As returning fans of the newly established franchise will know, Labo is all about making cardboard-based contraptions then using them to play various mini-games by shoving a joy con or two inside the works of art. It’s a very clever and fresh idea that adds to Nintendo’s glowing CV with the Switch release window in 2018. The Vehicle kit is exactly what it says on the tin: a series of pre-printed and cut cardboard sheets complete with the physical game and rubber bands etc, ready for gamers to fold and create the following:
A Foot Pedal
Steering Wheel complete with indicators, ignition key and engine
An Aircraft joy stick
This reviewer likened the whole experience to building a massive Lego set; Sometimes one might wonder what the hell it is they are actually building, culminating into a clever piece of architecture that makes the piece. This is the main wonder of Labo, one only has to look at the intricacies of the Steering Wheel engine to see how much time was put into this kits development.
The main question this reviewer had was durability. How can a cardboard pedal take the weight of this fat man? The answer is re-enforced ingenuity. Whilst none of the vehicle kits wares would survive a stink face by yours truly; they are as sturdy as Van Dammes’ high kicks. This reviewer feels that the pedal is the best part of this Labo kit to reference in this regard, and thus is very impressed. Various folds and small pieces of card provides the Skeleton of the pedal to provide a durable product.
I’m Putting My Foot Down
The foot pedal mini game involves controlling the speed of a go kart around a circular track in an attempt to not speed off. One obviously put his foot right down in the first instance, which immediately cleared up any misconceptions of being ‘A Good Driver’. The Joy-Con are also a work of magic with Labo: providing their HD Gyroscopes, Intra Red capabilities and HD Rumble to immerse players in what is a truly unique experience.
Hats off to the animation team on Labo games. The game itself actually serves a dual purpose; Mini games and step by step building instructions, and it’s a dream come true! This writer would love for Ikea to bring out an app for building all their crap, I think Dads worldwide would appreciate this. Bringing this review back into focus: Every fold, piece of cardboard, contraption and stage of building has been carefully animated for the players’ benefit. The script writers even threw in some horrible Dad Jokes, one won’t lie, they went down terribly well. Labo-Man (Ones lovingly given name for the narrator) even tells you to watch out for tricky areas, that if bent, will ruin the build.
The soundtrack has a quirky Wii-Era appeal, which makes complete sense. Perfect background noise to chill and build too. The sound effects go as far as animating the various events in mini game and bringing folding and clicking to life. Whilst they are nothing ground breaking, they don’t need to be and do a cracking job!
All of these features culminate into some pretty entertaining mini games which are well designed and would be well received in a WarioWare title. Wait… Labo WarioWare!?!? BEST IDEA EVER! **Ahem** However, that climax leads me into the negative aspect of Labo: Cross title support and Long-Term Appeal.
Labo support has started running on some first party titles such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, with terrible execution. Whilst the mini games run very well and are a credit, it would be easier to use a pot of natural yogurt to navigate tracks than it would the Labo Steering Wheel and pedal. It’s a rushed out gimmick that should have been better thought out and calibrated. Steering has minimal impact, making one feel like he was turning a key to open a Canal Locke. And the pedal more or less has two speeds, and defaults to breaking in the first instance. Who does that!?
Whilst the experience of building these works of art is simply amazing and perfect, the mini games lose their appeal after 3-4 hours. This isn’t to do with the quality of the games, but more of their nature. As previously touched upon; Nintendo Labo would make such a great party game akin to WarioWare and Super Mario Party, perhaps this is the umbrella the current Labo kits will fall under?
Graphics and Presentation: 5/5
Overall Score: 4/5
Readers should be aware and clear minded about Labos’ advantages and disadvantages. Like any massive Lego set worth its weight (The Millennium Falcon OMFG), Labo is an absolute blast to piece together and experience the power of cardboard. However, the post-construction feels like more of an after-thought to this reviewer, although very well done and on the right path. Although this reviewer would recommend the Vehicle Kit and other Labo sets to his readers, players should understand where the true game in the kits lies, folding. So much sweet sweet folding!
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
Price: £59.99 (RRP)
Release Date: 14/09/2018
Age Rating: PEGI 7+
Review copy provided by publisher