RPGs have a cult following. They are often referred to as the religion to gaming, interesting only those who prefer to have a complete holistic experience of a game. What makes an RPG is the characterization, where you play the role of a character on a quest. But there is no RPG without a strong storyline. In the end, the takeaway from an RPG is to live the life of a character on a wondrous journey, as if it is a storybook while you are inside it.
Nintendo Switch has cleverly slotted itself as the go-to gaming console for RPGs. With quite a few dedicated releases and the universe of anime and manga behind it, the best Switch RPGs are a world of their own.
So, let’s go inside it!
Best Nintendo Switch RPG Games List
17. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The reason why this game is placed at 17 is only to grab your attention and give you an inkling for all that’s up next. The Legend of Zelda may just be the most endearing RPG game series you can come across. But with this 2019 release, you get to enjoy it all over again.
Play as Link wandering lost in the seas and shoring up at Koholint islands. Navigate your way through the Mabe Village, the misty Mysterious Forest and away you go. Unlock regions and engage with the truly epic storyline, defeat enemies, outsmart dungeon traps.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening takes every advantage of the latest high-end graphics enhancements, delivering beautifully crafted landscapes and characters. If you have played at least the 2011 version, you will surely love the game evolves with modern graphics and gameplay.
This is one of the best RPGs for Switch out there and if action-adventure is up to your alley, play this first.
If there was ever a story better off told as a game than in any other medium or way, it is Undertale. What makes this one of the best RPGs on Switch is where it leaves you after it’s finished.
You start off as a child who has fallen underground, trapped in it, with monsters all around. Seems simple, but it’s far from it. Play through the dodge-and-win 2D battles and you will surely end up paying more attention to the intricate behind-the-scenes gameplay and dark humor. Precisely what brings this game to life is not the game itself, and instead the unexpectedly intelligent storyline or game engine behind it.
Yes, this is a 2D game, prehistoric compared to most other RPGs around. Yet all said and done, Undertale leave a mark.
Popularly rated as one of the most addictive RPGs around, Heroes of Hammerwatch is an unending gaming experience that puts right on the cliff of fulfillment and then takes it away only to show you there’s more. The game is perfectly difficult yet devilishly simple.
Make sure you have the Ultimate edition though. That way, you get access to a whole army of starting characters, each with their own skill trees and upgrades. Enjoy the retro-style pixel graphics with some noticeable modern flair.
Build your heroes and spend money wisely on arguably the best rogue-lite game today. Play with your friends or strangers to get the best out of this game.
Note that though playing Heroes of Hammerwatch in hand-held or on Switch Lite can be a tad difficult – pixel art all the way but sometimes the graphics are too small.
14. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
A highly anticipated release, the 3rd iteration comes 3 whole years after the first 2 parts, popularly considered as one of the best JRPGs on Nintendo Switch. It’s expansive, well-paced, and beautifully laid out.
Trails of Cold Steel starts off from the first 2 iterations with a bit off catching up to do as well. Placed in Erebonia, you play as Rean Schwarzer, now upgraded from a student to an instructor at the Military Academy. You also get a substantial upgrade to the combat mechanics, use your Dual Shock 4 to the fullest as well as the combo properties.
If you have played Harvest Moon, then you would love this subtle but noticeable twist to it. In case you haven’t, you will Rune 4 Factory either way. Although at heart an action-adventure RPG, but what makes this among the best RPGs on Switch is the possibilities and minute attention to gameplay detail.
The storyline could have done a bit better than dropping you off in a village where you are mistaken as a prince (or princess) only for the real royalty to come in later and provide you a place to stay in the castle out of goodwill.
After that though, pass your days with farming, meeting and greeting the villagers, exploring dungeons, fighting bosses. Rune 4 Factory Special will keep you entertained with its day-night gameplay and some excellent lyrics.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 scores high on almost all pointers for a typical RPG game checklist. Yet, it nudges ahead by just that much with its intense morality, challenging decision-making, and a gripping underlying storyline.
It has it all – the challenging turn-based combat system, invoking narrative, exquisite graphics, and more. Invest close to 80 hours and you will be left with memories. And it’s your own moral compass that will guide you through the ambiguity to nearly every action or decision in this game, good or evil, or somewhere in between.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is one of the most riveting RPGs on Switch you can find. Get the Definitive Edition for a perfect multi-player binge.
Arguably girls-only addition to this list, Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland is a short, crisp, cute, and essentially girly JRPG that steps aside from good and evil battles and simply delves into enjoyable anime gameplay. The sprawling Atelier tree of JRPGs are not known for their storyline and instead offer simple entertainment, best suited for this young at heart, just what this game is all about.
The story surrounds Lulua, the daughter of the popular Atelier protagonist Rorona, and a book that mysteriously drops on her from out of thin air. Only she can read the book and its alchemy and its secrets.
