Nintendo Labo: how the cardboard console add-on is dividing Nintendo Switch fans

They're called 'Toy-Cons' – but what do they do?

On April 20, Nintendo Switch owners will receive the option to customise their playing experience with a range of build-your-own cardboard devices. Announced today (January 18), the Labo set contains 25 sheets of cardboard that players can turn, IKEA-style, into playable objects – such as a miniature keyboard, a fishing rod, a motorbike’s handles and pedal, a small house, and a car – by following instructions on their Switch screen. These devices then connect to the console in various ways.

For example, you can plug the console’s controllers into the car, and it will move around thanks to the controllers’ vibrations, responding to users’ input from the Switch’s touchscreen. A controller slots into the fishing rod, which contains a working reel and a base that uses string and elastic bands to supply a lifelike taut feel. There are similarly symbiotic relationships between the console’s controllers and the other playable cardboard devices: you can steer and accelerate a motorbike via a pair of detached handles and a pedal; the notes you play on the surprisingly realistic keyboard are detected via an infrared pairing of the controller and reflective strips on the keys. Being sold separately is another, larger and wearable piece of kit that allows users to control a robot using intuitive motion input.

Nintendo is calling these things ‘toy-cons’ and seems to be looking to encourage creativity, education and play specifically in its younger audience. Sets cost about $70 (£50), but not everybody is convinced.

Some are unsure about its usage of card:

Some are simply confused:

Some think it sounds budget:

Others reckon it’ll be a pain in the arse to build:

However, the inventive kit has already been called “jaw-dropping” by one reviewer and many Twitter users are praising Nintendo for making something that looks really, really fun.

And, of course, you don’t have to get one if you don’t want one:

What do you think of the Nintendo Labo? Will you be buying one when it’s released on April 20? Scroll down to leave us a comment.