If you’re anything like me you often get the craving for a good old-school turn-based RPG. Unfortunately, there are so many titles to choose from and often the best RPGs go overlooked. In this post, you’ll learn my Top 5 Best Turn-Based RPGs for Nintendo Switch.
1. Octopath Traveler
Octopath Traveler is a turn-based RPG for Nintendo Switch from Square-Enix. This game features a unique story where you can play as 8 different playable characters. Each character has their own backstory and relatively separate journies, but depending on the characters in your party they will interact with various side chats. These chats introduce relationships between characters and can reveal additional backstories for the characters.
Similar to older turn-based Final Fantasy RPGs Octopath Traveler features characters that have job classes. Each character has a unique base job class as they start the game and then as you explore throughout the game you will acquire additional job classes.
The job class system is one of the reasons why Octopath Traveler is one of the best turn-based RPGs for Nintendo Switch. It is super addicting to build out all of the various job classes and to master them. Each job class has a variety of abilities and you are able to equip two job classes for each character. One main job class and a sub-job class.
Because of this ability to equip multiple job classes and mix and matching of abilities the strategies you can use in battle are almost limitless. Octopath Traveler also features some unique battle mechanics that make encounters fun and challenging.
2. Dragon Quest XI
If you are looking for a traditional turn-based RPG for Nintendo Switch with a modern flair I’d recommend checking out Dragon Quest XI. Now I have been a fan of the Dragon Quest series since the original Dragon Warrior on NES. Obviously, the series has come a long way since then, but Dragon Quest XI still brings back some great monsters and content from the original.
Right away you’ll hear the iconic music from the series and a similar art style from previous games. However this time, they have really improved the textures along with the anime-style graphics. Swords look like metal, wood-like wood, and leather armor looks like leather.
In this game, you take on the role of the Luminary the lone hero who is destined to take on the Lord of Shadows the evil plaguing the land. On your way you’ll meet a memorable cast of characters and the storyline is one of the best in the Dragon Quest series.
Each character has their own grid of abilities and powerups they can learn and you’ll use your ability points to unlock abilities in any way you choose. This can really add to the replay value of the game and allows you to customize your characters to your own playstyle.
There are so many side quests, mini-games, items, abilities, secrets, and more to this game. There is also the option to play the game in Draconian mode, where you can add extra challenges to the game.
Plus if you have the version for Nintendo Switch it comes with the ability to play the entire game in 16-bit graphics. Dragon Quest XI is definitely one of the best turn-based RPGs for Nintendo Switch and is worth picking up!
3. Final Fantasy 7
Final Fantasy 7 has consistently been one of the best turn-based RPGs of all time, so when they ported it to Nintendo Switch, it definitely made the list. This game follows the story of Cloud Strife and fellow hero’s battle against the evil Shinra cooperation and the evil Sephiroth.
This classic turn-based RPG has your typical level-up mechanics of getting enough experience and then your characters level up and get stronger. However, this game also introduced the materia system which was one of the best mechanics in turn-based RPGs up to this point.
How this system worked is each spell or ability had a materia associated with it. Instead of characters being of a specific job class like previous Final Fantasy games you could mix and match your spells and abilities among any of the characters.
As materia gained more ability points it would level up further and get stronger. This was very addicting and fun to build out materia combinations and to create your own set of ultimate warriors.
This game also had some of the best mini-games of the series including Chocobo breeding and racing. You can catch wild Chocobos around the world and feed them greens to boost their abilities. From there you can race them to win money and prizes to improve your characters. Finally, you can breed your best racers and unlock secret breeds of Chocobos that allow you to run over rivers, mountains, and even oceans to find secret treasures around the world.
The Nintendo Switch version also features quality of life improvements like playing at faster speeds, auto-healing, full limit breaks, and the ability to turn random encounters off and on. If you haven’t played Final Fantasy 7 yet, pick it up as one of the best turn-based RPGs on Nintendo Switch.
4. Knights of Pen and Paper
Knights of Pen and Paper was a turn-based RPG on Nintendo Switch that I missed out on for a while. I wasn’t impressed by the artwork and the title didn’t jump out at me, but once I got a chance to play it that all changed. Knights of Pen and Paper for me has quickly become one of the best turn-based RPGs for Nintendo Switch I’d recommend playing.
