Nintendo ups its toy game with AR-infused construction model range, Nintendo Labo

Nintendo has upped its toy game with the introduction of Nintendo Labo, an augmented reality game for its Switch console that turns cardboard models into fully functioning toys.

The Nintendo Labo kit features 25 sheets of thick, brown, branded cardboard and a cartridge that fits into the Nintendo Switch. By following a set of instruction on the screen, users can punch out the cardboard pieces and assemble them into different models.

One of the first models to complete is a ‘bug-like radio controlled car’ that, once the Joy-Con controllers are slotted in to its cardboard sides, can be sent into travel mode via the Nintendo Switch screen and the controllers’ vibrating abilities.

More complex builds include a telescopic fishing rod with a working reel, a cardboard model of a piano with working keys, an abstract motorbike with handles and a pedal and a little house.

Each turns into a digitally augmented toy once the Joy-Con controllers are in place in conjunction with the Switch screen.

The working piano, for instance, utilises the infrared camera on the Joy-Con controller to see reflective strips of tape on the back of the keys, These come into view when a key is pressed, telling the game software to play the right note.

The principles behind each model – or Toy-Cons, as Nintendo calls them – are explained by cartoon characters, allowing kids and adults to embrace the science of coding and engineering.

According to The Guardian, the most complex construction, which will be sold separately, is a cardboard mech suit that transforms your entire body into a Transformers-style robot in the game, translating your punches and kicks into virtual actions.

Nintendo of Europe’s president, Satoru Shibata, said: “Our goal is to put smiles on the faces of everyone Nintendo touches.

“Nintendo Labo invites anyone with a creative mind and playful heart to make, play and discover new ways with Nintendo Switch. I personally hope to see many people enjoying making kits with their family members, with big smiles on their faces.”