The 23 Best Turn-Based RPG Switch Games

Image credit: Square Enix

Many fans of Nintendo games are also fans of turn-based RPGs. I mean, how many Switch owners do you know that do not like Pokémon games?

There are many J-RPGs (or Japanese Role-Playing Games) on the Switch, and many of them have turn-based combat. However, this kind of combat is not exclusive to Japanese games. There are plenty of games out there that follow this approach, so If that’s your thing, don’t worry, we have many games to recommend.

The Switch has a surprisingly high number of titles in any genre, and turned-based RPGs are not beyond its repertoire.

There are many original titles that feature turn-based RPGs as well as remasters and remakes of old games such as past Final Fantasy. You can also find indie games made by JRPG fans and unique approaches to the genre that add a twist to the old turn-based combat style.

So if you are looking for the best turn-based RPG Switch Games, here’s a list for you with our favorite ones.

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy is one of the most acclaimed franchises of all time, so any of the games in this franchise are pretty easy to recommend.

Although the combat isn’t exactly turn-based — the game follows the ATB system introduced in Final Fantasy IV — it still feels that way, featuring command actions that players only get to use once their Active Time Battle fills up, so we’re adding it to the list.

However, Final Fantasy VII is not just an RPG; it is one of the most acclaimed videogames of all time and has started an entire expanded universe with many spin-offs in the form of games, movies, and anime.

In the world of Final Fantasy VII, Shinra Company learned how to use the lifeblood of the planet as electrical energy, but doing so is killing the planet.

The heroes who commit to stopping this evil corporation end up being caught in a much bigger problem that involves creatures from unknown lands, demi-god villains, and impossible to predict plot twists.

Final Fantasy VII was the first game of the franchise to use a soundtrack that was significantly different from the previous ones. The genius behind the game’s music, Nobuo Uematsu, had more freedom to work when the franchise moved to the first PlayStation system.

Besides, Final Fantasy also featured a game with futuristic elements for the first time, allowing the artists to think outside the box and really innovate like never before.

This is pretty much an obligatory game for fans of JRPGs and turn-based RPGs in general.

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered

This game might not have received the same treatment as Final Fantasy VII, but it doesn’t change that it is pretty nice to see it with slightly better graphics.

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered is pretty much the same experience you had when you first played the eighth installment of the most acclaimed JRPG series of all time, but with some improvements to the graphics.

Control Squall and members of SeeD in their fight against oppression. Fight against the sorceress Edea and help the nations to defend against her armies.

Final Fantasy VIII features new ways to cast and obtain magic, and some of the most iconic summon attacks of the franchise, such as Shiva’s Diamond Dust animation.

Final Fantasy IX

It should be very clear by now that if a game is called Final Fantasy and its combat is turn-based, it will end up showing up in this list.

When it comes to visuals, Final Fantasy IX is very refreshing. It is much more like older Final Fantasy games, featuring a Fantasy setting rather than cyberpunk cities or futuristic nations.

However, the story escalates and becomes as serious as any other Final Fantasy plot.

Besides, Final Fantasy IX has one of the most charismatic main characters of the franchise, as well as one of the most beloved couples.

Final Fantasy IX has a lot to offer in gameplay too. Learn abilities from your equipped items that stick with your character even after removing the item, use your Trance bar to unlock new skills during combat, combine items to make them better, and enjoy several minigames.

The Last Remnant

This is a game that is not going to hold your hand, so be aware when you pick this one up. The Last Remnant is a hardcore JRPG made by Square Enix that innovates in many different ways.

The combat system is turn-based, but you don’t have just a party of heroes, but many different individuals who join you — or who you hire to accompany you — and you build squares with them.

Each squad works somewhat like a single character would in a JRPG, but not quite the same way. Squads act together, but each member can make a difference in how combats turn out.

Not only is squad composition essential, but characters also learn different skills based on what you tell them and how you play them. On top of all that, each squad’s size and formations play a huge role in combat, as does positioning and who you choose to engage.

