The Nintendo Switch is one of the most unique consoles in gaming. Since it can be played in a handheld mode and while docked and connected to an external screen, it can essentially act like home console and a portable device. While there's no shortage of exclusive games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order that can take advantage of both of the Switch's modes, the console isn't only a gaming device.
Like every handheld portable device, the Switch can also be used as a comics reader. While some major platforms like Amazon's Comixology aren't available on the Switch, two free-to-download services, Izneo and InkyPen, still give Switch owners a way to read some of their favorite comics. Now, we're going to take a closer look at both of these services to see how they size up.
Like its web counterpart, Izneo is tailor-made for fans of the global comics scene. This retailer has a wide variety of American comics and graphic novels, European comics, Webtoons and a modest selection of manga available to purchase on its digital storefront. In addition to foreign releases, it features content from domestic publishers like Archie Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Lion Forge Comics and IDW Publishing.
While comics can only be read with the Switch in a horizontal position, Izneo features an Easycomics mode that guides readers through many of its available titles panel-by-panel. While all of the books on the site can be purchased individually, Izneo also offers Izneo Premium, a subscription service that gives users unlimited to a healthy, ever-growing portion of its library for €6.99, or around $7.50, a month.
While this service is geared more towards fans of European comics, there are still thousands of pages from familiar franchises like G.I. Joe, Star Trek, Judge Dredd, Vampirella and The Boys, many of which are available to read through the Izneo subscription.
Unlike Izneo, Inky Pen is a subscription-only service that's exclusive to the Switch. For $7.99 a month, Switch users have unlimited access to its full library, which skews far more towards American comics.
Inky Pen features thousands of comics from a range of publishers including Archie Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Dynamite Entertainment and IDW Publishing, and it also has a remarkably large selection of Valiant Comics titles, including newspaper comic strip archives for iconic series like Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, Peanuts and Nancy. Although American comics are the core focus of Inky Pen, it still has small but strong libraries of European comics and Dark Horse-licensed manga.
With the Switch in a horizontal position, Inky Pen presents comics in either book mode, which features two pages at a time, or scroll mode, which lets readers scroll up and down any given page as desired.
Since both services have fairly similar rosters of publishers, there's a considerable amount of overlap between Inky Pen's offerings and Izneo's catalog, although each service has some titles that the other doesn't. Even if the same titles do appear on both services, there's no guarantee that everything that Inky Pen offers is available as part of Izneo's overall subscription.
While the lack of Marvel, DC Comics and Image Comics releases from both services is a noticeable absence, both of these services still potentially give Switch users access to an enormous amount of content for a reasonable price.