Thanks to its hybrid nature, the Nintendo Switch is the perfect console for role-playing games. The genre is vast and complex, with games roughly being divided into Western and Japanese role-playing games, but no matter where they have been developed, they share some traits which may make it difficult for players to sit hours upon hours in front of a screen trying to get at the end of each adventure.
Bringing these games on the go, however, can make these long hours way more manageable. And if you want to know which are the best Nintendo Switch RPGs, you’re at the right place!
During its first three years, the Nintendo Switch received its good share of role-playing games, both brand new games, and ports of titles released on other formats.
As such, it’s very difficult to list only 15 noteworthy games: we tried our best and came up with a list that can satisfy the taste of fans of the genre as a whole, but fortunately there are many more available.
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With these in mind, here are the 15 best Nintendo Switch RPGs to play in 2020:
Child of Light (Ultimate Edition)
Child of Light is among the most interesting role-playing games released in recent years, and it’s a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch thanks to both its unique art style and gameplay mechanics.
In Child of Light, players control Princess Aurora, the apparently dead daughter of an Austrian Duke. The young princess has been transported to the mysterious world of Lemuria and she will have to fight the Dark Queen who has befouled the kingdom, restoring it to its former glory.
Accompanying Aurora are the firefly Igniculus, who will help Aurora actively during the course of the game, as well as several other companions.
What sets Child of Light apart from other RPGs is the fact that it features some interesting platform games elements, which make exploration a true joy.
The battle system may not be too innovative, as it resembles that seen in many other games, but the game’s unique graphics and exploration mechanics are more than enough to make it one of the best RPGs on the system.
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII is a true classic, and the game that paved the way for the JRPG explosion of the late 90s, early 2000s in North America and Europe, and after 22 years, it has finally been released on a Nintendo console.
The game has been widely available on pretty much every major PlayStation console of the last decade as well as on PC, but playing the game on Nintendo Switch is something else, also thanks to the portability factor. Final Fantasy VII is not a short game at all, so being able to play it for short bursts on the go is a true godsend.
Final Fantasy VII is a classic JRPG as far as they go. Players control Cloud Strife and his companions as they travel all over the world to solve a major crisis which could bring the end of everything. The game’s battle system is the typical Active Time Battle system of previous entries in the series, deepened by a few new mechanics.
With Final Fantasy VII, you really cannot go wrong, as it has every element that makes a JRPG great: an epic story, lots of content, plenty of customization possibilities and a lot of secrets that can keep players occupied for a very long time. Never heard of the Knights of the Round?
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a game that no one thought possible, as it combines the world and characters of the Super Mario Bros. series with the Rabbids, the rabbit-like creatures that have been introduced by the Rayman series years ago. The result? A completely wacky game that’s also incredibly solid.
Unlike most of the games included in this list, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a tactical role-playing game where players and enemy take turns in moving the units on the battlefield, attack enemies, unleash special attacks and more. Everything is done in the wackiest of fashions, so don’t expect things to be any serious at all.
Coupled with multiplayer mode and additional content released after launch, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is the RPG on Nintendo Switch that appeals to the widest possible audience: whether you are a fan of the genre, of Mario or of the Rabbids, the game has something for you.
Octopath Traveler is the only exclusive JRPG released on Nintendo Switch by the console, and it’s, luckily, one of the best released by the Japanese publisher in recent years.
Octopath Traveler is a very difficult JRPG to classify. It has a lot of classic elements, like sprite-based graphics, turn-based battle system, a Job system which allows for a lot customization possibilities, and a simple, character-driven story, but all these elements have been tweaked quite a bit, giving the game a very unique feel.
It’s not without flaws, to be honest, but there’s no other JRPG experience like Octopath Traveler not only on Nintendo Switch, but on the market as a whole.
Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee / Pikachu
The Pokemon series has been the very first taste of the JRPG experience for many, so it’s not surprising that Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu are among the best games on Nintendo Switch.
Like in the original Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow, players will take on the role of a Pokemon trainer, traveling all over the Kanto regions collecting monsters to train, defeat the Gym Leaders and then the Elite Four to become a Pokemon Master. All of the original 151 Pokemon are available in the two games, so it’s definitely a trip down nostalgia lane for all players.
While the two games are pretty faithful mechanically to the original games, the few quality of life improvements and new features, like local co-op, make Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu the game to get if you’re a fan of the series and even of JRPG in general.
Tales Of Vesperia Definitive Edition
The Tales series began on a Nintendo console, and one of its most entries, Tales of Symphonia, saw its success on a Nintendo console. Since then, the series has tied itself to PlayStation, but this year it has made its comeback on a Nintendo console with Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition.
Tales Of Vesperia Definitive Edition is a unique blend of a regular JRPG with a battle system, the Linear Motion Battle System, which is very reminiscent of 2D fighting games, with players being able to create some intricate combos using many of the special attacks, called Artes, available to all characters.
