Nintendo’s Labo was an absolute breath of fresh air; another way that the erstwhile games company set themselves completely apart from the competition – with them completely ignoring the technological arms race that companies such as Sony and Microsoft are constantly involved in, they’re free to push out into arguably far more exciting and unusual areas.
This has led to even third parties taking their lead too, with some unique products available from companies such as Nyko, who are responsible for the Pixelquest Arcade Kit. Essentially a way of transforming your humble Switch into a mini arcade machine, it’s a great idea – but does the final product live up to its promise?
Thankfully, it really does. It’s very professionally made and comes with an awful lot of stuff, which I was pleasantly surprised by. Not only do you get to make the cardboard arcade machine itself, but it comes with handy joystick attachments for the Joy-Cons and plastic holders that slot into the machine’s front in order to keep them secure.
The instructions are clear and neatly laid out – it doesn’t take too long to get everything up and running. I really liked the fact that you get quite a large volume of pixel stickers with which to create your own customised pixel art on the machine; what’s also cleverly thought out is that the machine has a grid pattern on each side, allowing you to recreate pretty much any pixel image you choose with relative ease – and the extensive selection of colours you get definitely means that you have lots to play with in this respect, to truly make your machine one of a kind.
So once it’s done, how does it play? Surprisingly well. The plastic controller holders are very secure, though under a bit of duress the stick attachments can occasionally detach themselves (this has happened extremely rarely, however).
The Switch itself slides into a handy opening on the left side and is kept secure by a little ‘step’ inside, though in theory you shouldn’t be moving the machine around with the Switch inside unless you’re actually removing the console, I suppose.
The plastic controller holders come with two raised buttons which allow the L and R buttons to be pressed, which is a pretty handy feature to have. Having given the machine a spin with both Namco Museum Arcade Pac and the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle, I can confirm that the setup is perfect for both compilations, with the only issue being that there’s no way of putting the Switch into portrait mode for that authentic arcade experience – which also means that the screen size on arcade titles can be a little on the small side.
In all honesty though, that’s a nitpick. It’s a great way of playing arcade classics – or indeed, any game with a control scheme that allows you to play mostly using the face buttons of a single Joy-Con – and I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the components. Even though it’s only made of cardboard, it feels sturdy and also feels like it’ll stand up to a bit of punishment. The plastic elements are a neat addition that’ll add to its lifespan too.
There’s a slightly hinged door on the back that’s secured by velcro; I’m still not quite sure what that’s for, unless you use the machine as a money box or something – there is, after all, a nicely authentic coin slot on the front!
It’s a great little product – it’s clear that a lot of care and attention went into producing it – and the fact that you can customise it so richly with the included pixels adds another layer of appeal.
Perhaps most impressively, it can be purchased for less than £10 from retailers such as Amazon – it’s well worth shelling out for and – though it’s a bit of a novelty – I can see myself using this to play the more arcade-oriented experiences for a long time to come, especially when I have a player 2 to join me.
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