Nintendo Switch launch guide for importers

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!
 
 

Othello

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!
 
 

Soldam 2

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!
 
 

Voez

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!

  • TJ

    Thank you for this guide?

    Will you be reporting on this stuff in the future for Japanese only/early releases? The Language information stuff was incredibly helpful

    Reply
    • Graham Russell

      We will!

      Reply
  • Nikki

    Does the console itself have English menu if i buy it from Japan? Does the Japan console work in europe just changing the power cord?

    Reply
    • Graham Russell

      Console language settings aren’t tied to region, so yes, all that should be fine!

      Reply
  • Olle

    Fantastic! ! Thank you!

    Reply
  • Alex

    Thank you for the great article!

    Reply
  • Jesterio

    any info on nobunaga’s ambition?

    Reply
    • Graham Russell

      The Switch version of that game has no English language option and is both incredibly text-heavy and localized on other platforms, so it did not make our list of recommendations. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • Shawn

    I’m currently in Japan on holiday from Australia and wanted to buy a copy of Mario Kart 8 deluxe. I was wondering if I bought the game in Japan is there an English option or is it only in Japanese?

    Reply
    • Jenni Lada

      There is no in-game option to switch between languages. Since it is a worldwide release appearing everywhere at the same time, I’d guess that the game’s language would look to your system language setting to determine which language it appears in.

      Reply
      • Shawn

        Thanks for that! bought the game brought it home and is in English.

        Reply

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