For That Gaming Itch: Our List of the 21 Best RPGs on Switch

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Role-playing games (RPGs) have an elephant sized mark in the trove of Nintendo’s exciting games for Switch. But with the thousands of titles on the platform, plus the major games releasing each month, it would be hard for anyone to pick the best RPGs on Switch in an instant. Taxing, it may seem, but this is what this article tries to solve.

Also read: The 20 Best Mobile RPGs Of All Time

 

The Best RPG Games on Switch

For whichever console, its bread and butter will always be RPG games. Whether it’s ARPGs, cRPGs, or JRPGs, gamers will always appreciate a well-written, player-focused campaign. For our non-ordered list, we’ll only consider games available for Switch in download and cartridge form which excludes all Sega Ages and Arcade Archives titles, as well as demos and stand-alone DLC content. We’ve also placed an ESRB note per game to help parents decide if these are good Switch games for kids.

 

1. Octopath Traveler

ESRB Rating: Teen

Prices: $59.99 (Normal Edition), $99.99 (Wayfarer)

Octopath is similar to earlier Square Enix Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest that have world exploration and random encounters. Combat is turn-based while characters enjoy a flexible job-class system. The game has partial voice acting in English and Japanese, while its visuals show a world reminiscent of 16-bit games. The game is available for the Switch in two editions, the normal edition and a Wayfarer’s Edition which includes physical goodies like an original soundtrack (OST), a replica coin, a two-sided cloth game world map, and a pop-up book.

The plot follows the stories of eight main characters in the world of Orsterra as they try to solve their individual problems. Through the game, the characters’ plotlines would bring all eight to band together and unify the storyline.

Normal Edition from the Nintendo Store

Wayfarer’s Edition  from the Nintendo Store

 

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

ESRB Rating: Mature 17+

Price: $59.99

Following Oblivion, Skyrim is the fifth main installment of Bethesda Game Studios’ The Elder Scrolls Series. Similar to their Fallout series, this game also features first and third-person gameplay and open-world exploration. The game was originally released on PC and later for Switch with a remastered version. Since then, it became one of the best RPGs on Switch. The Special Edition for Switch contains all the previously released DLC as well as a graphics upgrade from the original.

Skyrim follows the story of the Dragonborn, in the imperial region of Skyrim. The land is beset by a civil war between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks, and the revival of the long-dead dragons. You as the hero with the power of the Thu’um, must use your power to decide the fate of Skyrim.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Nintendo Game Store

 

3. Disgaea 5 Complete

ESRB Rating: Teens

Price: $39.99

While waiting for Disgaea 6, an upcoming Nintendo Switch game, Disgaea 5 Complete remains one of the best RPGs on Switch. It is a remake of Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance for Switch consoles.  This version includes all previously released DLC without online play. This RPG/combat game plays on a grid-based tactical field similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre. Off-battle, the game features a robust character hiring and building system with secondary side-missions like interrogations.

Disgaea 5 has you in the role of the Tyrant Overlord Killidia who ends up as a pupil of martial arts master Goldion. Due to a conflict, Goldion’s son Void takes Killidia’s power and becomes the Overlord Void Dark using his army, The Lost. Killidia, powerless and weak, joins Overlord Seraphina to help her overthrow Void Dark and free the netherworlds.

Disgaea 5 Complete on Nintendo Game Store

 

4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gameplay featuring Link.
Photo from the Nintendo Game Store

ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

Price: $59.99

Breath of the Wild (BotW) is the newest inclusion in the Legend of Zelda franchise, a classic RPG. The breakout game for Switch, BotW was included as a launch game. The title has sold more than 24 million copies worldwide by 2021. BotW is a reinvention of the series by turning it into a 3D game with high-definition visuals, voice acting, and a freely traversable open world. Similar to titles like Skyrim and Doom Eternal, BotW is played in third-person. This allows players to solve problems in their own way through a massively free and open world.

Like other Zelda games, BotW has you in the role of Link. As a knight of Princess Zelda, you join her and the four Divine Beast pilots 10,000 years after the Calamity Ganon was sealed by the ancient Sheikah race.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Game Store

 

5. Witcher III: The Wild Hunt

Witcher III gameplay with Geralt of Rivia exploring on horseback.
Photo from the Nintendo Game Store

ESRB Rating: Mature 17+

Price: $39.99 (base), $59.99 (Complete)

Witcher III: The Wild Hunt is CD Projekt Red’s only entry for the Switch. Regardless, it still managed to be one of the best RPGs for the console. Wild Hunt is the third game in the series which is based on books by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. Its Switch release comes in two ways; a base edition with optional downloadable content (DLCs) to be bought and a complete edition which has all the DLCs included.

