I have a bugfix branch for a platform, and while waiting for it to be merged and released, I published my fork of that platform to a scoped package on npm (i.e., @dpogue/cordova-android).
In config.xml, there does not appear to be a way to specify that cordova prepare should restore that scoped package instead of the canonical Apache one.
results in a warning being printed about a null or unrecognized platform.
results in pulling the Apache version from npm, ignoring my scoped package.
A workaround for now is to use a git URL, but the advantage of npm is that it can download a tarball without the network cost of doing a full git clone.
Also worth noting that scoped npm packages are supported with plugins:
works as intended.