Nintendo has announced Nintendo Labo, a new range of cardboard-based "build-and-play experiences designed to inspire creative minds and playful hearts alike".

That certainly sounds lofty, yet the opening moments of Nintendo's announcement video below make it a little tricky to see what all the excitement is about.

Nintendo Labo toys start out as flat bits of perforated card that can be popped out into shapes, folded, and assembled into the likes of a bike, a piano, a fishing rod, robot suit, and more - creations that Nintendo is calling Toy-Cons.

The big twist, masterfully revealed in the rather fantastic video, is that a Switch can then be combined with these otherwise unremarkable constructions to bring them to life through games. Prop a Switch screen onto the cardboard piano, for instance, and slot a Joy-Con into the side, and you can play it like a real instrument.

According to Nintendo, the IR Motion Camera in the right Joy-Con detects which keys are pressed as you play, and each note is relayed to the console's built-in speakers. And it looks like this 'how it works' educational angle is fundamental part of the Labo experience, with the accompanying software explaining the technical aspects of each toy in detail.

Meanwhile, the fishing rod can be decked out with a Joy-Con so that you can wind the reel then toss it forward as a mini-game plays out on a screen at your feet. Elsewhere, there are drivable motorbikes, remote control cars, interactive houses, weird physics games, and an impressively broad, wonderfully imaginative range of experiences.

Perhaps most interesting of all is the robot suit, which enables the wearer to stomp around as a big robot using a docked Switch and TV screen - in a game that looks almost identical to Miyamoto's entertaining, but sadly cancelled, Wii U experiment Project Giant Robot.

Toy-Cons are designed to offer different levels of complexity and challenge, and Nintendo points out that once models have been assembled, budding artists are free to paint, doodle, or deploy any other creative urges upon the Toy-Cons as they see fit. A special Customisation Kit, including stencils, stickers and coloured tape, will be available at launch.

Two different kits will be available when Nintendo Labo releases on April 27th in the UK, each containing building materials and relevant Nintendo Switch software.

The Variety Kit includes the Toy-Con RC Car, Toy-Con Fishing Rod, Toy-Con House, Toy-Con Motorbike, and Toy-Con Piano, seen in the announcement trailer. The Robot Kit features the buildable, wearable robot suit, and robot game.

Over in the US, the Variety Kit will retail for $69.99 USD, and the Robot Kit will cost $79.99 USD. Nintendo hasn't revealed UK pricing yet, but I'll update the story as more comes in.

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Matt Wales

Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a freelance writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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