Remember, this is just the combat. On top of all that, there is a lot of grinding, exploration, side quests, and quite a few unfair boss battles that demand a deep understanding of the combat system.

However, If overcomplicated JRPG games are your thing, go for it. This game is a blast once you start understanding how it works. There is so much to learn and try out that you will be playing it for at least many dozens of hours.

Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire is one of the best indie games on the Nintendo Switch and one of the best turn-based RPGs of its era.

The game is innovative and combines roguelike, card games, and RPG elements to make something entirely unique.

In Slay the Spire, you assemble a deck and fight through the ever-changing Spire, where you will find new items and resources to try again in case you fail.

The most exciting thing about Slay the Spire is how the combat was designed. Although you fight creatures mainly as you would in a turn-based game, your deck is what defines the actions you can take.

There is a lot of strategic thinking in how players build their decks and use them while adventuring through the game, which makes it really different from other turn-based RPGs.

I Am Setsuna

I Am Setsuna is an RPG that uses an ATB system like the ones you see in older Final Fantasy games. The game was clearly inspired by older JRPG titles, and it feels like a love letter to them.

The game was designed to feel nostalgic, using old-school storytelling, battle systems, and gameplay in general.

As the name of the game suggests, this is the story of a girl called Setsuna. She is meant to be sacrificed to calm down a fiend.

The story is emotionally impactful, the gameplay is meant to feel familiar, and the narrative is immersive. If you want something new that feels like JRPG classics, you’re probably going to enjoy I Am Setsuna.

Dragon Quest

The original Dragon Quest got a new release version on the Nintendo Switch. It has improved graphics, but it keeps that retro feeling of the original. If you are a fan of Dragon Quest, this game is probably for you.

If you like turn-based JRPG games and haven’t ever played the original Dragon Quest, this game is certainly made for you.

The kingdom of Alefgard was destroyed by the Dragonlord. As a descendant of the legendary hero Erdrick, you must go on a journey to retrieve the Sphere of Light, defeat the Dragonlord, and save the world.

Dragon Quest was designed by Yuji Horii, its music was composed by Koichi Sugiyama, and the art comes from Akira Toriyama. With those three together, it should be evident why this game is one of the most iconic JRPGs ever made.

DRAGON QUEST III: The Seeds of Salvation

Dragon Quest III tells the story of a sixteen-year-old hero who suddenly has to follow in his father’s footsteps and become the hero of Aliahan to defeat Baramos, the Archfiend and Master of Darkness.

As most JRPGs out there, the game escalates and takes epic proportions. In Dragon Quest III, the party members can be customized, from gender to class, and you unlock many different abilities and spells when you level them up.

The combat is nothing new to those who are familiar with the genre, but it looks great in this version of the game.

DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Once again, it’s time for a hero to rise up and protect the world in this installment of the acclaimed Dragon Quest series.

DRAGON QUEST® XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition is definitely one of the best turn-based RPG Switch games.

In this game, the World Tree Yggdrasil designates someone to be a Luminary in times of great need. The Luminary to be a champion of good in times of need and fight for the world’s sake.

This version of Dragon Quest XI has an odd feature. You can play the game either in 2D — using 16 bits style graphics — or 3D.

The game is the same in many ways, but there are some differences. For instance, random encounters are indeed random in the 2D version, load times are shorter in 2D, and voice acting is only present in the 3D version.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

In Fire Emblem™: Three Houses, you are a teacher of the Garreg Mach Monastery who must instruct the apprentices from one of the three most powerful nations of the land.

You will have to handle your students, their academic life, and their actions on the battlefield.

This franchise is known to any Nintendo fans who have been playing RPGs for a while. Fire Emblem features turn-based tactical combat that can suddenly change after the combat encounter has started.

Thanks to the graphics that the franchise can finally take advantage of after coming back to home consoles, the battles look seriously fantastic, 

Besides good graphics, great combat, and well-written characters, players can take many different routes during a playthrough, which means the game can be replayed a few times and still feel completely fresh.

Fire Emblem™: Three Houses is a great RPG, and it is an amazing Switch game for those who like JRPGs, good storylines, and turn-based combat.

