A number of Nintendo DS and 3DS games offered a feature called Download Play, which allowed a second player to jump into multiplayer gameplay with a friend even if they didn't own a particular game themselves. While that functionality hasn't been announced for the Switch yet, at least one game will offer the same functionality in a creative way: Namco Museum.
When Namco Museum launches for the Nintendo Switch, it'll come with a companion app that opens up multiplayer functionality for one of its titles. The app is called Pac-Man Vs. Free Multiplayer-only Version and, as the name suggests, it allows players to enjoy Pac-Man Vs. with their friends, even if they don't buy the full game it is included in, Namco Museum. In short, if your friend owns Namco Museum and you want to enjoy some multiplayer Pac-Man, you can launch the free app and it will connect to them locally, not online. Up to two players can play on each Switch console, making it a four-player experience.
Obviously, the 3DS, and even the DS, had a more elegant solution, but the Switch is kind of becoming infamous for the features it either dropped or altered for no logical reason. We're looking at you, convoluted-as-hell voice chat!
As Gamespot points out, quite a few high profile games from yesteryear utilized Download Play on those older Nintendo consoles, including Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario Kart for the DS and New Super Mario Bros. In the past, a player could simply search for a Download Play game being offered by a nearby friend and, boom, they're ready to roll. Still, the app being used by Namco Museum is a pretty clever way to bolt on the feature, even if it means you might have an app clogging up your menu that only gets used once in a blue moon. We'll be interested in seeing if any other developers utilize a similar technique.
As for Namco Museum itself, the game is set to launch in just a couple of weeks on July 28 for $30. So far, 11 games have been announced for the title, including:
Rolling Thunder 2
The Tower of Druaga
There are certainly some classics in that lineup, so maybe it'll pique the interest of classic game fans, since Nintendo seems to be in absolutely no hurry to make a Virtual Console available on the Switch. Plus, the ability to play a multiplayer game with friends who haven't purchased the game only sweetens the pot.
So what do you think, folks? Are you happy with Namco Museum's solution to Download Play or do you anticipate Nintendo offering a more direct alternative in the future? Let us know in the comments below.