The Nintendo Switch is out, and that means all sorts of excitement! If you’d like to take the opportunity to expand your horizons (or just find another game or two to play while taking Zelda breaks), we’re here to help. Here’s a look at the process of playing imports on the system and the best prospects to play from other regions!
How to play imports on a Nintendo Switch
Physical games are totally region-free. So if a game’s released at retail, you can just buy from somewhere like Amazon Japan and get to playing!
Switch systems support multiple accounts for digital purchases. So you can create a Japanese Nintendo Account the same way you created your American one, then log in through the system and download games! Some Western credit cards work (with a small foreign transaction fee, usually), but you can also grab credit online. Once you have the game on the system, any account can play it, but you may need to use that region’s account to access DLC.
Games to import and play
Dragon Quest Heroes I & II
Retail/eShop, Japan — Dragon Quest Heroes II is headed Westward on PS4 and PC on April 25, but you can get the game earlier than that if you don’t mind Japanese. There’s no announcement of a localized version for the Switch either, but we’re hopeful! It’s not cheap, but the free demo available on launch day is the sort of “why not” download to give it a try and give your launch weekend a good change of pace. Japanese only. Language barrier: moderate.
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Retail/eShop, Japan — The West is finally getting this gem in late April (and we’re very excited), but the Japanese version is out at launch. That’s almost two months early, and with a game like this, the language barrier isn’t high enough to stop that from being very tempting. Japanese only. Language barrier: minimal.
Disgaea 5 Complete
Retail/eShop, Japan — This compilation of the game and all its DLC has an English language option, so you’re not missing anything if you grab it from Japan now before its Western release on May 23. We reviewed the original release, and… having that game everywhere you go could get very dangerous for the long-term health of your to-do list. English option available in all regions!
eShop, Japan/PAL — It’s not the most exciting release, but Arc System Works’ adaptation of Othello could be a fun distraction when you’re on the go. It’s not a great showcase of the system’s hardware, but hey, it doesn’t need to be 1-2-Switch because that game already exists! English option available in all regions!
eShop, Japan — You can get a puzzle game, and you can get Othello, but why not both at once? This update of classic Jaleco puzzler Soldam is announced for the West at some point, but City Connection is a small developer, so who knows when that will be? Japanese only. Language barrier: minimal.
Blaster Master Zero
eShop, Japan — Okay, if you’re really impatient, you can grab this a week early from the Japanese or European stores. Maybe not worth the hassle, since it’ll be out in America March 9, but hey, it’s an option! English option available in all regions!
eShop, Japan/PAL — Another “wait a week for the American release” option, Voez is the first game for the system to require touch-screen use and, as a result, not be compatible with TV mode. It’s out in Europe and Japan on launch day! English option available in all regions!
Arcade Archives: Neo・Geo
eShop, Japan/PAL — Want some classic fun? Hamster’s venerable arcade series includes five launch options: The King of Fighters ’98, Waku Waku 7, Shock Troopers, World Heroes Perfect and Metal Slug 3. English option available in all regions!
New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers
eShop, Japan/PAL (NA soon?) — Arc System Works’ strategy game is less about combat and more about building efficiently, making for the sort of single-player community-building game we’ve seen before in games like A Kingdom for Keflings. English option available in all regions!
Vroom in the Night Sky
eShop, Japan/PAL (NA soon?) — Poisoft, the quirky team behind games like Kersploosh!, has made this game about… magical flying bike racing? It’s bizarre. And that’s why it has our attention. Everyone needs a non sequitur pick in their library, right? English option available in all regions!
For more helpful advice for importers, check out our Guides section!