Battle Brothers – A Turn Based Tactical RPG

This one states in its title the reason for being on the list. This tactical turn-based RPG grants you control of a mercenary group in a harsh fantasy world.

You have to make decisions such as where to go, who shall fight what, who else you should hire, and so on. The game also features permanent death and story consequences when you lose a character.

This might be a game on the harder side, but you should try it if you are one of those who want turn-based combat but nothing very anime.

There are exciting things about this game’s system, such as no class-based evolution, equipment that causes a massive impact in the combat, enemies that behave very differently from each other, and more.

Child of Light Ultimate Edition

Child of Light is one of those indie games that look like an animated work of art from beginning to end.

In this game, you control Aurora, a little girl who is trapped in the magic world and has to figure out a way to help her father and the lost Kingdom of Lemuria.

This game has memorable characters, a memorable art style, clever dialogues, puzzles, and quite a lot of gameplay depth in its very clever twist on the old and tried turn-based combat system.

Besides, the plot is revealed in the most charming way. The characters speak in verses and rhymes, and all conversations are voiced.

If you feel like diving in a fairy tale while bashing bad guys, Child of Light might be a game you will enjoy.

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon is one of those games that is overflowing with identity. Its art style is its own, the combat system is brutal and punitive, and the game’s atmosphere is dark and gritty.

It is amazing to see how the game conveys a lot of power and movement from a few animation tricks and a couple of frames, making the combat look great while being entertaining.

The setting seems to borrow a lot from Lovecraft’s book. Things do not always seem to make a lot of sense, and madness seems to be a recurring theme.

Either way, this is a challenging game with a great atmosphere and a deep turn-based combat system. The game is beloved by players and critics, has a good reputation, and is immensely replayable, so give it a shot.

Cris Tales

Cris Tale is one of the best indie games on the Switch and also one of the best RPGs that the console has to offer.

It has a convoluted time travel plot that also connects with the gameplay, making this game have its own signature mechanics when it comes to gameplay. However, it doesn’t even need that to stand out. Cris Tales is gorgeous, and its art style is unique, distinct, and beautiful in so many ways.

On top of all that, you have to make decisions in this Cris Tale that change the timeline. Your choices can affect the people you meet in the past, present, or future. There are over twenty hours of gameplay content with many different outcomes in this love letter to JRPGs.

Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler is a turn-based RPG that is as much of a modern JRPG as it gets. The studio Bravely Default clearly took a lot of inspiration from older Final Fantasy games — such as FFIV, FFV, and FFVI — and other titles from that era.

The gameplay is very much what you’d expect from a game that is inspired by old RPGs, with turn-based combat that had a few tweaks to make the game have an identity of its own. Besides all that, Octopath Traveler is a beautiful game with a fantastic soundtrack.

So on top of having the combat system you want, it can also make you feel nostalgic. The game’s art style has an unusual beauty that combines 3D graphics and 16bits game aesthetics.

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny

Disgaea is a tactical RPG franchise that continues to deliver a fun and exciting experience to fans of the genre.

In this game, you get to know a zombie called Zed, the one who is above all except a god of destruction. You must play as Zed and his crew to find out if they can win a fight against a god.

This is the first Disgaea in 3D, and it has adjustable settings so it can look much more like the older titles if that’s your preference.

The combat and gameplay, in general, feel very familiar and still demand good strategies in its turn-based combat.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

South Park is a name that doesn’t need introductions. The known series has been making fun of literally everyone and everything for over a decade.

Thankfully, video games are not out of their reach. If you are into South Park’s kind of humor and tactical turn-based combat, this game was tailored for you.

The Fractured but Whole is the sequel to The Stick of Truth, the previous South Park RPG game. Like the last installment, players are the New Kid in Stan’s gang along with Kenny, Kyle, and Cartman.

While the previous game was more focused on medieval fantasy, this game makes players join Mysterion, Toolshed, Human Kite, and The Coon in one of the funniest video games ever made.

Nexomon

Nexomon is a new franchise that feels familiar. The developers followed Pokémon’s formula almost entirely and delivered a turn-based RPG where you capture monsters that battle for you.

