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Review: Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 02: Robot Kit (Nintendo Switch)By Jorge Ba-oh At 06.06.2018 14:18

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The Variety Kit introduced five small kits to work with. There's the humble robot RC car that plods along, a robust fishing rod, and even a working infrared piano to tinker with. These were essentially interactive puzzles that are folded, twisted, and slotted together to work using the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con functionality. The standalone pieces are challenging, yet rewarding, to build. The pay-off is discovering just how the thing works - a mini-game and detailed video to showcase that key Nintendo magic.

The Robot Kit is designed to be that essential next step; a quest to rally together all the acquired Nintendo Labo knowledge into a cardboard toy that can literally be worn. Imagine donning that iconic Proton Pack from Ghostbusters, together with attachable hand/foot pieces to control an on-screen robot. That's almost what this particular Toy-Con feels like.

The hardest part of the experience is putting the beast together. It may not sound or appear to be much, but the kit requires a good three-to-five hours to put together. Most of the process involves careful folding and locking together of tabs. Despite being cardboard, it does forge some durable slabs of robotic armour. Fortunately, for the environment and your own sanity, there are no paper manuals or complex diagrams to sift through. Nintendo's Labo software may well be the star of the show, with each and every step detailed through interactive video. The sequences can be paused, stepped through, and even rotated/zoomed in - it's a more hands-on, dynamic feel. There's a feeling of discovery, creation and learning - potentially a far more rewarding way to spend an afternoon than plonking together a wonky wardrobe.

Now, for the pay-off… a reward for assembling a cardboard warrior; an experience that's certainly unlike anything Nintendo has woven, until now. The game portion opens up the doors to a virtual city; a landscape that's a ticket to exploration. Wear that robotic backpack, slot in the cardboard headset, and attach grips to your hands/feet. It's time to wreak a little mayhem on a digital city from the comfort of a living room.

It's takes a fair bit of time to get to grips with that newfound sense of scale. Surprisingly, the Toy-Con 02: Robot Kit works well in mirroring those moves - whether it's giving it a skyscraper a well-timed fist pump or squatting to become an armoured robot tank. It's that immersion that makes it feel all the more rewarding; and slightly disorientating at the same time. Even though there's that detachment from reality, the real world is still, of course, very much there; because the movements work so well, it becomes fairly easy to be absorbed into this city.

Beyond the sheer sense of virtual destruction, Toy-Con 02: Robot Kit also serves up a handful of contained challenges to test those newfound powers. These are tricky to navigate, but are rather simple in what's asked; it takes some effort to conquer, but wears a little thin on content. The mini-games and scope beyond the robot's creation is where the game's drawbacks start to show. It peaks at the moment of becoming that robot, crushing and cruising through the city but, beyond that pay-off, there's not too much to return to in the longer term. Nintendo could well do with introducing either DLC or complementary software to make use of the kit.

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Final Score
[i]Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 02: Robot Kit[/i] is a mammoth robotic beast to put together, taking a heap of effort, discovery, and a sprinkle of Nintendo magic to assemble. Through unique software, there's a sense of enjoyment and challenge, presented in an innovative way. Don that finished robot suit and there's a true sense of control and immersion. It's satisfying and ultimately rewarding for the hours poured into its virtual creation. There's potential for more mini-games beyond what's included, but the game does - for now - lack that longevity to hold interest beyond the initial wow moment.



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