Kingdom Hearts on* Nintendo Switch is good news for fans of playing games on a portable console while also requiring a constant internet connection.
Following the announcement of Sora in Smash, Square Enix was quick to follow up with the news that, in time for celebrations of the series’ 20th anniversary next year, all of Kingdom Hearts is coming to* Nintendo Switch.
You’ll be able to buy them individually – as Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 HD Remix, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue HD, and Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind – or bundled together in the hilarious, egotistically titled Kingdom Hearts Integrum Masterpiece.
The observant among you will have noticed the somewhat sarcastic asterisk on that announcement. (That’s our asterisk, not Square Enix’s. Please allow us a little fun.)
The presence of asterisks suggests a caveat, or drawback, to the announcement. And while it might not be a big caveat to most people, it is worth mentioning. So, here it is:
* It’s not really coming to your Nintendo Switch at all.
Permit me to elaborate: You won’t actually be able to install any of these Kingdom Hearts games on your Nintendo Switch. You’ll have to play them via Cloud streaming.
For 2017’s 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue and 2019’s Kingdom Hearts III, which both released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, that makes sense. It’s well-documented that the Nintendo Switch is less powerful than its generational counterparts. That’s the only way modern releases like Hitman 3 and Control are playable on the Nintendo’s little handheld that could. But for the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 HD Remix, eight-year-old remasters of almost 20-year-old games? It just seems weird.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to pour scorn on the news that Kingdom Hearts is coming to Nintendo Switch out of meanness. And it’s not that cloud streaming doesn’t work well, if you’ve got the bandwidth and patience for it.
Under other circumstances, I would have been very pleased to get to enjoy Kingdom Hearts again, but I’m just not entirely sure who these releases are for?
For die-hard fans of Sora, Donald and Goofy, cloud streaming via a constant internet connection is hardly the dream of carrying the entire Kingdom Hearts series around with you in your pocket. So unlike other Switch ports of beloved series, like Skyrim or Bioshock, there’s precious little reason to rebuy a game you probably own in multiple places already if you can’t truly play it portably.
And for people who’ve never played the Kingdom Hearts saga before? These releases are already available – in full-fat, non-cloud variants – on PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (via backward compatibility), and PC, and probably for a much lower price, without a Nintendo Switch tax.
Kingdom Hearts on* Nintendo Switch feels like it should be good news, then, but that caveat is key.