Interestingly, unlike many Pokémon clones, this game is pretty good. Nexomon has a cute art style, over three hundred creatures, many different areas, and more.

It’s surprising how Nexomon looks better than most Pokémon games out there. The creatures are interesting, have good animation, and evolve to really cool forms.

As a Nexomon Tamer, you can select one of the seven initial creatures to begin your journey and venture out in the world to catch them all — or something like that.

Nexomon: Extinction

If Nexomon seems like a good game to you, so will Nexomon: Extinction. This is a turn-based RPG just like the franchise’s previous installment, but even more polished and with even more content.

Nexomon: Extinction has 381 creatures, many different towns to visit, and a world to save.

Right at the beginning of this game, you can see that things will be different from Pokémon. Although the art style and Nexomon designs are somewhat cute and innocent, the plot often shows signs of a much more dangerous world with world-threatening creatures and bad guys.

Unlike the previous game, you can’t be carried by your starting Nexomon as you could in the last game, making it much more important for you to tame more creatures and find a good team composition that works for you.

Ruinverse

Ruinverse looks a lot like a game from the 16bit era. It’s a turn-based RPG that pays homage to older games. In this game, you follow Kit in his journey to save Allie, the heroine with two souls.

This is a game that features many original monsters, a skill tree with many different abilities for your to master, several boss battles, and a lot of exploration.

The art style is also quite good, with super-deformed characters for the protagonists and detailed sprite art to the enemies, much like old Final Fantasy Games.

If you love JRPGs, chances are you will like Ruinverse.

Pokémon Shining Pearl

This is not Nexomon, but it is a pretty good game. This franchise does not need any introductions, but perhaps this specific game does.

Pokémon™ Shining Pearl is a turn-based RPG that takes place in the Sinnoh region. Like in most Pokémon games, players pick one of the three initial characters and travel the world to catch’em all and become a Pokémon master.

Pokémon was always a beloved franchise with many good games, so it should be no surprise that Pokémon™ Shining Pearl is one of the best turn-based RPG Nintendo Switch games.

Another great thing about this game is the Grand Underground. There you can set up your own base, capture Pokémon in hideways, participate in Contest Shows, and much more.

World of Final Fantasy Maxima

This game feels, in many ways, like Square Enix’s response to Pokémon’s success. This is by far the most adorable Final Fantasy experience one can have.

In World of Final Fantasy, players control twin siblings who have to collect mirages — the monsters from several different final fantasy titles — to use them in their adventures. Make them fight for you and level them up just like you would in a Pokémon game.

World of Final Fantasy also features summon attacks of actual Espers and super-deformed versions of Final Fantasy heroes that sometimes show up to help you.

The Maxima version of the game also lets you use the protagonists as Champions. This game has at least forty hours of content, hundreds of Monsters to capture, and turn-based combat.

Shadowrun Trilogy

This is one of the best RPGs of the modern era and one of the few that features a tactical turn-based combat system.

Shadowrun is a series of games based on the acclaimed tabletop RPG. Its premise was always pretty cool, a cyberpunk world with dwarves, elves, orcs, and other mythical creatures.

The Shadowrun Trilogy comes with Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun Dragonfall – Director’s Cut, and Shadowrun Hong Kong – Extended Edition.

The first one, Shadowrun Returns, takes place in Seattle. In this game, the player must find a mysterious killer that seems to be involved with megacorporations.

Shadowrun Dragonfall – Director’s Cut, you learn about Feuerschwinge, a female dragon who reappeared on the top of German mountains and destroyed the south of that country. However, there are rumors that the dragon has never fallen; it’s just asleep. What if she comes back for revenge?

In the last one, Shadowrun Hong Kong – Extended Edition, you play as a former criminal from Seattle who is trying to live an honest life. Still, you are dragged into a conspiracy that involves the police and megacorporations. Standard stuff in the world of Shadowrun.

Not only is the setting fascinating, but the combat also is super fun, and it does demand tactical thinking and good positioning.

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