments. Also included in the Toy-Con flatpack are some tuning knob add-ons that allow players to change the sounds made by the keys themselves – meowing cats for example.

3. Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con Robot

Price: £37 l Buy now from Amazon 

Nintendo Labo’s biggest, craziest Labo invention is the Toy-Con Robot. It’s so large it has to be sold separately from the other Toy-Cons that come in the Variety Pack, and it requires a whopping four to five hours to build. Though made of cardboard alone, this wearable battlesuit is incredibly intricate.

The full kit consists of a huge backpack from which stem hand and foot harnesses for motion tracking. Then you don a head-visor which has a Switch slot for first-person viewing; it also functions as a sensor for turning the on-screen Robot you’ll control.

In our hands-on with the Toy-Con Robot, we romped around a futuristic metropolis, bashing UFOs out of the sky and causing all manner of mecha-mayhem. It’s just a shame we didn’t have longer, because the Toy-Con Robot comes with several different games – as you’d expect, given that is costs £70.

4. Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con car

Price: £44 l Buy now from Amazon

The best bit about the Labo vehicle kit, the Toy-Con car adds a steering wheel and accelerator pedal to your gaming adventures. You’ll be whizzing about the place in a virtual car in an open world with all sorts of terrain, from snow-capped mountains to deep canyons. 

The Toy-Con car also includes typical time trial and versus mode racing, and in-game customisation options. Fancy a pink hot rod? Toy-Con car lets you do just that. You can also use the cardboard steering wheel with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, what more could you ask for? 

5. Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con Fishing Rod

Price: £74 l Buy now from Amazon 

One of the simpler kits in the Variety Pack is the Toy-Con Fishing Rod. It certainly looks the part; when the Switch is slotted in it appears as though the fishing line string on the Labo feeds directly into the on-screen fishing line, and that they are directly connected.

Cranking the handle forwards or backwards doesn’t actually help you to increase or lower the line while it’s in the water – this part is done by the motion of the Joy-Con. The motion sensor only reacts to the raising and lowering of the rod itself, while the crank is used for pulling in whatever poor sea creature you’ve managed to snag from down in the depths. The Toy-Con Fishing Rod is compatible with the Toy-Con Piano, as you can slot the Switch and Rod on top of that, and then create custom-made suq-aquatic creatures to fill your virtual aquarium.

6. Toy-Con Blaster

Price: £29 l Buy now from Amazon 

Perhaps the most impressive-looking Toy-Con is the Blaster, which is included in the Labo VR Kit. A two-hour build, the bright red shooter can be cocked back like a shotgun, with haptic feedback whenever you pull the trigger. It’s an intricate build, and it’s certainly very impressive to use when you’re dispatching virtual foes. 

Speaking of which, the Blaster comes with a whole host of specific games. You’ll be defending a city from an alien invasion, or feeding some very hungry-looking hippos in a pass-it-on multiplayer mode. The Blaster is the best VR attachment yet and is the perfect showcase of Labo VR’s capabilities. 

7. Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con RC Car

Price: £74 l Buy now from Amazon 

By far the simplest to build and easiest to use, the Toy-Con RC Car is a great way to introduce young children to the Labo concept. Made from a single piece of folded cardboard, the Switch controller Joy-Cons slot into either side to create a customisable, interactive hot-rod which will literally drive around the room in response to your commands.

The Toy-Con RC Car also has an auto-drive mode which utilises the Switch’s IR camera to navigate the environment; reflective tape, included in the kit, can be used to mark out a track. The RC Car has multiplayer games too. The flat-pack comes with a second buildable RC, so you can pimp out each ride to look unique, and then battle them in ‘sumo’ fight using the same Switch console.

8. Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con Motorbike

Price: £44 l Buy now from Amazon 

The Toy-Con Motorbike kit consists of a set of moveable handlebars and a support stand which allow players to speed around a racetrack, steering the vehicle by tilting side to side, turning, and revving up using the right handle, just like on a real motorbike. Better yet is multiplayer versus mode, where you can race against computer controlled bot-bikes or vehicles controlled by other players. This is enjoyable for a while, but it on its own hardly lends itself to endless replayability.

The real fun comes with Stadium mode, which gives players the power to create their own tracks using a number of highly inventive methods. Using the Nintendo Switch IR technology you can scan drawings, Lego constructions, and even the real world environment around you to create a never-ending supply of hyper-detailed racetracks which translate swiftly from world to game.

9. Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con House

Price: £74 l Buy now from Amazon 

If all doll-houses were like this, kids would be a lot more into them. The Toy-Con House is an infinitely customisable cardboard dwelling complete with attachments and mini-games – though at first glance it doesn’t look like much.

Once the dwelling has been constructed, you slot the Switch console inside and begin experimenting with the tools that come included with the kit. Not much will happen with just one, but using two at a time unlocks ‘hidden’ mini-games, including one where you feed a friendly monster and watch it change colour and grow. There’s plenty of fun and experimentation to be had with the Labo House, and we found it to be one of the most versatile Toy-Cons.

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