Nintendo Labo Robot Kit

This past Spring, Nintendo released one of their most creative ideas in a long time for the Nintendo Switch.  That was Nintendo Labo, and the sets came with sheets of foldable cardboard and a game that showed you how to build them into toys where you could attach Nintendo Switch controllers to them and play with them.  I’ve already gone over the Variety Kit here at GamerDad, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly suggest you follow this link to my Nintendo Labo Wrap Up where I talk about all that stuff.  But Nintendo also released a Labo Robot Kit, where you build your own robot suit and tromp around a city as a giant robot in a game!  So we’ll go over that one now!

Originally my plan was to write about the Robot Kit at the same time as my other Labo reviews.  But the Robot Kit proved to be more involved in building, and I was going to E3 soon, so I decided to hold off and build it and write about it after E3.  Here is a larger picture of the box for the Robot Kit.  Sorry, you’re not going to see pictures of me wearing it here.  I don’t need more pictures of me looking like a doofus on the Internet.

The game is set up the same way as the Variety Kit.  There are three parts.  In “Make,” they give animated instructions on how to build the robot suit.  It’s a bit more involved than the Variety Kit as there are 8 steps total!  The next mode is Play, where you can play games with the robot you’ve built.  Finally is Discover, where you can read about how the inner working of the robot you just built actually works, as well as how to decorate it and learn about the features of the Switch controllers.  Although most of this stuff is the same from the Variety Kit.

When building the robot, you’ll construct a visor for your head.  You also put the left Joy Con in the visor, and this senses when you turn and look around.  Flip the visor down and you’ll go into a first person view.  The other main thing you build is a backpack to wear.  This creates a dark space for the other Joy Con controller, which has an infrared camera in it.  From the backpack are four strings with attachments for your arms and legs.  Moving your arms and legs will then move weights with reflective stickers inside the dark backpack.  The IR camera reads these to know when to make the robot walk and punch in the game.  And that’s basically how the robot works!  I like how when you play the game and see the back of the robot, you can see how the weights move on the back of it, too!

Speaking of which, Play mode has a lot of options for you to play with your robot.  In the main game, you are placed in a 3-D city with UFOs, and you have a limited time to punch and zap everything for points.  At the end of the game, your score is tallied up and your robot will level up.  When you level up, you’ll get more time to spend in this mode so you can get an even higher score.  Not only can you walk and punch, if you hold both arms out, the robot can fly.  And if you bend your knees, the robot will transform into a car.  If this sounds like exercise, it is, and you can check your steps and calories you’ve burned in the game’s Calorie Mode as well.

By building special knobs later on, you can insert them into holes in the backpack and turn them to customize your robot’s colors and sound effects in the Hanger modes.  You can also fight another robot in VS. Mode. I can’t imagine too many people buying two Labo Robot Kits and putting both together, but at least you can switch and fight a CPU opponent as well.  Finally is Challenge Mode, where you are presented with special tasks that, when completed, unlock new moves like a charge punch, laser beam, and more!  And that’s pretty much all there is to the Labo Robot!

Kid Factor:

The Nintendo Labo Robot Kit is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  All you do is punch buildings, UFOs, cars, and other robots, but that’s it.  And the violence isn’t even that graphic, as the visuals look like something that could’ve been done on the GameCube.  One thing to note is the size of the kids playing.  While the strings can be wrapped around to adjust for height, the backpack can be pretty bulky and may swallow some smaller kids whole.  And it is easier to get the backpack on and off if you have help.  Heck, my brother Jeff and I had to help each other get the robot suit on, and we’re both grown adults!  Also watch out if you have cats, as the backpack is a very tempting place for them to play, with lots of holes and strings hanging out!

As this toy is educational, it’s very good for kids.  But not ALL kids.  It’s best for older kids as the things you build can be pretty complicated, and while the cardboard you use is of very high quality, it can break.  You can order replacement sheets of cardboard on Nintendo’s web site, but even so, I would still say this is best for older kids who love to build things and enjoy seeing how they work.  Reading skill is also involved, and kids would need to be mature enough to take care of their toys.  The Labo kits may seem pricey at $50 to $80 bucks, but I really think they’re well worth it.

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