Nintendo Switch has amassed a huge number of quality titles across almost every category since launching back in 2017, and the RPG genre is certainly no exception. Below you'll find our picks for the Switch's essential role-playing games, in no particular order. This selection of the best Nintendo Switch RPGs will evolve over time as Switch's library expands even further.
But where's Witcher 3? Where's Dragon's Dogma? Where's Game X, Game Y, and Game Z? Well, given Switch's ample library, we feel that spreading out the genres a little gives games across the spectrum more room to breathe. Therefore, this collection steps away from the 'action' prefixed branch of RPGs, instead embracing a more traditional role-playing flavour. Debates will forever rage over stratified categories, granular sub-genres, side-genres, -likes, -lites, -like-lites, etc, when it comes to RPGs, but that's all part of the fun, no? The titles below are a standout selection of games with more traditional RPG mechanics.
Prefer real-time combat? Check out our selection of the best action-RPGs on Switch. If you're a fan of strategy RPGs you'll want to peruse our picks of the best strategy games on Switch. And if you're looking for more info, be sure to dive into our reviews via the appropriately titled 'Our Review' button for detailed breakdowns on each and every game below.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to enjoy some sweeping epics — the best RPGs on Nintendo Switch...
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a massive, sprawling RPG built by Monolith Soft, who helped Nintendo design the world of Breath of the Wild, so there's no doubting the pedigree. You'll explore a massive open world made up of Titans – enormous living creatures that house entire civilisations on their bodies. Along the way, you'll meet a wide variety of characters, solve a bunch of quests, and save the world. It's Monolith Soft doing what it does best, albeit without shaking off the occasional flaws of the series. This is another Xenoblade gem, though, and a must-have on Switch.
The huge stand-alone DLC, Torna: The Golden Country, is also well worth playing through. It serves as a prequel to the events of 2, so you can play it before or after.
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Undertale is a brilliant and smartly designed game that understands well what makes a good RPG work; so much so that it can upend expectations and deliver something that’s almost a satire of the genre. You fall into the underworld and explore a humour-tinged world full of fun things to do. You'll date a skeleton, dance with a robot, and cook delicious dishes with a woman who's part-fish. Or, you can do none of those things – Undertale delights in letting you decide what to do.
It manages to surprise you in so many unique ways, and even if it doesn’t look like much, Undertale has way more going for it under the surface. Excellently written characters, a genre-bending battle system and a solid soundtrack make this one an easy recommendation. Do yourself a favour and give this one a download.
Final Fantasy VII is the sort of game that speaks for itself, a touchstone of game design that played a large role in setting the standard of RPGs for years to come. It goes without saying that you should give Final Fantasy VII a shot if you consider yourself to be a fan of RPGs, as this is an experience unlike any other in many ways. With that being said, it’s also the sort of thing that has since been surpassed in almost every manner by games that took the concepts it introduced and expanded upon them in plenty of new and more interesting ways. Final Fantasy VII is a relic of its time, but that doesn’t mean it’s to be respected any less; if you can look past the obviously antiquated elements, this is a well-paced, engaging RPG that’s still fun to play today.
An indie adventure with a lush world, fun characters, and enjoyable battles, Earthlock brings the soul of PS1-era JRPGs to the Switch with excellent results. Inconsistent dialogue and notable load times are among its few missteps, but as a package, it captures the appeal of the epoch wonderfully. If you’re looking for a fresh-feeling JRPG that still calls back to the classics, this is a lovely choice.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a direct sequel to The Stick of Truth, and once again places you in the shoes of the New Kid. You'll fight alongside your favourite South Park characters in the superhero group Coon and Friends against the villainous Professor Chaos who is trying to eliminate them.
Don't be fooled by the cartoon visuals, as this is not one for the kids. The humour – while hilarious – is offensive and adult in nature. You'll create your own super hero, complete with costume, origin story, and superpowers as you explore South Park at night to save it from evil. While it’s no great leap from the mechanics of the first game, it still offers an ideal introduction for players looking to try out a turn-based RPG and would make a worthy addition to any genre fan's collection.
Child of Light is an absolutely gorgeous RPG developed in the same UbiArt Framework that gifted us Rayman Origins and Legends. You play as Aurora, who's on a quest to save her ill father and former kingdom. It also features co-op, with one player taking on the role of Igniculus, the shiny little ball of light.
The ‘light’ in the title sums things up nicely – you get game mechanics usually reserved for massive RPG epics in a concise package that’s as beautifully refreshing as when it was first released. It’s a shame to see framerate hitches – however occasional they may be – but they’re not enough to cast a shadow on this delightful adventure.