Worth mentioning other than pink dresses and typically JRPG narrative is the excellent open-ended crafting system, one of the best around. Mix and match almost any item to gain abilities and percentage buffs.
The sky is the limit and you are not obligated to max out stats. This game is worth playing just to enjoy this crafting engine and system, something other popular titles should consider improving on.
Popularly rated as one of the best action-adventure RPGs around, Pillars of Eternity is built on the game-changing Infinity Engine from developers Obsidian, the same game engine behind Baldur’s Gate and other akin old-school isometric RPGs. And this game worth playing no matter your RPG preferences lie.
A text-heavy game, nonetheless, get this Complete Edition that crams together the original game and the 2 story-adding iterations. What you will love other than the expansive world and an ever-changing base storyline and is the combat.
Obsidian does well to migrate a heavy keyboard-mouse gaming system into Switch and it does so with great aplomb. It’s the difficulty that will keep you hooked.
The gameplay is tough, well-paced, and rewarding. If it were for just the combat, Pillars of Eternity may just be one of the best RPGs on Switch you simply must play.
With this 3rd installment, the Witcher series sets a new benchmark for RPG games. Exquisite graphics, extensive open-world gameplay, an intelligently crafted game engine, and an epic storyline, Witcher 3 is everything an RPG fan would want from a game and more.
Witcher 3 sets new standards for graphics and the number of sub-plots an RPG can hold without shifting away from the central storyline. The gameplay is necessarily difficult, and you can’t simply go in and win any battle.
You are limited by the recommended levels for each battle and there is no way you can make your way across it. However, the only reason why Witcher 3 is one of the best RPGs is also what makes it too good to reach the absolute top of this Nintendo Switch RPG games list.
This game will push your Switch to its limits, and you will miss out on a lot of details and gameplay. It is best played for more powerful consoles or PCs, Witcher 3 is an epic RPG but just not suited to Switch.
This is the best Pokémon game to date. Period. Sword and Shield do finally deliver on more of what the fans want from a mainstream Pokémon game although there are a couple of hits and misses thrown in.
First things first, you get an open world to catch Pokémons. Not that you can catch anything you like. Level up first at gym battles. Yet it’s the open world that will keep you hooked for hours. There are loads of Pokémons out there and add that to perhaps the best generation of Pokémon designs and abilities yet, Sword and Shield is must-play for any Pokémon fan.
However, this game does not have the National PokéDex feature so your previous levelled up favorite Pokémons will not be featured. Graphics are great if not the best, perfectly suited for Switch and Switch Lite. If only the gym battles and the gaming engine were a bit better!
Comic series to anime games adaptations don’t come any better with the Battle Chasers: Nightwar series. Other than the turn-based battles, what makes this game a masterpiece is the underlying character personalities and the brilliant edge-of-your-seat side quests.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar centers around the central character Gully and her buddies including a nice ensemble of different characters, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and personas. More importantly, each character has a part to play as the whole team is dropped into a mysterious island replete with a gigantic deposit of mana.
As they try to make their daunting escape, they are faced with a barrage of enemies and interesting secrets along the way. What makes this game fantastic for its hours is the excellent gameplay and storyline. Graphics are crisp and refreshingly suited for Switch even in handheld mode. Enjoy!
A quintessential JRPG with a range of possibilities, Octopath Traveler gives you 8 unique characters to choose from and then to build a team off. Thereon, you wind your way through the basic storyline to engage in hard fought battles and win, not by brute force, but by strategy.
Octopath Traveler is one of the best JRPGs around that will make you think before you act. The range of possibilities are huge even though you will progress through the same storyline.
Build your central character and the other characters as well to make a strong enough team to win out. Strategize early on and this will take some time to get used to.
An intelligently rewarding yet simple game engine is what separates this game from most other ones around. If you are not looking for jaw-dropping graphics like in Witcher 3 and instead prefer the sit and think games, this is one of the best RPGs for Switch you will find out there.
If there was ever a remake that worked out it is this. Final Fantasy is widely regarded as one of the best iterations from long 15 game series and this remake is rated better than the latest Final Fantasy 15!
The risqué to retelling a beloved cult storyline is huge, yet the remake does not shy away from it. Instead, it asks the player to take close more attentive look. Final Fantasy VII Remake does not take out the fillers in the storyline, detailing more on them to give added substance making it a refreshing experience for all, even the initiated.
A huge leap forward is the real-time combat, frantic, exhilarating, and befitting to the game. Graphics, especially in-combat effects, are stunning. Cloud Strife is lovably childish. Midgar is larger than life. And this is one brave remake, arguably better than the original for a change!
3 games from one of the most popular RPG series never to be westernized from its Japanese roots, the Collection of Mana finally does that. Including the 16-bit masterpiece Trials of Mana and 2 other equally brilliant iterations, the Collection of Mana is the anglicized version of a Game Boy legend.