You play as Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter or ‘Witcher’ of great renown. The game begins with you receiving a letter from your lover Yennefer, imploring you to meet her at the capital Vizima. After a meeting with the emperor, it’s revealed your adopted daughter and fellow Witcher, Ciri, is actually the blood daughter of the emperor. You are then tasked with finding her and saving her from the mysterious Wild Hunt. Your task would put you through the desolated province of Velen, the city of Novigrad, and the separated Skellige Isles.

Witcher III: The Wild Hunt (Base) on Nintendo Game Store

Witcher III: The Wild Hunt (Complete) on Nintendo Game Store

 

6. Diablo III: Eternal Edition

ESRB Rating: Mature 17+

Price: $59.99

Developed by the same people behind the Warcraft and Starcraft series, Diablo III is the long-awaited sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo II. The Eternal Edition includes all DLC content with additional Nintendo exclusives. Known for its tough gameplay and hack-and-slash action, Diablo III follows the prequel’s dark fantasy and horror themes with long forays into dark dungeons and defiled temples.

The plot comes in four story arcs. The game starts with you, a newcomer to New Tristam, just in time to watch a falling star crash into the Tristam Cathedral. Rushing to help against the suddenly rising undead, you find an ailing Deckhard Cain, a supporting character in the series. From there, you learn about the leader of the undead hordes and embark on a quest to finish him off.

Diablo III Eternal Collection on Nintendo Game Store

 

7. Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter Rise battle sequence.
Photo from the Nintendo Game Store

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $59.99

The Monster Hunter Rise by Capcom rolled out in March 2021 and easily became a favorite RPG on Switch. Building upon the success of Monster Hunter: World, the game features a continuous open-world map with added ‘vertical’ world movement. As a typical loot-based ARPG, Rise has players look at their characters through a third-person view during battle. The game has several DLCs including a special Deluxe Edition with some armor and poses sets.

The game places you as a villager in Kamura. Surrounded by harsh monsters, the guild announces you as a newly promoted Hunter in a meeting with village elder Fugen. During your meeting, you discovered there are signs of another ‘Rampage,’ a tragedy 50 years ago where frenzied monsters decimated the village. You’re then tasked with preparing for and defeating this upcoming Rampage as a hunter of the village.

Languages available include Japanese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and English.

Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Game Store

 

8. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $59.99

This entry is made by Nihon Falcom, the minds behind the Brandish and Ys series of games. Trails of Cold Steel IV is the concluding game to the Cold Steel arc. Its combat is a mix of tactical and turn-based genres with moves going in turns. The characters, however, are able to move on a limited grid-less battlefield. The game’s graphics and style slightly resemble Phantasy Star Online games.

As a direct sequel, the game continues two weeks from the third game’s ending, with the continent of Zemuria engulfed in the flames of war.

Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV on Nintendo Game Store

 

9. Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles gameplay highlighting Sega’s CANVAS engine.
Photo from the Nintendo Game Store

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $19.99

The first in the Valkyria Chronicles, this game came out in 2008 for PS3 consoles. In 2018, the RPG finally made to Switch, including all previously released DLC. The Valkyria series runs on Sega’s CANVAS graphics engine which stylizes the game to look like watercolor and stencil portraits. Its playstyle is unique with a mix of first and third-person views and turn-based gameplay. The game sees players move individual soldiers and tanks through realistic battlefields.

Reminiscent of the tumultuous Europe of 1935, Valkyria Chronicles plays out in the continent of Europa, where the East Europan Imperial Alliance and Atlantic Federation are at a stalemate. The Empire suddenly invades the Principality of Gallia for its abundant Ragnite resources. Stuck with an enemy marching at its doorstep, you are to lead Lieutenant Welkin Gunther and his Squad 7 of the Gallian Militia to defend their home.

Valkyria Chronicles on Nintendo Game Store

 

10. Terraria

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $29.99

Terraria is the first game designed and developed by Re-Logic. Considered a rogue-like RPG, it was developed to be a procedurally generated 2D scrolling world. The game allows players to explore, craft, paint, fight monsters, and build bases and homes. The game’s art style heavily looks like retro 8 and 16-bit games. The Switch version features 8-player online play and touch screen support.

