• Matthew Rondina

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack Impressions

The new Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack has arrived with N64 games, Sega Genesis titles and other great add-ons for the system.

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack has arrived and has quite a few features that will help to bolster your Nintendo Switch experience. I've been able to go hands-on with the service and all it offers. Let's explore what's included in the new online plan, how much it costs, and finally how it all performs.

What is Nintendo Switch Online?


Nintendo Switch Online is a service provided by Nintendo that allows players to have access to online features for games such as voice chat, online play, cloud saves, and more. This is Nintendo's answer to PlayStation Plus (and Xbox's Games with Gold) with key similarities and differences. Nintendo Switch Online is the subscription service that provides Nintendo Switch Online access for 12 months, a library of classic Nintendo games (NES + SNES), cloud saves, special eShop deals, and more.

What is the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack?


The Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is a bundle of Nintendo Switch Online core features that also adds access to a library of Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis games, and add-on content to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. As a huge fan of the N64, this is a welcome addition as some iconic titles are now part of the lineup. The Expansion Pack adds a lot of content, but with it comes with a higher price tag.

"The Expansion Pack adds a lot of content, but with it comes with a higher price tag."

Cost and hardware requirements


The "core" Nintendo Switch Online service has three pricing structures: 1 month ($3.99 USD), 3 months ($7.99 USD), or 12 months ($19.99 USD). If you subscribe to the Expansion Pack this increases to $49.99 USD. The price is pro-rated if you upgrade from the base NSO package. This also comes with discounts on games within the online store (20% at launch), exclusive offers like special items in Splatoon 2, access to online play, and more. Just remember to be able to use Nintendo Switch Online you must have at least an 8GB microSD card inserted into your system.

What's included in the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack?


Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack includes core features such as online play, voice chat, cloud saves, distribution of special items, and more. The included Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC adds a new house type that unlocks upon successfully registering a Nintendo Account via the official website to your copy of AC:NH. This bundle also comes with access to a growing library of classic Sega Genesis titles and N64 games. Some notable games include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, and Star Fox 64.

" This bundle also comes with access to a growing library of classic Sega Genesis titles and N64 games."

What is not included in the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack?


The Expansion Pack does not include an N64 controller, which is essential for many of the games. Nintendo has remapped the controls for the Switch, but they are very awkward to use. If you want to play classic titles on your Nintendo Switch using a physical controller then you'll have to purchase one separately. I found it worth it for the nostalgia and "ease of use" alone, especially for classic titles like Mario 64 and Mario Kart.

"I found it worth it for the nostalgia and "ease of use" alone, especially for classic titles like Mario 64 and Mario Kart."

How does the service perform?


Nintendo Switch Online works as advertised with a few minor hitches. My online experience has been lag-free with extensive time played via Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Voice chat has been clear, but it could be easier to use like Xbox Live and PSN. You can invite friends to play with you via a Nintendo Switch Online-specific friend code but this makes the process needlessly complex.

Vintage game performance


Unfortunately, some of the N64 and Genesis games don't work as seamlessly as I thought they would. Some of the titles have freezing and audio issues, it hasn't ruined the experience but it would be ideal to have the best versions of these via NSO. That being said the user interface to access games is very clean and the save system is excellent. If Nintendo can continue to improve the performance of retro games via their online apps and grow the catalog there is big potential for the future.

"If Nintendo can continue to improve the performance of retro games via their online apps and grow the catalog there is big potential for the future."

Is Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion worth it?


The price is high, especially if you consider the low entry-level cost of Switch Online, but there's a lot of value in here. Not only do you get Nintendo 64 games, Sega Genesis titles, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC but plenty of other extras. In addition to getting access to dozens of classic titles from the N64 and Sega Genesis catalogs, there are a lot of perks that other services do not have such as discounts on eShop games and exclusive offers with other Nintendo services.