The Nintendo Switch Online subscribers outside of Japan will once again be receiving the short end of the stick in March, as subscribers in Europe and North America will only be receiving two new games, while those in Japan will be receiving three.
The next games to be added to the Nintendo Switch Online service outside of Japan will be Kid Icarus and StarTropics, while the Japanese version of the service will receive Kid Icarus, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, and Yie Ar KUNG-FU.
The absence of StarTropics from the Japanese release schedule can be explained by the fact that the game was never released in Japan. The addition of StarTropics also raises an issue, as StarTropics originally came with a special letter that the player needed to dip in water to reveal a code that was necessary to progress the game. The Virtual Console version of StarTropics added a special feature to the in-game manual that allowed you to pour water on the letter, but the Nintendo Switch Online service does not include in-game manuals that you can access via the Switch, so it will be interesting to see what Nintendo does to bypass this issue.
If you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, then it’s possible to create a Japanese account on your Switch and download the Famicom version of the app in order to play the games released on the Japanese version of the service. Fire Emblem fans might not get much out of this if they don’t speak Japanese, as Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is a text heavy game.
It’s likely that there will also be several “SP” versions of games that have already been released on the service, but these have so far been little more than save states that were made at the start of a late point in the game.
The Nintendo Switch Online service started out with a strong line-up and the release of three new games a month, but Nintendo has scaled this back over the past few months so that people outside of Japan only receive two new games, to the point where it will likely be the standard going forward.
Kid Icarus and StarTropics are both good games, but it’s hard to get too excited about their addition to the service when you are comparing them to the games being offered on PS+ and Xbox Live Gold. As it stands, the main reason to own Nintendo Switch Online (outside of Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate) is Tetris 99, which is shaping up to be one of the best games of the year.
The next batch of Nintendo Switch Online games will be released on March 13, 2019.