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 eight of the best Nintendo Switch RPGs you can buy right now. Now, 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 to the point that 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 qualify and 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, meaning games that launched on other consoles years ago that got repackaged for the Switch.
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. 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. Although the game obviously has a lot to do with golf, 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.
2. 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!
3. 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 their town getting engulfed by a strange white mist, causing 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!
4. 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.
5. Pokémon Sword and Shield
Although there was a ton of hype for Pokémon Sword and Shield when they were announced, gamers ultimately felt they didn’t live up to previous Pokémon games. It wasn’t that they were bad, but they just weren’t great. However, when you view them less as standard Pokémon titles and more as an RPG with Pokémon involved, you might come away with a different perspective.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are the first games in the long-running franchise that allow you to explore a large, open-world area with free camera movement. In other words, this game feels like one of the largest in the series, even if the list of available Pokémon is less refined and missing a lot of the big players.
The point is that Pokémon Sword and Shield are worth a look, whether you’re a big fan or just looking for a good Nintendo Switch RPG to try out. As long as you aren’t a Pokédex purist, you’ll have a great time.
6. South Park: The Fractured But Whole
If someone told us in 2010 that two of the best RPGs of the upcoming decade would be centered in the South Park universe, we probably would have laughed them out of the room. Yet, here we are putting a game called South Park: The Fractured But Whole on our list of the best Nintendo Switch RPG titles available.
South Park: TFBW takes place the day after the previous game in the series, The Stick of Truth. As with that game, you control New Kid as he role-plays his way across South Park with the usual cast of characters you know and love. Since the game was created in the same 2.5D layout as the show itself, you genuinely feel as if you’re “playing” an episode of South Park.
Both The Fractured But Whole and The Stick of Truth are available on the Switch, but this one has more fart jokes and is therefore superior. They are both worth getting, though!
7. Trials Of Mana
In 2019, a day old-school gamers had been waiting for decades on finally came: Nintendo released an English port of Seiken Densetsu 3, the sequel to the Super Nintendo classic Secret of Mana. The original game launched in Japan in 1995 but never saw an English launch, forcing fans outside Japan to play hacked-together versions. Finally, though, an official port called Trials of Mana launched on the Nintendo Switch in the Collection of Mana compilation.
Then, Nintendo and Square Enix went one step further and announced that there would be a full-on remake of Trials of Mana, with 3D graphics, an orchestral soundtrack, and modernized controls. That game is finally here and boy is it a wonder to behold.
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.
8. 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 getting a port to the Switch in May 2020). 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!