Izneo: Switch comic reader review

The Switch is, of course, primarily about the games. And what a darn impressive library it’s got now! But in the space year 2019, there seems to be some kind of unwritten law that consoles absolutely must offer other types of entertainment as well. With no disc drive, supporting CDs, DVDs, and blu rays is out. Incredibly there’s still no Netflix app, and even YouTube is a fairly new addition. No Spotify, either. There are now two comic reading apps however, the latest of which is Izneo.

The other comic app is Inkypen, which we haven’t tried. So far as we can tell there’s a similarity in libraries, but apart from that there are only two differences we’re sure of. Firstly, Izneo – unlike Inkypen – is an established comic app, also available for download from Google Play and Apple’s app store. Secondly, and most interestingly, Izneo makes everything in its library available for individual purchase. Both apps offer a Netflix-style subscription service. Inkypen’s offers everything that they have whereas Izneo’s is more limited (yet still includes a tempting “over 1,500” comics). Cancel your Inkypen subscription, and you lose access to everything; cancel (or, indeed, ignore) the Izneo subscription, and you still get to keep any comic you’ve purchased individually forever.

Arguably the most important question is: what comics does Izneo actually have on offer? Well, nothing from Marvel or DC but, as these companies have their own comic reading apps, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Image Comics also appears to be absent. Nonetheless, there’s a huge collection on offer, including some fantastic reads (though as a reminder, not everything is included in that subscription). Think they’ll all be titles you’ve never heard of? Think again. The wide variety on offer includes Sin City, Archie, Tank Girl, Umbrella Academy, Transformers, Aliens vs Predator, and Appleseed.

There’s very little manga on offer sadly but, with new titles being added regularly, hopefully this will change with time. If you’re after game licenses then there’s a lot on offer there, including the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Sonic, Sea of Thieves, Halo, and Turok. Now, we could spend ages simply talking about the comics, recommending hidden gems you might otherwise miss such as the excellent Death Sentence, but let’s look at the actual comic reader as it functions on Switch.

The app is a little clunky at time of writing – it can take a few seconds to load sections, downloads are oddly slow, and a recent update signed us out of the app when we booted it up again – but overall it does the job fine. A multi-tiered set of parental controls is welcome. All content is allowed by default but if, for example, you wanted to let a young son or daughter use the account to read comics, it’s easy enough to ensure they don’t accidentally end up in the middle of a gory sweary adventure.

The actual comic reader is very basic but, again, does what it needs to well enough. Flick either stick left or right to hide or display the instructional UI, and navigate up and down by moving it… er… up or down (yes, you’ll probably turn the UI on by accident now and then). If the comic is compatible with the “eazycomics” system, then you can flick from panel to perfectly fitted panel with speed and ease, as you may have experienced with other comic readers. A huge number of comics, sadly, don’t have this feature; but zooming in by tapping ‘A’ and simply scrolling down the pages usually works very well. Remember to zoom out to take in those double page spreads, though.

There’s no bookmark feature, but the app will always remember where you where when you quit, shut down, switch between comics, etc. You need to download a comic to read it and, as previously mentioned, this can take a while. However! This means that you can enjoy your comics on the lovely wide Switch screen wherever you like (no portrait orientation reading option, sadly). When you’re reading at home, the Switch dock gives you the interesting option of reading on your TV. And you know what? It’s great! Older comics inevitably don’t stand up to big screen scrutiny quite so well as newer ones, but it’s still cool, and likely an option you’ll take advantage of whenever you can.

With a decent selection, a subscription option sitting alongside individual comic purchases, regular new titles, and decent sales on decent comics, Izneo is an attractive proposition for any Switch-owning comic fan. Take a look – we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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