18 Of The Best RPGs For The Nintendo Switch in 2020

Check out our round-up of the best Switch RPGs if you’re up for some looting and character customization on your commute to work lazy quarantine days.

April 25, 2020

Like Little Mac in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, never underestimate the Nintendo Switch. When the system first released, it seemed like it would mainly be for casual gamers, although it did have some flagship RPGs like Breath of the Wild. Over the years though, Nintendo has added a diverse and impressive number of RPGs to the Switch that are sure to please even the pickiest collector.

Whether you like JRPGs, AAA western titles, or retro/indie RPGs, there is something on the Switch for you. Here’s our list of 18 of the best Switch RPGs that showcases the wide variety available on this little powerhouse of a system.

17 Pokemon Sword and Shield

Initial Release DateNovember 15, 2019
DeveloperGame Freak
PublisherThe Pokemon Company, Nintendo
Pokemon Sword and Shielf Wallpaper

Pokemon Sword and Shield Townscape, Image Source: TechRadar

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are the latest role-playing games from the Pokemon universe. Similar to previous installments, Sword and Shield chronicle the journey of a Pokemon trainer who wants to become the ultimate Champion. 

Although some hardcore fans believe the story to be mediocre compared to previous games, thanks to its engaging game loop, Pokemon Sword and Shield is widely considered one of the best Switch RPGs to date. The games feature solid new Pokemon designs, beautiful graphics, enjoyable music, and a new battle mechanic called Dynamaxing.

We didn’t add this game higher on the list is because, unlike Pokemon Sun and Moon, which felt like a step in the right direction for the series, Sword and Shield kind of feels like it hit a plateau. While there is nothing inherently bad about the games, they do not bring enough to the table to be remarkable. The games aren’t flawless, but they can provide a solid base for future Pokemon generations. That being said, we are positive that fans of the series and casual gamers will enjoy them.

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16 Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas

Initial Release DateJune 22, 2017
DeveloperCornfox & Bros.
PublisherFDG Entertainment
oceanhorn monster of uncharted seas best switch rpgs

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, Image Source: Cornfox & Bros

If you waste as much time as I do arguing with strangers on the internet, you’ll be aware that not everyone is a fan of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It breaks from the mold of other Zelda games, and it definitely has an Assassin’s Creed “Ubisoft-ish” feel to it.

I think a lot of people slept on Oceanhorn, and I’m glad that I decided to give it a try. It’s not quite the real thing but it’s a whole lot of fun, like going to see a Legend of Zelda cover band.

It takes the best elements from Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and A Link to the Past, and updates the graphics. It doesn’t bring anything new to the Legend of Zelda format, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Oceanhorn doesn’t skimp on fun despite the cheap price, and it will definitely keep your Zelda addiction under control until the Link’s Awakening remake comes out in September. All in all, Oceanhorn is one of the best RPGs for switch at the moment. 

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15 Golf Story

Initial Release DateSeptember 28, 2017
DeveloperSidebar Games
PublisherSidebar Games
golf story best switch rpgs

Golf Story, Image Source: Sidebar Games

There are two kinds of golf games: golf sims with famous players, photorealistic graphics, and painstakingly true-to-life physics; and the second kind, which is golf games that are fun. The story in this Switch RPG is fairly simple, but it does a serviceable job, and the characters are well done with some truly awesome standouts like your coach.

The writing is funny without trying too hard, and I did find myself coming to actually care about the characters. There’s plenty of equipment and secrets to find, and each course presents a different kind of challenge which keeps it fresh.

The golfing mechanics are deep enough that I found myself forgetting that I was playing a comedy game and you will definitely be on the edge of your seat during the tournaments. You’ll want to play each course many times, which gives Golf Story excellent replayability. This is a fun RPG with great bang for your buck.

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14 Dark Souls Remastered

Initial Release DateOctober 18, 2018
DeveloperFromSoftware
PublisherBANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
dark souls remastered best switch rpgs

Dark Souls: Remastered, Image Source: FromSoftware

Despite the Mature rating, Dark Souls is the first hard RPG that many in the younger generation of gamers have played. It’s also one of the goriest games available on the Switch.

