Essentially, Nintendo has offered up the 408MB download early as a means to pre-load the beta that will run across six hour-long intervals from March 24 to March 26. The preemptive availability was likely made to curb any chance of server download issues on the eShop when Testfire goes live.
As of publication, the beta was only available in the Japanese eShop, but if you are too anxious for it to pop up on the North American or European eShops, the Switch’s region-free nature lets you download full games and demos from other regions’ eShops with relative ease. If you can hold off though, we’d be surprised if Testfire didn’t show up on other regions’ eShops soon.
When Testfire commences, it will be the first game to truly put the Switch’s online service to the, well, test. Launch games like Fast RMX contained online multiplayer, but considering that roughly 33 percent of Wii U users owned a copy of Splatoon, it’s safe to say that Switch servers will be jam-packed for the sequel’s beta. Testfire will give users the chance to try out the new Splat Dualies as well as modified versions of the beloved Splat Roller and Splat Charger. It’s unclear how many maps will be available in Testfire or even how the beta time slots, shown below, will work.
The full game, launching this summer, will include new additions such as local multiplayer and online spectator mode. At release, users will be able to play Splatoon 2 online without a paid subscription, but that will change this fall. For now, keep an eye out for the Testfire beta and join us in staring impatiently at the placeholder screen.