Best Nintendo Switch RPGs To Play In 2022
The best Switch games for min-maxing, loot-lusting, and side-questing adventurers.
The Nintendo Switch has an amazing library, but the hybrid console’s massive catalog of RPGs is truly staggering. There are loot-packed dungeon crawlers, JRPGs with turn-based battles and epic stories, expansive open-world games where you can create your own unique character, and everything in between. So, to help you find your next RPG, we put together this list of the 40 best Switch RPGs (in alphabetical order).
There are so many excellent RPGs on Switch already that even our whopping list of 40 games can’t encapsulate the genre’s towering presence on the system, so it's likely we missed at least a few gems here. But there's no doubt that the genre is well-represented on Nintendo Switch. From console exclusives such as Shin Megami Tensei V and Fire Emblem: Three Houses to brilliant third-party games such as Dragon Quest 11 and Trails of Cold Steel, RPG fans have a ridiculous treasure trove to uncover on Switch. It's not just big AAA games either; the Switch is home to some stellar indie RPGs such as Golf Story, Eastward, Super Daryl Deluxe, and plenty more.
Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling
Bug Fables features a striking art style and varied battle system inspired by Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. You control a party of three insectoid adventurers, exploring a 2.5D world filled with other buggy buddies. The engaging turn-based battles feature precise button timing that boosts your attacks and defense, and exploiting your enemies’ weaknesses grants you advantages in combat. Battle isn’t everything, however. There’s also a cooking minigame, tons of side quests, and a lovely story carried by the main trio’s witty banter.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition is an HD remaster of the cult-classic PlayStation RPG and follow-up to the beloved Chrono Trigger. While Chrono Cross does continue some plot threads from Chrono Trigger, it’s a very different game with a unique storyline, an all-new battle system, and 45 playable characters to find and recruit. The Radical Dreamers Edition also includes an officially-localized version of Radical Dreamers: a Satellaview-exclusive visual novel that Chrono Cross is based on, and now playable in English for the first time.
Cosmic Star Heroine
Cosmic Star Heroine is a sci-fi RPG influenced by classic 16-bit JRPGs like Chrono Trigger and Phantasy Star 4. The plot follows Alyssa L’Salle, an agent of the Agency of Peace & Intelligence tracking down a deadly terrorist group. Players team up with 10 other unique characters, explore three planets, and even build their own home base. Despite its ambitious design, Cosmic Star Heroine only lasts about 15 hours, making it great for anyone that wants a short-and-sweet roleplaying excursion on Switch.
Read our Cosmic Star Heroine review.
CrossCode is an action RPG set in a fictional MMO called “Cross Worlds.” Players control Lea, a mute Cross Worlds player with a mysterious past. While CrossCode incorporates MMO elements like tons of side quests, expansive skill trees, and even other “players” running around the world, it plays more like classic SNES RPGs and adventure games like Secret of Mana, Ys, or The Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past.
Read our CrossCode review.
Dark Souls Remastered
There are several souls-like RPGs available on Nintendo Switch, but Dark Souls Remastered is (unsurprisingly) the best. As the Chosen Undead you’ll explore the ruined kingdom of Lordran, battle fearsome creatures and massive bosses, and collect souls used to upgrade your character and craft new equipment. You’ll also die. A lot. But don’t be discouraged; Dark Souls is challenging, but it’s also one of the most rewarding RPGs you can play in Switch.
Read our Dark Souls Remastered review.
Darkest Dungeon is a brutal dungeon crawler heavily inspired by Lovecraftian horror. Like other dungeon RPGs, you control a party of adventurers exploring dangerous crypts and ruins in search of riches to use on upgrading your home village. However, Darkest Dungeon adds an interesting gameplay wrinkle where you must maintain your party’s physical and mental well-being against the grotesque monsters, vicious traps, and otherworldly dangers they encounter along the way.
Read our Darkest Dungeon review.
Dragon Quest 11 S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
Dragon Quest 11 S Definitive Edition is the best version of one of the best traditional JRPGs ever made. This version has a superior soundtrack, bonus story content, and helpful settings like adjustable battle speeds that make the already well-paced JRPG even more player-friendly. Fans of classic JRPGs really have no excuse to skip this one; it’s a true modern classic.
