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The best RPGs for the Nintendo Switch (April 2022)
In some ways, the Nintendo Switch is the perfect console for role-playing games. If you’re in the middle of an intense boss battle and need to get on the subway, you can just grab your Switch and head out! You can’t do that with any other home console. But what are the best Nintendo Switch RPG titles to play?
Below, we’ve compiled 10 of the best Nintendo Switch RPGs you can buy right now. However, before you start perusing through the list, you’ll need to keep some things in mind. The term “role-playing game” has become pretty watered-down over the decades. At this point, your definition of an RPG might be wildly different from someone else’s. For example, is The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild an RPG? Most would say no, but some would disagree. What about Diablo 3 or even Animal Crossing: New Horizons? There are RPG elements in both, but it would be hard to classify them as “pure” RPGs.
With all that in mind, we tried to make the list of the best Nintendo Switch RPG titles below stick to games that the majority of gamers would agree fit the RPG definition. There might be some games on here that you don’t think should qualify. There might be some other games we left off that you think should be on the list. We also tried to avoid filling the list with ported titles — games that launched on other consoles years ago and got repackaged for the Switch. There are some here, but we kept it limited.
In general, if you are hunting for a Switch game with the feel of an RPG, this list should give you what you need.
Still don’t own a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite? Click here to grab one today. Otherwise, continue on to find out the best Nintendo Switch RPG titles on the console!
Best Nintendo Switch RPG titles:
Editor’s note: This list of the best Nintendo Switch RPG titles will be updated regularly as new games launch.
1. Bravely Default II
The original Bravely Default was a surprise hit on the Nintendo 3DS. It took the core sensibilities of the JRPG format (turn-based combat, open-world exploration, multi-layered character development, etc.) and threw in a few unique elements, such as the job system and, obviously, the Brave/Default combat strategies.
As one would expect, Bravely Default II keeps most of those elements while expanding on them slightly. The result is a game that feels very close to the original but still fresh.
Unfortunately, Square Enix also took away some elements that people greatly enjoyed, such as the auto-battle function. Overall, though, Bravely Default II is one of the best Nintendo Switch RPGs available. It’s also only playable on the Switch, so don’t bother trying to find it for other systems.
One final note: the Bravely Default series is a lot like Final Fantasy in that each new entry has nothing to do with the previous. So you don’t need to play Bravely Default or any of the other entries to enjoy this one!
2. Collection of Mana
OK, it’s kind of cheating to include Collection of Mana on this list. But come on: it’s three classic titles in one collection! Not to mention one of those titles is Trials of Mana, a legendary game previously unreleased in the West.
If you aren’t familiar with the Mana franchise, this collection features its first three main titles. That’s Final Fantasy Adventure (originally for the Nintendo Game Boy), Secret of Mana (released worldwide on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System), and Trials of Mana (for the SNES but only in Japan). All three are appearing on the Switch for the first time in this collection.
The three games are pillars of the RPG world and have all been remade and re-released numerous times. With this collection, though, Nintendo took great care to present them as close to their original formats as possible. Also, keep in mind that a lot of Mana games break from the norm of RPGs and have multiplayer support. As such, you can play Secret of Mana and Trials of Mana with up to two other people.
3. Golf Story
If you head into playing Golf Story because you’re hoping for some realistic golf gaming with lifelike graphics and physics, you are going to be incredibly disappointed. Obviously, the game has a lot to do with golf. Overall, though, it plays more like a Super Nintendo-era SquareSoft title than a PGA Tour game. Regardless, it’s a truly wonderful Nintendo Switch RPG!
In Golf Story, you are an ex-golfer who fell in love with the game through his father. For reasons we won’t go into, you haven’t played golf in 20 years but are working hard to rekindle your interest in the sport. With that basic premise as the launching pad, you embark on a fun and sometimes hilarious journey.
The turn-based combat elements of “traditional” RPGs are upended in Golf Story by making them golf swings and other golf-related movements. You likely have never played anything quite like Golf Story, but RPG fans will love it.
4. The Longest Five Minutes
Imagine for a second that you are the lead protagonist of a classic RPG game. In the middle of the biggest boss battle of your life, you get hurt and then have amnesia, causing you to forget everything about your past adventures and what you’re even doing there in the first place. That’s the basic premise of The Longest Five Minutes, which is easily one of the best Nintendo Switch RPGs you can play today.
In the game, you attempt to regain your memories of fighting the various minions of the all-powerful Demon King. The trick is that you are remembering this while you are in the big boss battle, so the lives of your teammates depend on you remembering and remembering fast!
The Longest Five Minutes is definitely worth a look, especially if you are into the old-school days of RPGs!
5. Lost Sphear
The best — and worst — thing you can say about the JRPG Lost Sphear is that it is too much like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. Obviously, those games are two of the greatest video games of all time by pretty much any metric, so being compared to them is a positive. However, Lost Sphear might venture a bit too far into homage for its own good. All in all, though, it’s a stellar Nintendo Switch RPG that’s worth checking out.
