Nintendo’s Labo kits captured the imagination of gamers everywhere with their creative cardboard constructions, so it was only natural that we’d eventually see other companies start to build their own cardboard creations.
At E3, Nyko announced the Labo’s first competitor: the $20 PixelQuest Arcade Kit, which turns a Nintendo Switch into a miniature two-player arcade cabinet. And like the Nintendo Labo that the PixelQuest Arcade is, shall we say, ”heavily inspired” by, players actually have to assemble the PixelQuest Arcade out of cardboard.
It’s a clever accessory, one that smartly leverages the Switch’s detachable Joy-Con controllers as the arcade-style buttons. (It has two included clip-on joysticks for a more authentic experience.) In my brief time demoing an early prototype at E3, the whole thing seemed sturdy enough, if a little tough to use since the controllers are a bit smaller than actual arcade controls. But for $20, it‘s certainly a cute idea.
That said, the whole conceit of the PixelQuest Arcade Kit seems a little cynical to me. The idea behind the Labo and its cardboard constructions was education; building and seeing the accessories come together is an integral part of interacting with the game. Here, it feels a little like Nyko saw Nintendo making cardboard accessories for the Switch and just jumped on the bandwagon.
The idea of a turning the Switch into a miniature arcade isn’t a bad idea on its own. But I wish it was made out of a sturdier material that would last longer, even if that would be more expensive. Instead, it‘s just trying to trade on Nintendo’s existing cardboard brand.
The PixelQuest Arcade Kit will be available later this fall for $20.