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Nintendo Labo has taken gaming to the next level

It’s clear that “Gaming” has been getting a whole lot of bad press of late. Valid, a lot of what has been said through research and experiences is true. I suppose what it comes down to; like everything is…. in moderation.  Winter can make getting the kids outside a little tricker, especially getting them off technology. But what if the kids could have a different and far more creative ‘game’ experience?

Nintendo has really nailed this concept with Nintendo Labo for their latest home console, the Nintendo Switch* …and it’s a real game changer!

The whole “Make, Play & Discover” philosophy of Nintendo Labo, lets kids’ imaginations and creations run wild. Building and customising their own DIY creations with their own hands is a real highlight well before they get to play games together on their Nintendo Switch. Turning their creations into a reality is the ultimate experience. Nintendo really has taken gaming to another level in a good way!

The New Kid on the Block – Nintendo Labo

This new addition to Nintendo Switch really blew our mind!!  If you already have a Nintendo Switch then this is a must-have addition. If your kids are like mine, and get bored after after a few weeks with a new toy or with a game, this will get them back into it for sure! Nintendo Labo is all about “Make, Play, and Discover” and I agree; the three concepts blend nicely during the experience.  As you are making, you are discovering and playing.

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We tested out the Nintendo Labo Variety Kit. The box contains the game software itself for your Nintendo Switch, along with a selection of cardboard sheets to create five Toy-Con: an RC car, a fishing rod, a motorbike handle, a house, and a mini piano. Such great value and hard to choose our favourite!

Whats On 4 Kids Review - Nintendo Labo - making1Each Toy-Con project is built from high quality cardboard – in fact, the quality of these products were beyond expectations. Using the Nintendo Switch console, Nintendo Labo’s on screen instructions are great and make the experience really enjoyable rather than laborious.  You can zoom in and out and move the design around; which is very user friendly for all ages.

The cardboard shape templates are intuitive to use and pop easily out of the sheet but don’t be tempted to do them all at once!  I’d suggest starting with the RC car, which is the simplest to put together in around 10 minutes.

Once built, when you tap a button on the Nintendo Switch screen, it allows you to adjust the intensity of the Joy-Con controller vibrations, and as a result change the speed of the car. You can even see a live feed on the screen from the IR camera, which can becomes a night time spy tool. Very cool! I’m not sure the kids have enjoyed a creative game like this or as much ever before.

Whats On 4 Kids Review - Nintendo Labo - making2The other Toy-Con will take a considerable amount longer to build and we are still working our way through them.  The piano for example has a great deal of cardboard, stickers, pulleys and more as part of the build. You could spread them out over a few weeks or over the school holidays – it really is a creative concept that the kids are enjoying.

What I loved about this as an occupational therapist, was the other skills that were required to be utilised to play Nintendo Labo.  Nintendo has merged the worlds of physical play and digital but also incorporated an educational element where you are required to think like an engineer and gain an understanding of how things work. There’s a great deal of executive skills such as planning, organising, problem solving, following instructions and paying attention. They are also developing their fine motor skills and bilateral skills using both hands together.  So overall a great activity for upper primary and high school aged kids.

We’ve given the Nintendo Switch & Nintendo Labo a real good work-out over the last few weeks from a range of demographics. To be fair and across the board we have included our 5-10yr olds, teens and us – as parents.

As Parents:

It goes without saying – we are pretty hard to please when it comes to any gaming. I really do think Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Labo has really listened to parents’ concerns and taken in the research and evidence of gaming it has on kids.

I really like the fact that the games the kids played on Nintendo Switch were rated G to PG (including Nintendo Labo). It was a good opportunity to see the family playing wholesome games and age appropriateness for the family. It wasn’t all dark, doom & gloom or violent but bright, light, innovative and fun… which is how gaming should be, right?

In addition to Nintendo Labo, It was also nice to walk down memory lane and enjoy other games on Nintendo Switch like Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze & Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to name a few. It was safe to say the Dads in particular loved it and had to be reminded it was someone else’s turn!

As Kids 5-10 years:

“It was really fun and exciting, a new way to interact with your siblings without fighting! I had so much fun playing this with my brother. We found out you can play it anyway and anywhere as the battery is very strong. We went for a big drive in the car to see our grandparents and no wifi is needed so it was great in the car for our road trip!” Charlotte 7 years

“The Nintendo Switch games are really interactive so it gives you good competition against the friends I had over for school holidays. However, I really loved making my Nintendo Labo creations, using the instructions to make the Toy-Con was easy for me to follow and make all by myself. I was really proud of my Labo creations, making things from my kits has been my favourite part of Labo. It’s been really fun to play with especially in winter as it’s been cold to play outside all the time.” Julius, 9 years

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As Teens:

“I was really surprised how easy to set up and connect to the TV the Nintendo Switch was. I have heard a heap about the Nintendo Switch and really like how portable and light it was. The Joy-Con is perfectly sized for any sized hand and has multiple ways to use the controllers. I liked that you can have 2 players unlike many other gaming consoles. The portable screen was really good quality and was very easy to connect to the internet. I was really impressed by the quality of graphics and touch screen abilities. It was nice to play something fun and different with the family!” Rory, 15 years

Whats On 4 Kids Review - Nintendo Labo - finished productNintendo Switch is making gaming more accessible with its flexible and portable system – you can play it on the TV, in portable mode (like a handheld console) or tabletop mode with or without wifi … just Switch & Play! It’s that simple, you can play wherever and whenever. You can even link and sync it with up to eight consoles for the ultimate multi-player game. Nintendo Labo – and the Nintendo Labo Variety Kit we tested – are the icing on the cake when it comes to the ultimate creative play.

Thinking of some different ways on having fun this Winter?

Seriously consider Nintendo Labo for Nintendo Switch – taking your next family games night to a whole other level!

To find out more, visit https://www.nintendo.com.au/ or check out the Nintendo Labo Playlist at their official YouTube Channel!

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