Compared to other games on this list, Terraria is unique in having no main plot and instead has many missions and quests for players. This leaves players exploring the wide world and creating their own stories for themselves.

Terraria on Nintendo Game Store

 

11. Stardew Valley

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $14.99

Stardew Valley is one of the few highly successful independently made games and also one of the best RPGs on Switch. It is reminiscent of Harvest Moon, sharing similar gameplay features and styles. This includes the farming mechanic, stamina and health bars, and the NPC interaction mechanics. Its visual style is also similar to Harvest Moon with 16 and 32-bit avatars and backgrounds.

Sick with your work, you open the final letter your grandfather left you before he passed away. In the letter, he suggests for you to get away from city life and move to Pelican Town, where he’d left you a house with a plot of land to farm. From there, you are free to set your own goals. There are also missions and quests in the game. You may accomplish them through your interactions with NPCs, completing ‘bundles’ in the Community Center, or by saving up for a JojaMart Membership.

Stardew Valley on Nintendo Game Store

Also read: Stardew Valley on Mobile (Beginner’s Guide)

 

12. Dark Souls: Remastered

Image of the Dark Souls main character resting in front of a campfire.
Photo from the Nintendo Game Store

ESRB Rating: Mature 17+

Price: $39.99

The only Switch game from FromSoftware, Dark Souls: Remastered is an enhanced remaster of the PS3 version with the Artorias of the Abyss DLC included. FromSoftware is known for their hard to beat gameplay. That continues with this remaster as players are advised to always take caution and learn from their mistakes. The game is played from a third-person view with typical hack-and-slash gameplay and timed attack triggers.

The game starts with you inside an undead asylum. Wanting to be free from your undead curse, you have to travel to the land of the Gods to restore or destroy the current age of humanity.

Dark Souls: Remastered on Nintendo Game Store

 

13. XCom 2 Collection

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $49.99

The XCom 2 Collection features the War of the Chosen expansion as well as the Resistance Warrior, Anarchy’s Children, Alien Hunters, and Shen’s Last Gift DLC packs. It has two distinct modes: a strategic base and a tactical mode. The strategic base mode requires players to allocate resources and manage research. On the other hand, the tactical mode allows players to control soldiers in turn-based combat.

The game is set 20 years after XCom: Enemy Unknown’s bad ending. You play as the Commander, the same one who led XCom in the previous game. After waking up from forced stasis, you are told that the aliens have won and the world is now controlled by their puppets, the ADVENT Administration. You are then tasked with leading the remnants of those still resisting the alien occupiers.

XCom 2 Collection on Nintendo Game Store

 

14. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $59.99

Three Houses is the first of Intelligent Systems’ games to reach the Switch and the first on consoles since Radiant Dawn. The 13th entry into the main Fire Emblem series, Three Houses combines features fans loved about the games. It has two distinct parts. The first focuses on the game’s social and time management element with a voiced visual novel like decisions and conversations. The other one focuses more on the tactical RPG aspect of the game with its traditional grid-based battle system.

You are free to choose your character presets at the start of the game without much impact on the story. From there, the player is tasked with teaching at Garreg Mach Monastery, a middle ground for the three superpowers on the Fodlan continent. Your decisions and actions as a teacher will heavily impact the future storyline. Consequently, your students will be the succeeding generation of the three countries’ leadership.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses on Nintendo Game Store

 

15. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $59.99

Known for their work on Xenosaga, Monolith Soft created Xenoblade using the aesthetic and narrative style of their previous Xeno-series work. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is the expanded remake of the original that was released in 2010. It has a graphics upgrade and an extra epilogue scenario a year after the game’s events. But the game still features the same ARPG open-world gameplay separated into areas of movement while making some button changes for Joy-Con use.