Read our Dragon Quest 11 S review.
Diablo 2 Resurrected & Diablo 3: Eternal Collection
If you’re in the mood for loot-driven romps through the depths of Hell, then you’re in luck: two of the best action RPGs of all time--Diablo 2 Resurrected and Diablo 3: Eternal Collection--are available on Switch. Both games play excellently on controller and are especially great portable hack-and-slash adventures. There are also online multiplayer modes, loads of difficulty options to try, randomized dungeons to conquer, and endless piles of awesome gear to collect.
Disco Elysium - The Final Cut
Disco Elysium is one of those rare roleplaying video games that nails the sense of player agency normally only possible in tabletop RPGs thanks to its expansive dialogue and character customization systems. You control an amnesiac detective investigating a strange murder that slowly unravels into a surrealist adventure. While there is no combat in Disco Elysium, per se, your choices in the world are reflected in the character’s personality, and affect the dialogue options available to the player, the skills they can use to navigate the world, and even the main character’s inner monologue narrations.
Read our Disco Elysium review.
Disgaea 5 Complete
The fifth game in Nippon Ichi Software’s demon-themed strategy RPG series is perfect for tactics enthusiasts that want to sink dozens--even hundreds--of hours into a game. You don’t have to spend that much time, of course, but it’s easy to lose yourself in Disgaea 5’s charming characters, deep tactical combat, and troves of optional content. And if you need more Disgaea, Disgaea 1, 4, and 6 are also on Switch.
Read our Disgaea 5 review.
Divinity Original Sin 2
Many modern RPGs try to emulate older games in the genre, but Divinity Original Sin 2 takes inspiration from a style of RPG we rarely see on Nintendo Switch: old-school CRPGs. Divinity Original Sin 2’s deep character creation, tactical combat system, and expansive dialogue options make it an excellent choice for role-playing fans of all stripes. There’s even a co-op mode available for players that want to explore this rich world with a friend.
Read our Divinity Original Sin 2 review.
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
Capcom’s open-world high fantasy action RPG is the perfect game for those who like mechanically-rich RPGs. The game combines the challenge and freedom of old-school PC RPGs with the rich world building of more modern console RPGs and deep real-time combat that only action game masters like Capcom could achieve. It’s also a great game to soothe the post-Elden Ring funk.
Read our Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen review.
Don’t be fooled by Dungeon Encounters’ minimalist presentation; this game is brimming with mechanical depth. Helmed by veteran Final Fantasy developer Hiroyuki Ito with music arranged by Nobuo Uematsu, Dungeon Encounters is a hardcore dungeon crawler that rewards thorough exploration, and iterates on Ito’s classic ATB combat system with new ideas that make battles more like puzzles that keep you on your toes, rather than just fodder for the grind.
Post-apocalyptic settings are rarely as bright and welcoming as Eastward’s. This game features two playable characters, John and Sam, who join up in a quest to escape the underground settlement they live in and experience the world above. While Eastward’s core gameplay is closer to The Legend of Zelda, JRPG fans will appreciate the quirky characters and surprisingly poignant moments in Eastward’s story. Oh, and there’s even a complete turn-based RPG side game hidden within Eastward that evokes classic titles like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Like all Fire Emblem games, Fire Emblem: Three Houses pits you as the commander of a medieval army. You control knights, mages, and other fantasy combatants in large-scale tactical warfare--but in Three Houses, your soldiers are also students. Between battles, you’ll spend time exploring the Officer’s Academy and chatting with your students and other characters. Not only are these story segments well-written, strengthening your bonds with characters also improves their skills, but there are important choices that will change the storyline in important ways.
Read our Fire Emblem: Three Houses review.
Final Fantasy (series)
It’s hard to pick a favorite Final Fantasy, so we’re just going to tell you to play all of the Final Fantasy games on Switch. A large chunk of the mainline games are available on Nintendo’s hybrid console, including HD remasters of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, and XII. There’s also a high-res port of Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition for Switch that’s sufficient if it’s the only way you have to play the game. Several Final Fantasy spin-off games are also available on Switch, but the mainline series is the best place to start for newcomers. Check our list for the best Final Fantasy games if you need specific recommendations.
