Updated with Advance Wars. Enjoy!
Strategy and tactics games by their very nature require deep thought and careful consideration, and many gamers these days often find it hard to embark on epic multi-hour campaigns in a single sitting. Planning a multi-turn offensive in a 4X game like Civilization or outfitting your party with optimal gear in a Strategy RPG like Fire Emblem: Three Houses can take much trial-and-error and many of us can only grab small windows of gaming time.
Fortunately, the portability of Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, and Switch OLED — plus their sleep function — makes them ideal machines to help squeeze these brilliant games into hectic lifestyles, and Switch has a great selection of strategy and tactics games available at retail and on the eShop. Below, we've collected together a selection of our very favourites covering all types of strategy and tactics games. And if you're looking specifically for card-based strategy games, we've got a separate list of the Best Switch Card And Deck-Building Games. Bonza!
Whether you're looking to dominate a room, a battlefield or an entire continent, fetch your thinking cap, sit back and enjoy our picks — in no particular order — of the best strategy games on Nintendo Switch.
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If you think the world's premier 4X game (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) peaked at Civilization IV, the sixth entry won’t change your mind, but we envy anyone who’s never played the series, as Civilization VI on Switch is a brilliant introduction. Watching — and influencing — how the world unfolds is as addictive as ever, and the boon of portability makes this a great way to play. Lack of online play is an obvious disappointment, but the core game works fantastically well on the handheld and we had an absolute blast; with a mountain of DLC to discover after you've exhausted the substantial base game, take our advice and get stuck in.
Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble surpassed both its predecessor and Wargroove to become the number one Advance Wars 'clone' available on Switch. Indeed, it may be fair to say that this time around developer Area 35 has beaten Advance Wars at its own game with a super-tight and generous SRPG that takes the best from the greats it emulates and wraps them up in a much more modern and satisfying package. Battles here are challenging, tense and highly replayable affairs, new tactical options add even more depth to proceedings and the story, once it gets going, will keep you locked in until the fight is done.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden - Deluxe Edition was a great addition to the tactical RPG genre; a well-written and rewarding experience that combines the creative use of stealth found in the legacy of its ex-Hitman developers with a world that’s full of interesting characters and ideas. Almost every game in this genre lives in the shadow of XCOM, but Mutant offers enough new ideas to set itself apart. The visual downgrade on the Switch version can be a little hard on the eye, but considering how this sacrifice has preserved the quality of the game within, we’d call that a worthy trade-off.
A slice of Viking strategic combat right out of the heart of Scandinavia’s indie development scene, Bad North was at the vanguard of a wave of smart yet intrinsically accessible real-time strategy titles. Swedish developer Plausible Concept calls it ‘micro-strategy’ and it's the perfect encapsulation of a minimalist approach that covers everything from unit management to the Monument Valley-style isometric art style. With enough enemy variance to convince you you’re playing an interactive episode of the Vikings TV show, this endlessly entertaining sea of bitesize battles will teach you to fear — and love — the sound of the oncoming horde.
Coming from Subset Games, the makers of the brilliant FTL: Faster Than Light, Into The Breach is a brutal, uncompromising game of making hard decisions and living with your mistakes, but the short length of battles and endless variety of playthroughs makes for an extremely addictive experience. Though the graphics are nothing special, the gameplay is some of the very best you’ll find in the strategy genre on the Switch, and we can easily recommend this to anybody who’s looking for an in-depth game that’ll make you think. Into The Breach feels right at home on the Switch, and whether you play more at home or on the go, this is a cracking grid-based game.
If you happen to love Norse mythology or epic fantasies full of consequence and deft storytelling, then look no further than The Banner Saga. The first game sets the scene beautifully with intriguing cast, gripping tale and absolutely stunning artwork and soundtrack to transport you to a world filled with plenty of danger and surprises. Subtle refinements in the sequel make it a series which just gets better with each entry, and the development of characters, gradual progression of the narrative and multiple choices presented throughout the trilogy lead to multiple satisfying endings with fitting outcomes in the third and final game.
Element was one of the first games to show just how well the real-time strategy genre can work on the console when reinterpreted in the right way. Offering enough simplicity and depth for both newbies and old school players, Element cements itself as one of the most intriguing and unique titles you can play on the go. It’s a shame there’s no support for any form of multiplayer, but even as a purely solo effort, it’s a fresh-feeling and excellent addition to a long-in-the-tooth genre.
Invisible, Inc. is a brilliant little tactics game, right up there with Into the Breach and XCOM – if not even better. The bite-sized structure belies a deceptively complex and meaningful game, where all your decisions ultimately mean something significant for that final desperate attack. If you enjoy stealth or tactics games – or you're simply looking for a way into either genre – then Invisible, Inc. deserves your attention.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a must-have for Switch-owning fans of turn-based tactical games. More importantly, such is the style and depth on offer that it's also ideal for those that haven't played much of the genre, for whom 'XCOM' sounds like a silly acronym from a war movie. It introduces the concept in the best possible way, and then utilises its own ideas for what becomes a smart and - at times - deliciously challenging experience. Even if you don't actually like the Rabbids, this game — and its familiar Mario cast and setting — is so good that even Ubisoft's mascots become likeable. Well, almost.