NEW YORK - The Nintendo Switch is currently thin on non-gaming apps, but it could soon become your next digital comics reader.
Set to launch in November, the Izneo app lets you read more than 25,000 comics on your Switch — whether you’re on the go or kicking back with your big-screen TV. I got my hands on the app at New York Comic Con 2018, and am certainly intrigued by its potential.
Izneo, which is already available on iOS, Android and the web, offers a large library of comics, manga and webtoons from a large variety of European publishers as well as bigger names like Dark Horse and IDW. You won’t find juggernauts like Marvel or DC here, though the company says that it always looking to bring new publishers to the service.
The reading experience on Izneo is fairly similar to that of apps such as ComiXology and Marvel Unlimited. You can display full pages on your Switch’s screen, or opt for a more immersive panel-by-panel experience that lets you see each scene in more detail.
Navigating comic pages in Izneo using the Switch’s Joy-Cons felt pretty intuitive, though I was a bit bummed to find that the app lacks touch functionality for, say, pinching to zoom on a specific page. When I asked Izneo about this, the company mentioned that touch functionality isn’t a widely used feature in Switch software in general (the Switch’s Hulu app also lacks touch support), but also said that there’s always potential for more features to get added over time.
On the plus side, Izneo still works when the Switch is docked and in TV mode, meaning you can blow up your favorite comics on the big screen. The service is also coming soon to Nvidia Shield as well as select Smart TVs, where you'll also get to enjoy the same super-sized comics experience.
The Izneo app itself will be free to download, with individual volumes of comics and manga available to purchase on an a la carte basis. Izneo also offers a rotating selection of free comics that allow you to get a feel for the service.
Izneo coming to Switch could be a big deal, even if you don't care for comics. Once it arrives on the eShop (the company is aiming for November), it will be one of the few non-gaming apps on Nintendo's console, with Hulu's streaming service being the only other notable option. If it catches on, perhaps we’ll see a new wave of entertainment apps on Nintendo’s console.
As someone who rarely carries a tablet around but almost always has my Switch on me, I could see Izneo becoming my go-to service for reading comics on the go — especially if the company is able to get bigger publishers onboard. I look forward to spending more time with the app when it launches later this year.