As its title implies, Golf Story is a golf-based RPG. As you work your way through the game’s multiple courses, you increase your golfer’s stats, much like in the Game Boy Mario Golf titles. But there’s more at stake here than just getting better at putts and drives. Like any good RPG, Golf Story has a moving story to tell, filled with relatable characters seeking validation and redemption by learning the game and winning tournaments.
Read our Golf Story review.
Monster Hunter Rise
The Monster Hunter series has a simple premise: you battle giant monsters, turn their body parts into new weapons and armor, then use your new equipment to fight even harder monsters that you turn into even better gear. Rise expands the series’ core gameplay with new mobility options and combat mechanics, and streamlines some gameplay elements that make the hunt pacing much quicker and better-suited for handheld play. There’s also a massive expansion, Monster Hunter Sunbreak (June 30).
If you need more Monster Hunter in your life, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is also available on Switch. It’s an older title and features some quirks that Rise irons out, but the compelling loop is still there.
Read our Monster Hunter Rise review.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
If the action-focused wyvern slaying of the main Monster Hunter games isn’t your thing, or you want a story-focused experience in the Monster Hunter setting, then Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin might fit the bill. This turn-based RPG is about monster raising rather than hunting -- though the series’ staple armor and weapon crafting are still here, and add a fun layer of character building.
Read our Monster Hunter Stories 2 review.
NEO: The World Ends With You
NEO: The World Ends With You is a hyper-stylized action RPG set in an alternate reality version of Tokyo, Japan’s Shibuya district. long-awaited sequel to the cult-hit The World Ends With You (which is also available on the eShop). You play as Rindo, a young boy unwittingly caught-up in an ominous “competition” called the Reaper’s Game. Like the original game, NEO: TWEWY leans into the Shibuya street fashion culture, outfitting Rindo and his friends with unique pins and other fashionable items that enhance their combat prowess and psychic abilities.
Read our NEO: The World Ends With You review.
Octopath Traveler follows eight unique protagonists that eventually join up to aid in each other’s quests... Eventually, at least. The overarching connections aren’t established until the game’s final act, but the individual stories are good enough to carry the experience along the way--as are the excellent turn-based battles and customizable job system. Octopath Traveler was also the first game to feature the stunning “HD-2D” art style that other Square Enix games now use.
See our Octopath Traveler review.
Planescape: Torment & Icewind Dale Enhanced Editions
Planescape: Torment was considered one of the best video game stories ever written back when it was released on PC in 1999, and that reputation still stands today in 2022. Set in D&D’s strange Planescape realm, players control the mysterious Nameless One and encounter one of the most unique and memorable casts in RPG history. Icewind Dale, on the other hand, is a more combat-heavy game perfect for those that love tactical RPG scuffles.
Oh, and if you want even more classic CPRG excellence on Switch, also consider Baldur’s Gate I & II: Enhanced Edition, which feature similar gameplay and design.
Pokemon is another RPG series with a massive presence on Switch, and each game available provides a slightly different take on the franchise’s iconic monster catching formula.
At the time of writing, Sword and Shield represent the latest evolution of the “traditional” Pokemon gameplay, while the more-recent Legends: Arceus takes the series in a radically new direction with open-world environments, real-time Pokemon catching, and a revised battle system.
Then there’s Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: faithful remakes of the DS-era Pokemon games Diamond and Pearl (for better and worse). Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are also remakes, this time of Pokemon Yellow from the Game Boy Color, but with new catching mechanics that takes cues from Pokemon Go on smartphones. And this doesn't even cover the numerous Pokemon spinoffs available on the Switch, such as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX.
While there’s a lot of Pokemon to choose from on the Switch, the nice thing is (most) of the Pokemon you catch in these games can be transferred between version, and some will even be able to join your team in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet later in 2022.
Shin Megami Tensei V
Demons have turned Tokyo into an apocalyptic wasteland, and you’re the only person who can stop them and save what’s left of humanity. You’re not alone, however: You can recruit demons to your party, level them up, and fuse them into more powerful beings. Optimizing your demonic allies is key to overcoming the challenging battles in Shin Megami Tensei V.
