I find that a lot of people don’t know that there are Nintendo Switch Japan, as well as Asia, releases that come with English support on the cartridge that are great alternatives to the harder-to-find, highly-priced US Nintendo Switch releases. The Nintendo Switch is region-free, so as long as it has the language you need, you can play cartridges from any country. Not only are these imports cheaper than their US counterparts, but many of them are better releases, like River City Girls 1 & 2 (Japan), which has both games on one cartridge.
When you look at some US releases, especially those from niche publishers like Limited Run Games or Strictly Limited, the price difference becomes even more evident. For this list, I’m focusing solely on physical copies. While digital games often offer cost savings, these physical imports tend to be more affordable than their US versions, making them a good value for those, like me, who prefer to have physical collections.
If you are looking to buy any of these imports, I’ve listed trusted retailers below. I highly recommend using the specific links provided for each title you are interested in, particularly if you are shopping Playasia or you are new to collecting imports, to ensure you’re purchasing the right copy with English support. Sometimes you can get a good deal on some of these games on sites like eBay. If you are shopping on eBay, however, make sure that the listing states that the cartridge supports English or your preferred language.
That all said, here are 10 Nintendo Switch imports that are much cheaper to collect than their US counterparts!
Clannad, which is one of the best visual novels you can collect on the Nintendo Switch, also carries a hefty price tag if you’re eyeing the Limited Run edition. But, luckily there is a much more affordable alternative: the Japanese release. Not only is this edition substantially more budget-friendly than its US counterpart, but it also includes English support on the cartridge.
The story follows Tomoya Okazaki, a high school student who feels disconnected from the world around him. Fate intervenes when he meets Nagisa Furukawa, a shy girl who dreams of reviving the school’s drama club. As Tomoya gets to know Nagisa and other characters, he gradually forms meaningful relationships with them.
Limited Run’s Standard edition of Clannad might set you back between $100-115 USD on aftermarket sites, while the Collector’s Edition release will set you back even more. In contrast, the Japanese version is available for $53.99 USD while supplies last.
Where to Shop
VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action stands out as one of the best visual novels available on the Switch, although its US version might stretch your budget a bit. Set against the backdrop of a dystopian cyberpunk landscape, you step into the shoes of Jill, a bartender at VA-11 HALL-A. As you work your shifts, you’ll have interesting conversations with the bar’s diverse array of customers, all while crafting and mixing their desired drinks.
Currently, the Limited Run edition of VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action is priced at approximately $70 USD. However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Japanese version is available to purchase at $49.99 USD while supplies last.
Where to Shop
River City Girls 1 & 2
In the US, Limited Run Games released River City Girls 1 and River City Girls 2 on individual cartridges. However, there’s a budget-friendly alternative, the Japanese version, that collects both games on just one cartridge.
Based on recently sold listings on aftermarket sites, like eBay, the Limited Run versions will set you back about $143 USD. In contrast, the Japanese import, which offers both games on a single cartridge, is a steal at only $39.99 USD. The Japan release has full HD Support as well as 5.1ch surround sound.
Where to Shop
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon & Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon Chronicles bundles the original Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and its sequel, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2, into one convenient cartridge. In contrast, the US edition was separated into two distinct releases by Limited Run Games.
Currently, the Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon Chronicles Limited Edition is available for roughly $89.99 USD, while the standard release is selling for around $31.99 USD. This Limited Edition package not only includes the Nintendo Switch game, which collects both games on a single cartridge, but also features an artbook, a CD soundtrack, and a decorative acrylic keychain. On the other hand, purchasing the two separate Limited Run versions of Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and its sequel would cost you about $115 USD on aftermarket sites—and that’s just for the games.
Where to Shop
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a dark fantasy 2D action RPG, where you’ll embark on a quest to uncover the mysteries of a kingdom devastated by the Rain of Death. You’ll travel across the vast and eerily stunning landscapes of Land’s End, navigating through a sunken forest, a quarantined underground cavern, and a majestic castle all the while fighting against formidable foes that are ready to seize any opportunity to end your journey.
It’s a highly underrated game that I highly recommend if you enjoy 2D Souls-likes or Metroidvania games. Picking it up in the US can be quite difficult because the Limited Run release is sold out. You can, however, pick up the Limited Run release for around $66 USD in brand-new condition on aftermarket sites, like eBay. If you are looking to save money, though, there is a Japanese release that has English support on the cartridge, which only costs $29.99 USD.
Where to Shop
Shantae and the Seven Sirens
As you might have noticed, a significant number of the pricier games on this list were released by Limited Run Games, and Shantae and the Seven Sirens is no exception. While its price tag of around $60 USD on aftermarket sites isn’t the steepest compared to others, it’s still considerable. However, opting for the Japanese version, which is priced at $34.99 USD, will net you a savings of around $25. It’s worth considering the import, especially given the quality of the release.
In the fifth installment, Shantae and the Seven Sirens, Shantae returns for a vibrant tropical escapade. Our Half-Genie heroine wields new Fusion Magic powers to traverse an expansive submerged city. She befriends fellow Half-Genies and takes on the formidable Seven Sirens in her most exhilarating adventure to date. With numerous towns to explore and a greater number of labyrinths than any previous quest, there’s a lot to explore in this aquatic odyssey that’s filled with peril and exploration no matter what edition you choose to pick up.
Where to Shop
I want to highlight VideoGamesPlus (VGP) reprints in this post because, although their titles can sell out quickly, they are an invaluable resource, especially if you are looking to save money on video games. VideoGamesPlus, a well-known video game retailer based in Canada, ships to the US. They offer an impressive selection of limited print games and are known for reissuing some hard-to-find series, including JRPGs.
Recently, they’ve reprinted titles from “The Legend of Heroes” and the “YS” series. They even restocked The House in Fata Morgana not too long ago, which, unsurprisingly, sold out fast. I highly recommend regularly checking their site not only for new reprints but also for restocks. Keep in mind that the prices listed on their site are in CAD, so you’ll need to convert them into USD to see their cost.
It’s worth noting that they don’t always ship to the US, but restrictions are included on product pages. Most of their games, though, were shipped to my location in the US without any issues. Their shipping fees are also low, which is yet another advantage to purchasing from them.
Shop the latest VGP reprints
Nintendo Switch imports are an incredible way to save money and they allow us to pick up games that have blown up in price or are harder to find in the US for much more affordable prices. As of now, these are the Nintendo Switch imports that are cheaper than their US counterparts, but I will be sure to update this post when or if anything changes, like a new reprint, limited-time release/restock, etc.
In other news, check out all of the video games you have to look forward to in 2024!