There was a time when manuals did not exist for expansive RPGs with sufficiently open-ended gameplay. Those where the times when video games with unwinding story-arches were just as revered as novellas. Collection of Mana is for the RPG puritans, still many in number, who sometimes prefer things as they were.
It offers a slice of the past, worth revisiting in easy-going emulated graphics, just why Collection of Mana makes it so high and late in this Nintendo Switch RPG games list.
Winning combat sequences will make you think harder and the complexly rewarding leveling system will make you reminisce about how things were back then.
You may be left wanting for a bit better graphics filters and most importantly, game manuals, considering the Japanese remastered repack had a 48-page manual added in.
Either way, along with the 2-player co-op option, this is a legendary game pack and you must play it out to be considered a true-blue RPG player.
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim is more than just an action-adventure RPG, it is a world in itself. For seasoned players, it is a world that does exist. Skyrim is the best RPG game ever created by a mile. Every action you take has its rewards, consequences, and repercussions on a world that is almost endless.
You can simply push through the main storyline after choosing any 1 of the 10 races. Yet that is not what Skyrim is about. It is instead for the gamer who would rather fumble through the possibilities and that is just where Skyrim excels at.
Put in 100+ hours to go through every game content you come across, you will have plenty more for 100 more. This is just with 1 race.
Choose sides between the warring factions and build characters, pushing each skill level to the max. Even then you can get killed in battle with the toughest enemy so far by a dragon sweeping in from out of nowhere. That is Skyrim, a world of infinite possibilities, enough to make you forget reality.
All said, playing Skyrim on Switch can be a challenge. The menus and in-game mechanics are hard to master even in docked mode. However, this should not stop you from giving it a try. For when you do, you will get hooked to it.
Skyrim is an experience every game must have at least once in their lifetime before Bethesda comes up with the next update.
Whether you love South Park or hate it, or better still, indifferent to it, Fractured But Whole is an RPG based on pop 2D animated series worth buying and playing. Why? Not cause its South Park and pun, but because this is an RPG game that will leave you with a smirk, something that few other games, let alone RPGs, can.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is tantalizing tale of reality convoluted with meaningful humor. It is intelligent, brain-tingling and unavoidably fun.
You do start off as The New Kid and the story is about your success at being a sidekick to becoming a full-blown superhero with a single motive – to have your own Netflix series. You do save the world from evil, but this underlying sarcastic endeavor is what makes this typically South Park-ish and hilariously enjoyable.
There’s a lot more to the game compared to the previous iteration (The Stick of Truth – another magnificent RPG!) with better combat mechanics and a bunch of additional variables (lava pools, chemical barrels, etc.)
This is one of the few RPGs where the last combat scene is as refreshing as the first one – there’s a lot of combat in this game. You can only win with strategy. Other than that, you can either cherish or hate South Park’s archetype. But you cannot deny this game.
Think of everything you can imagine from the best Switch RPGs, list them down and check them one after the other while playing Xenoblade Chronicles. It’s imaginative, fluid, refreshingly simple, exhilarating, in short, it is a JRPG with a relatable world and though of its own.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a more than worthy successor to the first iteration. This game is beautifully carved, voiced, crafted, and delivered on a platter of smoothly graphics with a balance of flavor for gamers and anime-lovers alike.
More than 80 hours of gameplay later, you are just scratching the sheer enormity of the game. And you are sure to have spent most of them simply ingesting the graphical epic that this game throws at you.
Unlike Witcher 3 though, you can enjoy the graphics, which are less about intense details and more on the imaginative bodies and worlds.
Speaking of worlds, there is just one, the ocean world of Alrest. You, Rex, are a scavenger of old civilization remnants from the bottom of the ocean floor. Things change when you come across the Blade, one of the most powerful weapons in the world.
This is just where Xenoblade 2 edges of the rest, depicting the weapon as an entity unto itself. The relationship between it and Rex is what heralds the rest of what this game offers. The psychological influence of this game is huge.
It is becalming, with a sense of justice prevailing above all, not true justice though, and there comes the ambiguity.
Your Switch can handle the game, and as you watch on Rex, standing on a plain in Uraya with the breeze blowing through the grass, you feel at one with him, thinking, hoping for a better world.
Xenoblade Chronicles is not as large as Skyrim, neither does it have the brilliant combat like Final Fantasy VII: Remake. But what it has is mostly indescribable. It is beautiful. That’s it. This is the best role-playing Nintendo Switch game even today.
Nintendo Switch is not the most powerful gaming console around and neither is it the most intuitive. It is, however, more experiential. Instead of bombarding you with a galaxy of enhanced modern graphics and whatnot, playing on Switch is better off as a much more internal experience and not an audiovisual extravaganza.
Just so, RPGs are best played on Switch, with their exorbitant gameplay allowing more time for relapse before the next sequence of actions. Enjoy the in-game dialogues and new side-quests as you saunter through the hours while lying back on your couch or bed. These are the best Switch RPGs you can play today. Feel free to add a few more and we may just review them as well!