For starters, the storyline is pretty entertaining. You play as a group of friends playing a Dungeons and Dragons like tabletop RPG but also play through the story taking place in the Pen and Paper world as well. As you play you’ll continually break through the 4th wall and have conversations with the dungeon master and poke fun at what is happening in the game world.
You not only pick your character class like an early Final Fantasy game, but you also choose their players such as a nerd, Wookie, jock, teacher, and more. Each has its own unique abilities and skills they bring to the table. You can mix and match any combination of characters you want and you can recruit more as you play.
The game is pretty traditional in the sense of you take turns attacking and use spells, but when you level up you can choose which of your abilities to improve. This gives you a lot of flexibility to build your team how you choose.
Not only can you level up and improve in-game, but you can also build up your real-world game room as well. Buying snacks, decorations, sidekicks, and more. These additions can improve your in-game play as well.
The game also has a great story and pokes fun at a lot of gamer and nerdy IPs that you’ll definitely appreciate.
5. Battle Chasers Nightwar
Battle Chasers Nightwar was another turn-based RPG for Nintendo Switch I was initially skeptical of. I thought the name seemed so generic and only decided to pick it up after routinely seeing it on sale. Surprisingly it actually ended up making this list as one of the best turn-based RPGs on Switch right now.
Once you get past the corny name, you’ll find that the gameplay, artwork, and story are all excellent. The art style is like a comic book and that’s actually because the game is based on a comic series.
The battles are more of a turn-based RPG, but it’s not something where you can just spam the attack command and win. You’ll need to use a lot of strategy behind the moves you choose if you hope to make it far. You also have an overdrive bar that accumulates as you take turns and you can use it to unleash abilities without expending MP, which adds to the strategy.
Another cool feature is the dungeons are somewhat randomized each time you go through them. On top of that, you can choose a difficulty level prior to going into each dungeon. The harder level you choose the better rewards you’ll find as you go through the dungeons. This allows you to have more of a challenge and then to be rewarded with better loot.
Your characters also have multiple paths for abilities they can learn and you can mix and match these as well. This gives you the ability to really optimize how your characters play and can feed into your ultimate battle strategy. If you like grindy addicting RPGs check out Battle Chasers Nightwar.
6. Bravely Default 2
The title of this post is the Top 5 Best Turn-Based RPGs For Nintendo Switch, but there’s one more game we need to talk about. Bravely Default 2 is another one of the best turn-based RPGs on Nintendo Switch. Bravely Default 2 came out recently and it was after recording the Top 5 Best RPGs on Nintendo Switch video and it deserves to be mentioned. It has quickly become one of my favorite turn-based RPGs on Nintendo Switch for a lot of reasons.
In this RPG, you take on the role of Seth and fellow heroes Gloria, Elvis, and Adelle. They are tasked with a journey to save and restore the crystals of Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth before the world is destroyed.
In this game, you will unlock various asterisks that grant your heroes powers of various job classes. These classes are like you would find in classic Final Fantasy games. Classes such as thief, black mage, white mage, red mage, and more. As you progress you can learn new abilities and skills for each class and then you can mix them all together to form your ultimate team.
Bravely Default 2 also features a unique battle system where you can utilize either a brave or default action. These allow you to build up brave points and unleash powerful skills by taking multiple turns in a row. You can also default to boost your defenses and also save brave points to plan out your unique strategy for each battle.
It also features a way to increase the battle speed dramatically so enemy encounters typically last less than a minute. This turn-based RPG for Nintendo Switch can get a bit grindy, but with the increased battle speed it’s not a problem. Pick up this RPG if you haven’t!
There are so many great RPGs for Nintendo Switch it’s hard to narrow them down to only a top 5. Plus, there are still more coming out so the list of the best turn-based RPGs for Nintendo Switch seems to always be growing.
Some of the RPGs are more traditional while others add new game mechanics making them even more addicting. If you like RPGs the Nintendo Switch is a must-have system as there are great first-party RPGs and indie RPGs. Let us know in the comments below what your favorite turn-based RPGs for Nintendo Switch are and if we missed any!