Tales Of Vesperia arguably also features the best cast in the series, with main character Yuri Lowell being particularly liked for being closer to an anti-hero than a straightforward hero. All characters are equally well-developed, which makes the story a true joy to follow.
The Definitive Edition also adds a lot of new content to the Xbox 360 version, so if you’re looking for a long and involving game, Tales Of Vesperia Definitive Edition is the game to get.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is considered to be among the best role-playing games ever released, so how could it not be among the best RPGs available on Nintendo Switch?
The game developed by Bethesda gives players to do pretty much everything they want in the game’s world, with no barriers or limitations whatsoever.
Sure, you must still take care of a dragon set to destroy the world, but you can take so many detours that you will eventually forget about your task, and continue exploring the world at your leisure.
While the Nintendo Switch version lacks mod support, there are features that make up for it, such as the exclusive Zelda series themed content and the ability to play the game on the go.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Many have argued over the course of the years that The Legend of Zelda games are not true role-playing games, so the inclusion of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may feel weird.
Truth is, Breath of the Wild is not a true RPG as much as it isn’t a true adventure game, or open world game: it’s the sum of its parts.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a true reimagining of the series, going back to its roots while keeping things fresh and modern.
While previous entries in the series have given players plenty of freedom in how to tackle the many dungeons and the dangers that lurk within, Breath of the Wild simply drops Link in Hyrule and lets players do what they want, even head straight to the final boss if they so desire.
This freedom is not just limited to how to progress through the game, but also for how to deal with puzzles and enemies.
The game gives players so many tools to work with that players can find some very creative ways to deal with things, which contributes in making the game one of the most unique Zelda games as well as one of the best Nintendo Switch games released so far.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
The Ys series is among the longest-running action role-playing game series still active today, and the latest entry in it, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, is among the finest.
In Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, developer Falcom has turned every feature introduced in Ys SEVEN and Ys: Memories of Celceta, up a notch. The story is the deepest seen in the series, with a large cast of characters, and two different tales that eventually intertwine for an epic finale.
The action is better than ever, with players having a lot more freedom in battle, unleash some very powerful attacks against enemies and confront some huge bosses that can kill your party in just a few hits.
Everything in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is very satisfying, so don’t think twice about getting the game if you’re in the mood of a fast-paced, action-packed game full of content.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 may not be the direct sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles (sorry, it’s not Reyn time anymore) but in every aspect of the experience, the JRPG by Monolith Software is a huge step up.
The story is definitely epic, but it probably relies too much on anime tropes to make fans of the first game forget about Shulk and his friends, but it’s serviceable enough to keep things going.
The actual gameplay, however, has been improved in every possible way, with the battle system receiving some well-needed tweaks that make it extremely enjoyable. Character progression has also been expanded, allowing for greater customization.
The series is known for its huge scope in terms of locations, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 definitely delivers in this regard, offering a sprawling world that cannot be seen in full if one only follows the story.
Collection of Mana
Take a trip down memory lane with a collection of three games in the Mana series, complete with multiplayer support: 1 to 3 players in Secret of Mana and up to 2 players in Trials of Mana.
If you haven’t played the original titles back in the days like us older dudes and dudettes did, you might not enjoy it as much since it will seem outdated (we’re talking about games originally launched more than a decade ago, after all). But if you loved them back then, you’ll get massive satisfaction from getting the chance to play them again on your Switch.
This is one of my favorite games ever – and I’m sure I am not the only one who can say this. As a result, this should be considered a must play for any Switch owner, especially if they haven’t played the game on another platform.
You will simply fall in love with the charming world in Stardew Valley, with the mundane tasks that you have to complete, with the freedom of doing whatever you want and like without any real pressure.
You’ll relax playing this game and you’ll feel amazing. There are few titles out there that manage to accomplish this!
Get the game from the Nintendo Game Store.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition
A deep, complex adventure awaits in Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition, a game that fans of tactical games and isometric views will absolutely love.
With a really deep story, with multiple characters to choose from and create your party, tons of skills and items and a huge world, this game is a must have in our opinion and the fact that you can play it on your Switch is just a massive, extra bonus.
Get the game from the Nintendo Game Store.
DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
While the title got ridiculously long and you’ll never want to say it more than once, the truth is that the highly anticipated entry in the Dragon Quest franchise is a joy for fans and newcomers alike who want to play it on Switch.
With a ragtag band of adventurers, you’ll engage in well-balanced, turn-based battles and embark on quests across the kingdom of Erdrea. Forge gear, develop party members’ skills, and alter their outfits without changing gear in this edition of the game!
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Last but not least, we have an amazing turn based RPG to add to our list. The new game in the series delivers innovative gameplay and new mechanics, as well as eye candy visuals for Nintendo Switch owners.
In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, you take the role of a professor who has to guide their students into deeply strategic battles, assign battalions for support and and win the war that’s coming to Fodlan.
As we already mentioned, putting this list together has been difficult, considering how many good RPGs are available on the Nintendo Switch. Let us know of any noteworthy game that should have made the list in your opinion in the comments below.