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 and Switch Lite — 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.
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 – 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 make 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 surpasses both its predecessor and the recent Wargroove to become the number one Advance Wars 'clone' available on Switch right now. 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. Long-suffering Advance Wars fans take note - this one really is pretty much essential.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden - Deluxe Edition is one of the best additions to the tactical RPG genre in years; 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 is at the vanguard of a new wave of smart yet intrinsically accessible real-time strategy titles. 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.
As far as strategy games are concerned on the Switch, Wargroove is one of the best titles you can find on the eShop. Extremely deep and diverse strategy gameplay, ridiculous amounts of replayability, and charming presentation all combine to make this one an easy recommendation to anybody looking for a deep and cerebral experience for their Switch. Advance Wars may only exist nowadays in our memories, but Wargroove stands as a worthy successor to the franchise; if Intelligent Systems does ever decide to revive its cult classic series, it’s going to have some stiff competition to contend with thanks to Chucklefish's efforts.
Including all DLC from the original, this edition of Disgaea 5 Complete plays beautifully on the go and offers an extraordinary volume of content, its own quirky approach to storytelling and a complex set of systems that complement each other well. Its user interface is a little unwieldy, which might not make it the best start for genre newbies, but series fans are likely to adore this hardcore approach.
For strategy RPG fans we still give it a hearty recommendation, but with the proviso that it's more demanding and tougher to master than many of its genre contemporaries. If you're up for the challenge and time investment, and can tolerate its zany characters and settings, then it's well worth adding to your Nintendo Switch collection. If you end up falling in love with the series, Disgaea 1 Complete and Disgaea 4 Complete+ should keep you occupied for hundreds of hours.
This War of Mine Complete Edition is an affecting survival strategy experience on Switch and this edition is a comprehensive package. A couple of minor technical issues do little to diminish its power and, although the lack of touch controls is odd, sleep mode is a winner for squeezing in a few days as-and-when you can. Switch arguably helps make this downbeat game as accessible as possible and it deserves to be played - a very welcome addition to Switch’s diverse catalogue.