West of Loathing is not your average RPG; in fact we’d go so far as to say you’ve probably never played anything quite like it in your life. Its combat won’t blow you away but don’t be lulled into believing that’s what this game is about, as really the whole thing is an adventure in exploration and interaction with a bit of fighting sprinkled in. It can occasionally be a little bit difficult to decipher, but the satisfaction felt upon working out a problem totally makes up for it. The humour is as wonderfully dry as the desert you’re traversing and the writing is some of the best you can find on the Switch. Unless you’ve not got a humorous bone in your body, this is one RPG you can’t risk skipping.
During the sixty to seventy hours it takes to make your way through the main story and DLC on offer in Pillars Of Eternity (much more should you choose, quite rightly, to meander), you’ll meet a cast of unforgettable travelling companions, fight your way through labyrinthine dungeons, explore deserted Dwarven fortresses, become Lord of your very own stronghold and undertake quests as varied as they are beautifully-written and acted. Obsidian has created a heartfelt tribute to the classic 'Infinity Engine' RPGs of old; one that takes the best of those games, delicately updates them and – in the process – becomes something of a classic itself. For RPG fans, this is a must-buy.
Golf Story is a Switch exclusive RPG that borrows liberally from Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color. It's absolutely bonkers and you should be prepared to put your golf skills to use in a variety of contexts, including feeding hungry alligators and knocking things off high surfaces, plus winning the occasional round of pitch 'n' putt.
With a hilarious script and a wide variety of activities, it remains fresh throughout and will have you coming back for many hours in the Story mode alone; the multiplayer offers decent replayability, too. We would highly recommend Golf Story to anyone looking for something a little different. There’s a whole lot to love here, and if you’re a fan of RPGs or golf games, this is a must buy.
Final Fantasy has been an institution in the JRPG genre for decades now, and Final Fantasy IX acts as a good reminder of why. Memorable characters, a wacky (if somewhat meandering) story, deep character customisation, and plenty of incredible environments certainly help make a case for why Final Fantasy IX deserves a spot on your Switch’s SD card, even if some elements of this game’s design have aged like milk. If you’re a fan of RPGs and somehow haven’t played Final Fantasy IX yet, it’s certainly worth a download for the privilege of playing this classic on the go. On the other hand, if you’re just getting into RPGs, Final Fantasy IX may be a little too obtuse and archaic to recommend when compared to more modern releases. Whichever camp you may fall in, the bottom line is that, warts and all, Final Fantasy IX remains a great RPG to this day; you likely won’t regret picking this one up.
Despite a title that suggests it came out of a name generator, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a satisfying slice of JRPG with visuals inspired by the likes of World of Warcraft, Divinity: Original Sin, and classic Diablo adventures. It forges a confident, colourful character of its own from formulaic ingredients. The approachable comic style, plus a couple of neat mechanics that encourage experimentation, give it a freshness that belies the age-old systems at its core, and it doesn’t waste your time with filler. Ultimately, it’s the same old story – numbers go up! – but it’s shot through with an infectious exuberance and attention to detail that reinvigorates old tropes.
Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key ends Ryza's three-game run on a high note, serving up a heady mix of exploration, crafting, and combat that benefits greatly from a narrative arc that's had time to develop and grow. The new key mechanics add more depth to combat, synthesis, and exploration, the world is more seamless and diverse than ever before and the whole thing comes together to form a satisfying end for this hugely popular protagonist. We did have some issues with small text, no English dub, and a little fussiness in how information is relayed, but overall this is Gust's finest adventure to date and a JRPG experience that long-term fans and newcomers alike will find plenty to delight in.
The entire trilogy is well worth your time, but Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends and the Secret Fairy is just as good as the third entry.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is an achievement that Square should be proud of; this is one of the best games they’ve put out in years. A heartwarming, well-paced narrative supported by a cast of fantastic characters, a dense and interesting overworld packed with dozens of hours of content, and one of the finest soundtracks we’ve heard in a JRPG combine to make this an unforgettable modern classic. Whether you’re a newcomer to the JRPG genre or a returning vet, do yourself a favour and buy Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age as soon as you’re able. This is the epitome of a gift that keeps on giving, and it more than deserves a spot in your Switch library.
From its opening moments upon a prison ship bound for Fort Joy to non-stop adventures that take you across the high seas to the Reaper’s Coast, Nameless Isle and beyond, Divinity: Original Sin 2 simply dazzles. In its seemingly endless parade of well-written characters, hilarious narration, deep and rewarding physics-based combat and the myriad ways in which it allows to you to engage and toy and with its systems, this is a truly epic RPG that revels in choice more than any other that’s come before it. It takes the old-school isometric style of Baldur’s Gate, layers it with an unparalleled level of attention to detail and fuses it with a thoroughly modern take on meaningful player decisions, resulting in one of the greatest role-playing games available on any platform; and it’s all here, present and correct on a portable console.