Should you buy third-party Nintendo Labo kits?
Best answer: Generally, no. Third-party Nintendo Labo Kits may be cheaper, but they also tend to be of poorer quality than official kits. In addition, there aren't many that are readily available.A great starter Kit: Nintendo Labo Variety Kit (opens in new tab) ($70 at Amazon)If you want to go big: Nintendo Labo Robot Kit (opens in new tab) ($60 at Amazon)For those who love travel: Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit (opens in new tab) ($70 at Amazon)
What kinds of third-party Nintendo Labo Kits are available?
Currently, Nintendo has three different Nintendo Labo Kits officially available: a Variety Kit and Vehicle Kit for multiple projects, and a slightly cheaper Robot Kit for one very large project. All three of these kits contain the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Garage software, which is necessary for all Labo play on the Switch, plus the cardboard projects themselves.
When it comes to third-party kits, they just aren't easy to find online. You can find them on Amazon, but infrequently, and you can't find them at all at other retailers like GameStop and Best Buy. In addition, many of the projects are knock-offs or copies of projects already in official Nintendo Kits, such as the fishing pole from the Variety Kit or the cars from the Vehicle Kit.
Why shouldn't I buy third-party Nintendo Labo Kits?
When you can actually find them, third-party Nintendo Labo Kits may be extremely tempting due to how cheap they are. There's a reason for this — you're only paying for the cardboard. Never buy a third-party Labo Kit unless you already have at least one official Kit. Third-party Labo Kits will never have the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Garage software you need to enjoy Nintendo Labo in the first place, and thus you'll have paid money effectively for a box of cardboard and nothing else.
Are there any exceptions?
There are a few instances where it might be OK to purchase a third-party Nintendo Labo Kit. GH, for example, is known for Nintendo accessories and can make a solid third-party product. Though its kits can be difficult to find online and don't include the Toy-Con Garage software, it's had some unique projects for sale in the past (like a guitar) that can be worth it if you're looking for something different.
Do you have an especially creative child who wants to look outside of what Nintendo offers for new projects? While some children might appreciate the more structured guidance of the Nintendo official Kits, third-party kits (or just blank pieces of cardboard with some craft tools) can provide a way for them to experiment on their own in the Toy-Con Garage.
What if I need to replace an official Nintendo cardboard piece?
It may be tempting to look to third-parties for replacement cardboard pieces if you or a child accidentally breaks a piece of an official Labo Kit, but you don't need to worry. Nintendo sells individual replacement sheets for each of its Kits so you can get just the missing pieces without re-buying an entire Kit.
Build it all
Get started building several projects
The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit is a great kit to start with, as it includes multiple projects as well as the necessary software. There isn't any particular theme for the five projects included in this kit, but they range from easy to more challenging and are a good way for adults and kids alike to introduce themselves to DIY projects and the Nintendo Labo software.
Giant robot fights
One gigantic project for hours of play
The Nintendo Labo Robot Kit is a good choice if you've already been introduced to the software via the Variety or Vehicles Kits and want something more challenging. For slightly cheaper, you get one extremely large and complex project that will turn you into a giant robot fighter by the end of it. There's just the one project, but its size and scope make it well-worth your time.
Drive, fly, and come sail away
Like the Variety Kit, the Vehicles Kit is a great place to start as it includes multiple projects that will teach you about how Nintendo Labo works and what kinds of interesting things can be built and interacted with. This kit has much more of a "theme" to it than the Variety Kit and may be more suited to those already interested in cars, planes, and boats, though it can also serve as a good second kit if you loved the Variety Kit.
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