If you’ve already played Shin Megami Tensei V and need a new demon-slaying fix, an HD remaster of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne is also on Switch.
Read our Shin Megami Tensei V review.
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate (or just Shiren 5 for short) is arguably the best mystery dungeon-style RPG on Switch. While the main gauntlet of randomized dungeons isn’t quite as brutal as other roguelikes, plan to die a lot in Shiren 5. Thankfully, the game’s numerous endearing NPCs, lush pixel art graphics, and whimsical music will keep you motivated to complete each quest. There's also plenty of optional side-content that’s sure to challenge veteran dungeon delvers.
The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim
Say what you will about Skyrim’s ubiquitous presence over the past 11 years, but there’s a reason people are still playing the fifth Elder Scrolls game. This sprawling, open-ended RPG lets you realize your high-fantasy dreams: Slay dragons, consort with vampires, discover ancient ruins, start your own nordic farmstead--the possibilities are endless. In fact, Skyrim uses a unique system that generates new quests on-the-fly so you’ll never run out of things to do.
Read our Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Switch review.
Super Daryl Deluxe
Super Daryl Deluxe is an absurdist side-scrolling RPG-metroidvania hybrid about everyone’s worst nightmare: high school. You play as Daryl, a new student at Water Falls High who just wants to make new friends. Unfortunately, the school is also filled with strange scientific anomalies, portals to ancient dungeons, and all manner of beastly creatures. You’ll explore the multi-dimensional campus, make new friends, and investigate the mysterious disappearances of the school’s students and faculty.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
Tales of Vesperia is the 10th game in the cult-classic RPG Tales series, and while it features many gameplay elements iconic to the series, the story is standalone and you can jump in without playing the other games. The game originally launched on Xbox 360, but the definitive edition available on Nintendo Switch features upscaled HD graphics, new story content, and re-recorded English and Japanese voice tracks.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (pronounced “sharp F-E”) is a cross-over between two of the biggest JRPG series: Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem. The gameplay is mostly based on Shin Megami Tensei, featuring dungeon exploration, turn-based battles, and a modern-day setting. Players control a large cast of characters that transform into super-powered alter egos known as “Mirages” based on popular Fire Emblem characters. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is an enhanced port of the Wii U version of the game (read our review here) with new story content, new party members, and new music.
Trails of Cold Steel series
Trails of Cold Steel has everything you’d want from a modern JRPG: deep turn-based combat, a gripping storyline, and giant mechs. If you’re a fan of JRPGs but haven’t checked out Trails of Cold Steel, you’re missing out. Trails of Cold Steel III and IV are available on the North American eShop now. The first two games were ported to Switch as well, but only in Asia (at least for now). However, the first game in the sequel series, Trails into Reverie, is planned for worldwide release in 2023.
Trials of Mana
Trials of Mana is the 3D remake of the previously Super Famicom-exclusive, Seiken Densetsu 3. Players select three of the six playable characters at the start of the game, so every playthrough is unique. While faithful to the Super Famicom original, the Trials of Mana remake has a revamped combat system, bigger locations to explore, all new graphics and voice acting, and an enhanced soundtrack. Of course, the 16-bit version is also available with an official english translation for the first time in Collection of Mana on Nintendo Switch if you want to try the original.
Read our Trials of Mana review.
The team behind Octopath Traveler followed up their old-school JRPG revival with Triangle Strategy, an epic tactics RPG that fans of Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics will love. Triangle Strategy takes place in the war-torn land of Norzelia, and players control Serenoa Wolffort and his band of companions working to establish peace among the various factions. In addition to tactical battles, players must also engage in diplomacy at crucial moments throughout the story that will affect the tale’s final outcome, and can even change which characters are aligned with you.
Read our Triangle Strategy review.
Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi
Wizardry-like DRPGs are a niche within a niche--difficult first-person dungeon crawlers where every dungeon floor is a maze teeming with difficult monsters to battle, riddles to solve, and traps to avoid. Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi remains true to that formula, but its sci-fi-horror themes and unique exploration mechanics set it apart from the ranks of its high-fantasy peers. There are also tons of quality-of-life features that make it more approachable for new players curious to try out this challenging--but rewarding--style of role-playing games.