Lost Sphear centers on the main protagonist named Kanata. One day, Kanata and his friends witness a strange white mist engulfing their town. It causes everything they know to vanish. Kanata eventually learns he has the ability to restore his town and others like it through the power of memories. Kanata and his friends then set off on an adventure to rid the world of the strange mist — and find out what’s causing it.
Magic, monsters, Active Time Battle combat, and an epic soundtrack make Lost Sphear probably the purest RPG on this list. Don’t miss it!
6. Octopath Traveler
No matter how you feel about Octopath Traveler, it would be hard to deny the absolute gorgeousness of the game. The graphics and design are at once simple and yet mesmerizing, giving it a unique feel that no other game has yet matched.
Since Octopath Traveler is one of the best-selling games for the console, it’s easy to see why it’s on this list of the best Nintendo Switch RPG titles. If for some reason you don’t already know about it, it’s a fantasy game where you control eight different characters, each with their own skills, personality, and backstory. The stories don’t really cross over with one another, but you get to mix-and-match the characters together for battles as you make your way across the world.
This one is truly a gem that you shouldn’t miss. Oh, and also the soundtrack is out of this world.
7. Paper Mario: The Origami King
Is there a Nintendo property more confusing than Paper Mario? On one hand, it’s delivered a few of the finest RPG games we’ve ever played (The Thousand-Year Door!) while simultaneously delivering some of the biggest head-scratchers of any platform (ugh, Sticker Star). Thankfully, Paper Mario: The Origami King fits in with the former category rather than the latter.
Sure, this game won’t be nearly as memorable or beloved as Thousand-Year Door. But it has everything it needs to cement itself as a solid entry in the franchise. What’s more, the game itself is a perfect “starter” game for people who might not have ever played an RPG before. It takes away a lot of the hardcore elements of a game like Shin Megami Tensei V and makes everything fun and simple.
That all being said, the game isn’t dumbed-down: there are lots of great twists and turns with the narrative, the writing is top-notch (and hilarious), and the math-metal hard rock soundtrack is truly raucous (if a bit iconoclastic).
The bottom line is that The Origami King is a great Paper Mario title and a great Nintendo Switch RPG. Don’t miss it!
8. Shin Megami Tensei V
At this point, what hardcore RPG fan doesn’t know and love the Megami Tensei franchise? Shin Megami Tensei V is the latest in the series and might be the best. Positioned as a mixture of SMT III and SMT IV, it takes all of what made those games great but polishes up their weak spots.
The Shin Megami Tensei games are notorious for being dense and difficult. Thankfully, SMT V has a wide-ranging set of difficulty options which should allow newer players to jump in and still have a good time. The newly designed map is also a treat and the world seems bigger and better than ever before.
No matter how you slice it, though, this game is for die-hard RPG fans. If you’ve never played an RPG before, we recommend starting with something a bit lighter, such as Paper Mario: The Origami King or Lost Sphear. If you’re a vet, though, you’ll love sinking your teeth into this one.
9. Trials Of Mana
Earlier on this list, we told you about Collection of Mana and how it’s definitely a Nintendo Switch RPG title you should get. Within that collection is the original SNES title Trials of Mana, which is making its global debut 25 years after its original Japan release.
Nintendo decided that tossing the long-awaited game onto the collection just wasn’t enough, so it took things one step further and created a modern remake of Trials of Mana on its own. If you watch the trailer above, you’ll quickly see that Nintendo spared no expense here and made something truly wonderful and beautiful.
Not only does this Trials of Mana remake have enhanced graphics and gameplay, but it has a full orchestral soundtrack which brings some of the most beloved video game music ever roaring to life.
If you are a fan of Trials of Mana or even just Secret of Mana, you will absolutely adore what Square Enix has done with this remake. It keeps true to the game’s roots while updating things just enough to make it feel fresh. And, if you’ve never played a game in the Mana series before, this is now a perfect (and more modern) way to get into it. It is, simply put, one of the best Nintendo Switch RPGs you can get.
10. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
The original Xenoblade Chronicles landed on the Nintendo Wii in 2010 as a Japan-exclusive. It eventually made it to other areas of the world and became a surprise hit (and is now available on the Switch in a definitive edition). In its original incarnation, it was a role-playing game with action-adventure elements and proved popular with the RPG crowd. For the Wii U, however, the follow-up title Xenoblade Chronicles X abandoned many of the story elements and made it more of an open-world game, with minimal plot and an emphasis on exploration.
With Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the developers got back to the gameplay and story elements of the original Wii title, and we are thankful for that. We can safely count it as one of the best Nintendo Switch RPG titles available, and it’s only possible to play it on the Switch!
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is an absolutely massive game (seriously, you will put hours and hours into it). Still, once you finish up with the main game there is an expansion called Torna — The Golden Country that adds even more hours. If you like to really immerse yourself in RPGs, this is the one you’re looking for.
That’s it for our list of the best Nintendo Switch RPG titles. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can see the future updates we make to this list!