The remastered version includes the Artorias of the Abyss DLC and spruced-up graphics, which help since the massive budgets of 2 and 3 upped the stakes for what people expect from this series visually, and the original isn’t quite old enough to get a free pass due to nostalgia.

If you’re of the opinion that games these days are too easy, and you somehow missed this era-defining title on other systems, you owe it to yourself to give Dark Souls remastered a try.

Many people have claimed to beat the original, but we all know this world is full of liars. Pick this up on the Switch and get some instant street cred. It’s definitely one of the best Switch RPGs out there and a MUST-TRY experience for any serious gamer. The world-building and story-telling in Dark Souls 1 is mind-blowing. 

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13 Undertale

Initial Release DateSeptember 18, 2018
Developer8-4, Ltd
Publisher8-4
undertale best switch rpgs

Undertale, Image Source: Toby Fox

Undertale, in case you missed it, is one of the biggest smash-hit indie breakout RPGs of the past several years. Like Stardew Valley, it’s hard to believe that this was built by a one-man dev team.

If you normally pass on indie RPGs because their old-school combat matches the old-2school graphics, Undertale is for you. The only way to describe combat in Undertale is… unique.

It’s kinda’ turn-based, and kinda’ arcade joystick “bullet hell” shooter. It never gets old, and it’s been widely praised by video game critics.

Even the critics who you should actually respect. Undertale is also similar in overall style to the Earthbound/Mother game series, which has been great for western fans since we only ever got to play Earthbound 3 in the states. As a fan of RPGs, you owe it to yourelf to check out this game.

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  • xenoblade chronicles best jrpgs featured image Top 10 Best JRPGs You Can’t Miss - We've handpicked 10 JRPG games that we consider the best, from classics like Earthbound and Chrono Trigger, to modern titles such as Persona 4 Ni No Kuni II.

12 Octopath Traveler

Initial Release DateJuly 12, 2018
DeveloperSquare Enix CO., LTD
PublisherNintendo
octopath traveler best switch rpgs

Octopath Traveler, Image Source: Square Enix

Number 11 on our list of best RPGs for the Switch is Octopath Traveler. The art style in Octopath Traveler is so amazing that even if you’re not a fan of JRPGs with the 16-bit aesthetic, you should still give it a try.

It has a seriously long campaign with an episodic format that breaks it up into easily digestible chunks. Even though Octopath has a fixed perspective, the unique way in which it takes advantage of the foreground and background makes it a cut above other faux 3d RPGs.

Mixing and matching the 8 different characters is fun, although some have outside-of-combat special abilities that make them indispensable. The combat is fun, although there are still moments where you’ll definitely want to have the Evasive Maneuvers skill to lower the frequency of encounters.

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11 Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Initial Release DateJuly 12, 2018
DeveloperSquare Enix CO., LTD
PublisherNintendo
xenoblade chronicles 2 best switch rpgs

Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Image Source: Monolith Soft

Even though the Nintendo Switch is becoming a great place to find western AAA RPGs, there are great JRPGs like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that compete with the best that Sony has to offer.

It has a weird, unique open world, satisfying if again weird combat, and a story that manages to hold itself together (unlike a lot of JRPGs, which can be frankly confusing for many westerners).

It’s got a ton of DLC, including what’s basically a fully-fledged sequel. If JRPGs aren’t usually your thing, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a great entry point into the genre that avoids a lot of the common tropes that western audiences complain about in JRPGs, and hits a lot of the highpoints as well.

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10 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Initial Release DateNovember 16, 2017
DeveloperBethesda Game Studios
PublisherBethesda Softworks
skyrim best switch rpgs

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

A prolific modding community has kept the latest release in The Elder Scrolls series alive on the PC for the better part of a decade now, but vanilla Skyrim is an excellent addition to the Switch’s library of top-tier RPGs.

