Is Nintendo Switch’s Labo Piano a serious music-making tool?

Hands-on with Nintendo’s cardboard piano.

Nintendo’s Switch console has been a runaway success thanks to its flexible design and critically-acclaimed games like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. It’s also become an unlikely studio tool thanks to Nintendo Labo, a system that uses cardboard to transform the console into different devices.

One of Labo’s most intriguing devices is a playable piano – including cardboard keys and knobs – that can even be used to record tracks with a simple DAW. It’s part of a legacy of music-making on Nintendo devices that stretches back to the music editor on Mario Paint on the SNES in 1992 and continued with the Korg DS-10 for the DS in 2008.

But is Nintendo’s Labo Piano a serious contender to the likes of Apple’s mobile GarageBand studio or even Ableton Live? We spent four hours building one to find out what it can do.

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