Undertale is one of the games where the less you know about it, the better your experience will be. But if you somehow haven’t played it (and haven’t been spoiled yet) here’s the basic premise: You play as a young human child who falls into the Underground--the realm of monsters. From there you’ll meet many strange characters that we think should be experienced first-hand. This game was made by a single developer, Toby Fox, and it oozes passion, heart, and creativity. Sure, it wears its inspirations openly, but there really is no other game like it.
Read our Undertale review.
Valkyria Chronicles 4
This SRPG takes pulls from real events from World War I and II and blends them with a fantasy anime aesthetic. That may sound jarring, but the result is a compelling game with unique tactical battles and a surprising storyline that balances humor and over-the-top- characters with a sincere examination of the realities of war. While this is the fourth game in the storied Valkyria Chronicles tactical RPG series, the games features a different cast fighting through many of the same events as the first game. Veterans will catch the overlaps and references to previous games, but Valkyria Chronciles 4's story is approachable for newcomers.
Read our Valkyria Chronicles 4 review.
Voice of Cards
Acclaimed game director Yoko Taro (Nier, Drakengard) is known for designing idiosyncratic RPGs that both refine and undermine common genre tropes, and Voice of Cards is no different. While technically two games, Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars and Voice of Cards: The Forsaken Maiden, both utilize a card-game-like design. The card game presentation applies to everything: combat, dialogue, and even general exploration involve drawing, flipping, and playing cards. Both games play similarly, but the stories are standalone and can be experienced in any order.
West of Loathing
RPGs traditionally feature fantasy and sci-fi settings, but the best part of the genre is they can take place in any setting--even a wild-west world with stick figures like West of Loathing. This game lampoons RPG and spaghetti westerns, but there’s a surprising depth to the game’s combat, large explorable world, and open-ended character progression that lets you choose how to handle the wacky (and dangerous) situations you’ll stumble into throughout the Kingdom of Loathing’s wild west.
Read our West of Loathing review.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition
The Witcher 3 is one of the most critically acclaimed RPGs of all time, featuring a large open world to explore, deep character customization RPG fans love, and high-caliber writing. Even the most menial side quests feature gripping dialogue and surprising twists that other games would reserve for the main campaign. But what’s most surprising is how CD Projekt Red and Saber Interactive managed to cram The Witcher 3’s massive open world onto the Nintendo Switch. Sure, the resolution took a hit to make it fit (especially in handheld mode), but the content remains unscathed.
Read our Witcher 3 Nintendo Switch review.
Xenoblade Chronicles series
Above all else, Xenoblade Chronicles games are about scale--everything from the landscapes you explore, to the themes of the epic storylines are huge. Even many of the monsters you battle are towering behemoths. It’s impressive that Monolith Soft crafted such large, intricate, eye-catching games on the comparatively “underpowered” Switch hardware.
The Switch is home to Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive edition, which is an upgraded version of the original Wii game, as well as Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and its standalone DLC Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country. While you could play these games out of order, the upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles 3 ties to both games and their DLC, so it’s probably worthwhile to play both before you try 3. The only Xenoblade Chronicles game missing is the Wii U-exclusive Xenoblade Chronicles X, but X is entirely unrelated in story and setting to the rest of the series. It’s still a good game, but you’re not missing out on important lore if you can’t play it. Still, we hope X makes the jump to Switch someday.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA
The eighth Ys game sees series protagonist Adol Christin shipwrecked on a mysterious island teeming with strange beasts and even stranger ruins. Adol teams up with other survivors from the shipwreck to create their own settlement where they can rest between their expeditions into the island’s wilderness in search of other survivors. As you explore the island, battling enemies in satisfying action combat, collecting spoils and completing quests for your companions, your village will slowly expand, unlocking new abilities and new quest lines to tackle.
While we think Ys VIII is one of the best games in the series, and the best Ys game on Switch, there are other Ys titles available like Ys IX: Monstum Nox and Ys Origin that are worth playing to experience more of the series.
Read our Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA review.
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