You may balk at paying full price yet again for this, but at least the Switch version includes all the official DLCs, as well as some Legend of Zelda-themed equipment.

The motion control support for combat also brings a much-needed improvement to a system that can only be called dated in 2019. Since apparently, we’re not anywhere close to seeing The Elder Scrolls VI yet, a return to Skyrim can help make the wait bearable. Until the inevitable sequel hits the virtual shelves, this is one of the best Switch RPGs you can find right now.

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9 Final Fantasy VII

Initial Release DateMarch 26, 2019
DeveloperSquare Enix Co. LTD
PublisherSquare Enix
final fantasy 7 best switch rpgs

Final Fantasy VII, Image Source: Square Enix Co. LTD

The question for the ages: is it Aerith, or Aeris? I don’t know; I’ll let the philosophers ponder that while I’m stacking up cash at the Golden Saucer.

Final Fantasy VII had an absolutely insane marketing budget with one of the best video game TV commercials ever, and it made the original Sony Playstation a must-have console for the RPG connoisseur.

The graphics may feel dated to some, but the chunky, blocky style remains iconic. With no Final Fantasy VII remake in sight for the Switch, fans will have to make do with the original release. 

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8 Fire Emblem Warriors

Initial Release DateOctober 19, 2017
DeveloperKOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD
PublisherNintendo
fire emblem warriors best switch rpgs

Fire Emblem Warriors, Image Source: KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD

If you need a break from some of the heavier titles on this list, try out Fire Emblem Warriors. It’s a fun, fast-paced beat-em-up action RPG that mashes up the Fire Emblem world with the Dynasty Warriors format.

We also included Fire Emblem: Three Houses on the list, because the two games are very different in terms of game-play. While Warriors is a hack-and-slash, Three Houses offers a more tactical experience. 

There’s a lot of DLC, good variety in stages, and trying different combinations of heroes keeps things fresh.

If you’re tired of managing crops and keeping up good relations with the neighbors, nobody does mindless slaughter like KOEI TECMO. 

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7 Collection of Mana

Initial Release DateJune 11, 2019
DeveloperMultiple
PublisherSquare Enix
collection of mana best switch rpgs

Collection of Mana, Image Source: Square Enix Co. LTD

Next up on our list of best switch RPGs is Collection of Mana. Take your Switch on a trip down memory lane with this nostalgia-tastic collection of three old-school 16 Bit RPGs.

I played Secret of Mana on the Super Nintendo when it first released, and when we got a multi-tap to allow for three controllers it was an amazing couch co-op experience.

I would buy this collection just for SOM, but the fact that it includes the never-before-released-in-English sequel makes this a must-own for any fan of the classic era of console RPGs.

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6 Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Initial Release DateJuly 26, 2019
DeveloperIntelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo
PublisherNintendo

 Fire Emblem Three Houses, Source: Xtrafondos

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best Switch RPGs. The console and the game are a match made in heaven. This tactial role-playing-game allows players to take on the role of a teacher who must lead one of the three classes. Every class has a slightly different storyline and unique feel, which adds replayability value of the game.

Furthermore, the game looks absolutely fantastic for a Switch setup. Every battlefield results in satisfying encounters, thanks to the grid-based system and unique character and landscape designs. While it may take some time investement to fully experience this game (around 40 hours), we believe that Fire Emblem is well worth that time.

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5 South Park The Stick of Truth

Initial Release DateSeptember 2018
DeveloperObsidian Entertainment
PublisherUbisoft
south park the stick of truth best switch rpgs

South Park: The Stick of Truth, Image Source: Obsidian Entertainment

Wow. If you think the Nintendo Switch is a console for children, you’ve obviously never played South Park: The Stick of Truth.

This tactical, turn-based RPG (and its equally fun sequel South Park: The Fractured But Whole) based on the long-running smash hit show could have just been a cash-grab from its devoted fans, but it’s so much more.

