Nintendo Labo is an application aimed for kids for the Nintendo Switch that released on April 20th, 2018. The user constructs the cardboard toys that slot in the console and Nintendo Switch to become interactive toys. Users can buy the cardboard setup in packs call Toy-Cons.
Each Toy-Con comes with instructions on how to construct the toys using the Switch Screen which displays what the user needs to do step-by-step with rotatable 3D models. The simple ones can be done very quickly those the complex ones like the piano may require hours to finish. After completing the Toy-Con, the Joy-Con and Switch are slotted in. The toys can be customized with stencils and stickers. An official customization kit with Nintendo-themed stickers, tape and stencils.
The various Toy-Cons interact using the Joy-Cons' HD Rumble, IR Camera and other features as well as the Switch's touchscreen. A large part of these Toy-Cons is discovering what the user can do with them. Many builds come with extras that can add to the experience.
The game also has a discover mode where the user can learn more about the Toy-Cons and meet three characters that help the user learn: Professor Gerry, Lerna Lotte, and Plaise Allatyme.
The game launched with two kits:
- Variety Kit - which includes a piano, fishing rod, a house, a set of bike handlebars and a RC Car
- The RC Car uses the vibrations from the Joy-Con to move along a flat surface by vibrating the tilted legs on the bottom. The user can have battles with other people by trying to knock over their car with other friends. Each RC Car takes two Joy-Cons.
- The Fishing Rod can be used to create a virtual fishing experience with the user's Nintendo Switch console being the water, with a string going from the fishing rod to the "ocean". Various fish can be cought, ranging from mackerel to sharks to crabs. The user can also create their own fish in the Aquarium using the Toy-Con Piano.
- The House is a closed box that uses the Joy-Con (R)'s IR Motion Camera to track moving marker stickers inside the House. There is a cute creature living inside the house that reacts to the items the user places in the House using the contraptions they can stick into the sides of the walls. Three different contraptions containing a crank, button and knob can be used in different combinations to unlock certain rooms.
- The Motorcycle has a steering wheel that the user can use to steer around a track, using the motion controls of the Joy-Cons. The user can also race other cycles on the track. They can even make their own tracks to race on.
- The Piano is also a closed box where marker stickers move under the keys seen by the IR Motion Camera allowing the key to be seen. It is also possible to compose your own songs within the Studio.
- Robot Kit - which includes a headpiece and a robot pack that attach to the Joy-Cons.
Later in 2018, Nintendo announced a third Labo Kit, known as the Vehicle Kit.
- Vehicle Kit - Includes a steering wheel, as well as two other vehicle-related Toy-Cons.
- The Steering Wheel uses the Joy-Con (R)'s motion sensing and many IR stickers inside of the Toy-Con to sense how the wheel is tilted and what levers are being pulled. In the Adventure mode it is used as the main vehicle to control a car and complete missions in a relatively small open world. It can also be used in Battle and Race modes.
- The Plane is a joystick that uses the Joy-Con (R)'s motion sensing to control a Plane in the Adventure mode. It is required for some aerial based missions.
- The Submarine uses the Joy-Con (R)'s IR camera to sense rotating gears. In the Adventure mode it is used to control a submarine for some underwater based missions.
- The Key contains the Joy-Con (R) to provide an easy insertion from one Toy-Con to another, it also enlarges the R button to make it easier to be used as a map button when playing adventure.
- The Pedal houses the Joy-Con (L) and is used to control the speed of the vehicle you are using in all modes. It also has it's own Slot Cars mode that does not require any other Toy-Cons
- The Spray Can is used in the Paint Studio mode to customise your vehicles in-game.
In 2019, Nintendo made a surprise announcement online for a fourth Labo Kit as Nintendo's second attempt at Virtual reality.
- VR Kit - Includes a pair of goggles that you insert the switch system into and hold up to your eyes to create a virtual reality experience.
- The Camera uses a turnable lens that the Right Joy-Con is placed in to zoom in and out with (using its gyroscope, of course), with the left Joy-Con's L button being the camera's shutter. This is used to take pictures of underwater life and Fluffball in its House.
- The Elephant has IR markers on its mask, allowing the Right Joy-Con's IR camera to determine the trunk's position, and its gyroscope to determine the position if it can't see any markers. The Left Joy-Con assists with its gyroscope to determine the trunk's position more accurately. Used as a painting tool and a tool for solving puzzles about creating marble runs.
- The Bird has squeezable grips that make its wings flap and head move. The Left Joy-Con is placed in its head, its motion controls triggering when the head moves. Used in an open world-ish game where the player hatches and collects birds.
- The Wind Pedal uses the Right Joy-Con's motion controls, which are activated when the player steps on the Wind Pedal. When sitting down, the player can feel a real flap of wind in their face. Used in tandem with the Bird for a racing game as well as a game where you play as a Frog jumping on top of circus balls.
- The Blaster uses the Right Joy-Con's IR camera to check for certain markers to determine if the gun is loaded or not. Upon being cocked, a part is hooked into place and the marker on it dissapears: when the trigger is pulled, the IR marker on that hook appears again, causing it to fire. The Left Joy-Con's gyroscope is used to pull up a visor of sorts. Used in an on-rails shooter to fight off aliens as well as a multiplayer game where fruit is shot at and fed to hippos to lead them to the player's area: the player with the most hippos wins.
- The Pinwheel uses only the Right Joy-Con: when it is blown, its IR markers rapidly pop in and out of the camera's vision, which causes the Joy-Con to "know" that it's being blown.
- The Snorkel is only for multiplayer purposes: One player uses the Camera while the other wears the Snorkel which is marked with multiple IR markers. Upon the Right Joy-Con's camera seeing the markers, it causes a special fish to appear in the Ocean Camera game.
On January 17, 2018 Nintendo announced that a "new interactive experience for Nintendo Switch" would be shown later in the day. Later this day, Nintendo posted a video on their official site and Youtube channel showing the core concept of "Nintendo Labo" and the release date: April 20, 2018.
On Metacritic, Toycon 01 Variety Kit earned a metascore of 77/100, 68/100 on Toycon 02 Robot Kit, 69/100 on Toycon 03 Vehicle Kit, and 70/100 on Toycon 04 VR Kit. While on whatoplay.com, it gives an aggregate score on the following: 8.13 on Toycon 01 Variety Kit, 7.51 on Toycon 02 Robot Kit, 8.04 on Toycon 03 Vehicle Kit, and 8.32 on Toycon 04 VR Kit.
The Toy Con kits 1 and 2 reached 1.39 million sales by June 2018 after two months on the market.