(Pocket-lint) - We already knew that Nintendo delayed its full, paid-for online service until next year but in the meantime is allowing players to connect to each other for free. That means playing multiplayer games over the internet, such as Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon 2, out this week, is possible.

It will also soon be possible to chat with each other online while doing so, on Splatoon 2 at least, as the official Nintendo Switch Online app is now available on iOS and Android.

You can download it from the respective app stores although the servers and, therefore, features are currently unavailable. We suspect they will be live by Friday though.

Voice chat functionality for Splatoon 2 is restricted to the smartphone app, through SplatNet 2, so you'll need that running while you play matches. The Switch Online app can also make match-ups over Twitter, Facebook or amongst your registered Switch friends, plus gives you running scores and rankings based on your action.

Chats can be with the whole room or in teams for head-to-head action.

The Nintendo Switch Online app is completely free to download, but at present just comes up with an error message when you attempt to sign into your Nintendo account: "The service is not available as the server is currently undergoing maintenance. Please wait," it says.

Writing by Rik Henderson.