Even if you’ve never watched the show, The Stick of Truth is worth picking up-it’s just that fun. I’ve never played a game that heaps more abuse at the main character (and the player), and I loved every minute of it.

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4 Dragon Quest Builders

Initial Release Date February 9, 2018
Developer Square Enix Business Division 5
PublisherSquare Enix
dragon quest builders best switch rpgs

Dragon Quest Builders, Image Source: Square Enix

If you’re a fan of all of those Minecraft mods that add more story and RPG elements to the base game, Dragon Quest builders is for you. It combines one of the best-loved RPG properties with the most popular crafting game of all time, and amazingly it ends up doing justice to both.

The crafting/building mechanics are impressively deep, the end-of-stage boss fights are awesome, and the dialogue is hilarious. It’s one of my favorite Switch RPGs, and I’ve been playing through the main quest again to ease the pain of having to wait a few more weeks for Dragon Quest Builders 2 to come out.

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3 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Initial Release Date February 9, 2018
Developer Square Enix Business Division 5
PublisherSquare Enix
zelda breath of the wild best switch rpgs

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Image Source: Nintendo

It’s massive. The graphics are amazing, especially considering how relatively underpowered the Switch is compared to other consoles. While The Legend of Zelda games have always been open world RPGs, Breath of the Wild differs in that the whole map is open to you right from the start.

After completing the tutorial area, you can head anywhere you want without the artificial gatekeeping (finding hammers, bracelets, etc.) of previous entries in the series.

If you haven’t played since release, there’s an absolutely massive amount of DLC to tackle. In fact, the dev team planned so much DLC that they’ve withheld most of it to form the basis of the newly announced sequel.

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2 Stardew Valley

Initial Release Date October 5, 2017
Developer ConcernedApe
PublisherChucklefish
stardew valley best switch rpgs

Stardew Valley, Image Source: Concerned Ape

A beautiful love letter to the Harvest Moon series, Stardew Valley is so polished and refined that it’s hard to believe it was originally created by just one guy. It has easily earned its place as one of the best RPGs on the Switch.

Each day is a constant race against the clock as you balance farm maintenance, relationship development, quest completion, and of course, fishing. It’s super addictive, and every time I play I find myself at 3am saying “just one more day.”

Definitely one of the best Switch RPGs that will keep you up way past your bedtime. 

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1 The Witcher 3

Initial Release Date October 5, 2017
Developer ConcernedApe
PublisherChucklefish
the witcher 3 best switch rpgs

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, Image Source: CD Projekt Red

A lot of ink has been spilled on The Witcher 3 and its merits – it’s considered one of the best RPGs (nay, games) of all time. That a game which required a high-performance rig at released can now be played on a handheld console, during your commute, is mind-boggling to me, but here we are. It has some performance issues, but that’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to slay leshens while the inspector is checking your train tickets.

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Editor’s Pick Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Initial Release Date March 20, 2020
DeveloperNintendo EPD
PublisherNintendo
animal crossing new horizons best switch rpgs

Animal Crossing New Horizons, Source: Amazon

Animal Crossing: New Horizons took social media by storm when it released, mostly due to the fact that it arrived at pretty much the perfect time: when all of us are spending copious amounts of time at house. For a fee, you can set-up your own little island and do pretty much anything you want in this adorable, gently paced RPG.
Initially, the island is nothing more than a collection of tents, but the more you play the easier it gets to get things going. There are also many island inhabitants, each with his/her own personality quirks, and managing your relationship with them is vital to the development of the island.
There is nothing quite like Animal Crossing, and New Horizons manages to perfect a gameplay loop that the series is notorious for. Undoubtebly one of the best RPGs on the Nintendo Switch.

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Matt Dixon

Matt Dixon

Contributor

He prefers to play RPGs, but also enjoys strategy games and the latest AAA titles. When he’s not glued to a screen, he can usually be found painting Warhammer 40K models or trying out the latest board game. Occasionally, Matt’s wife makes him leave the house to travel the world.

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