The entire plot happens on top of two continent-sized frozen bodies of warring titans, the Bionis and the Mechonis. You play as Shulk, one of the human-like Homs who is a denizen of Bionis. The Bionis are in a war against the mechanoid Mechonis with the tide turning against them. You then find that you can use the mythical sword Monado, a relic from the Bionis, to give you glimpses into the future.  Using your newly found power, you embark on your quest for revenge against the Mechonis. With a rich aesthetic and narrative style, this game is easily one of the best RPGs on Switch

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition on Nintendo Game Store

 

16. Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield

ESRB Rating: Everyone

Price: $59.99 (Pokemon Sword), $59.99 (Pokemon Shield), 199.99 (Double Pack)

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are the latest releases in Game Freak’s Pokemon franchise. This release is similar to previous Pokemon games with dual games. The biggest differences to older games include the dynamic of Dynamaxing & Gigantamaxing, 81 new Pokemon, 13 regional Pokemon forms, and not having all pre-existing Pokemon on the games’ Pokedex. The two versions mainly differ with the Pokemon available to be caught in both. Both also feature optional DLCs: The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra.

Galar is the newest Pokemon region. Based on the United Kingdom, you can once again catch, train, and raise your Pokemon. Feel free to go forth and challenge the Elite Four to be the new Pokemon Champion.

Pokemon Sword on Nintendo Game Store

Pokemon Shield on Nintendo Game Store

Double Pack on Nintendo Game Store

17. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $49.99

Part of Square Enix’s flagship Final Fantasy series, The Zodiac Age is a remake of Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System. Compared to other Final Fantasy games, The Zodiac Age plays more like an ARPG with players controlling characters from the third-person view in real-time combat.

The player takes the shoes of Vaan, a young man who’d lost his family in the war between the Archadian Empire and the Kingdom of Dalmasca and living in the streets. In an attempt to better your life, you infiltrate a dinner for the Archadian diplomat and find a magicite crystal before it’s attacked by Dalmascan rebels.

Languages available include Japanese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and English.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on Nintendo Game Store

 

18. Va-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

ESRB Rating: Mature 17+

Price: $14.99

A slightly different entry in this list, Va-11 Hall-A (Vallhalla) is more of a visual novel and bartender simulator compared to an RPG. Vallhalla features non-linear gameplay with multiple endings and a plotline dependent entirely on the drinks you serve NPCs. This alone makes it an exciting RPG to play on Switch.

Situated in a dystopian world, the small downtown bar of Va-11 Hall-A is hosted by its bartender, Jill. You take control of Jill during her days tending to her interesting regulars and a few newcomers wanting to have a place to relax and drink.

Vallhalla on Nintendo Game Store

 

19. YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG

YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG town exploration mode gameplay.
Photo from the Nintendo Game Store

ESRB Rating: Mature 17+

Price: $19.99

Developed by independent Ackk Studios, YIIK is a 3D JRPG made in the west. It is a game that feels like a love letter to classic JRPGs like Mother and Chrono Trigger due to graphics and playstyle. YIIK is like any classic RPG with turn-based combat and world exploration.

The game is set in the 1990s where you are investigating the mystery of the disappearance of Semi Park in a supposed supernatural event. Together with your eight friends, you go out and explore the world and fight using everyday objects.

YIIK on Nintendo Game Store

 

20. Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition

ESRB Rating: Teen
Price: $24.99

Sunless Skies is of the best Nintendo Switch games if you’re into more text-heavy gameplay. Made by Failbetter Games, the game features 800,000+ words in stories inspired by CS Lewis, Jules Verne, HP Lovecraft, and HG Wells. The game is similar to a gothic rogue-like adventure with a focus on exploration and decisions.

Set in the same world as the previous Sunless Seas, you are a captain of one of the many locomotives exploring the skies of the Victorian Empire in Space. You are free to create your character and your past before fighting through the game’s four regions in real-time combat.

Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition on Nintendo Game Store

 

21. RPG Maker MV

ESRB Rating: Teen

Price: $49.99

Published by NIS America for the Kadokawa Corporation, RPG Maker MV is the newest in a long-running series of RPG Maker games. Less of a game and more of an app, RPG Maker is good for those wanting to take their own stab at making their RPG games since it a whole range of assets for game creation.

RPG Maker MV on Nintendo Game Store

 

Takeaways on the Best RPGs on Switch

It’s hard to make an unranked list of the best RPGs on Switch since it covers too many subgenres. There’s also a lot of upcoming Switch releases to look forward to. Since we focused on just RPGs, we’ve left off of games like Animal Crossing and Miitopia from the list. While a bit biased, this is our unordered list of games we like that’s currently on Switch.

Switch isn’t the only platform we’ve made a list on. We also have a list of the best mobile RPGs as well.

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