This week, the staff of SwitchRPG are taking you on a grand tour through our favorite RPGs on the Nintendo Switch- so far, anyway. While each list is subjective to the author in question, we believe these lists represent the cream of the crop – games that every RPG fan should take a serious look at, and consider picking up.
Alvastia Chronicles – For The Budget JRPG Fan
Lovee it or hate it, KEMCO injects their RPGs en masse into literally every platform. While skeptical at first, I soon realized that these titles can often turn out to be solid budget JRPG experiences. This wass especially the case during the early days of the Switch RPG library- while classics such as Dragon Quest I, II, and III are beginning to pop up on the eShop (and should absolutely be played), KEMCO RPGs may be a little easier to swallow for some due to their innate modern conveniences.
In that way, KEMCO has got you covered… sometimes. Though they don’t always hit the mark, there are some standout titles in the KEMCO lineup that you should absolutely play if you’re looking for a bite-sized, budget friendly JRPG experience – one being Alvastia Chronicles. Not only does this title feature a pleasing 16-bit aesthetic, the main protagonist – a literal mute – takes the silent protagonist archetype to new heights. Alvastia Chronicles caps off its features with a solid turn-based combat system that utilizes a “cluster” of teams rather than a set of individual characters. The aforementioned quality of life changes, like auto-battle and battle speed adjustments, broadens the potential appeal of what might otherwise be considered a traditional JRPG.
Dragon Quest XI S – For The Turn-based JRPG Fan
Dragon Quest XI S is the culmination of everything that makes a turn-based JRPG great – excellent turn-based combat, lovable characters, and a charming, trope-filled story – alongside modern features like expansive crafting systems. Collectively, these things make for a nicely trimmed package that should satisfy any JRPG fan – bonus points for being in the Dragon Quest franchise, sure, but the fine-tuning at play underneath everything allows this installment to easily stand on its own. Although it certainly looks better on other platforms, it is hard to beat the portability factor of this definitive version, allowing you to play this meaty title on-the-go with you anytime, anywhere.
Ys VIII – For The Action RPG Fan
Ready for a particularly spicy take? I’m not the biggest fan of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – don’t @ me!
Though I did enjoy the game overall, and am very much looking forward to playing the re-release of its predecessor in 2020, the slow pacing and unnecessary complexity of the battle system just never really did it for me. In some ways, it felt like a game trying to be an action RPG, but moved at a pace closer to that of a turn-based game, speed-wise.
Fast forward a few months later, and Ys VIII was ported to the Switch. This, now THIS felt like a great action RPG – fluid combat, flashy animations, and solid performance. Journeying alongside Adol at the cursed Isle of Seiren and slowly unraveling the mysteries of Dana make for a glorious endeavor, earning it a top position in my personal favorite Switch RPGs in 2018 as a result. If you haven’t played Ys VIII before, it is basically like the TV show LOST minus the abundance of loose ends and terrible ending. Today, I still consider it one of the best action RPGs on the platform, and can only hope that it was successful enough to garner the arrival of Ys IX some day.
Quest of Dungeons – For the Rogue-like Fan
It’s no secret that there are a metric ton of rogue-likes available on Nintendo Switch, so what makes this one special? I’m very picky about rogue-likes – there must be enough meaningful RPG mechanics within for me to care for more than a few minutes, and Quest of Dungeons certainly fits that bill. Not only that, it is an extremely accessible rogue-like that can also cater to hardcore fans with its brutal nature on more difficult settings. In other words, Quest of Dungeons is an easy to learn, hard to master rogue-like whose low price of entry gives it even more street appeal.
Golf Story – For The Sports RPG Fan
If there ever was a way to effectively coerce an RPG fan into trying a sports game – or vice versa – it would be Golf Story. Like Quest of Dungeons, Golf Story has been on the Switch since the early days of the console’s lifespan, but has been adored by fans for its engaging golf mechanics and RPG systems. The game includes level-ups, stat distribution, and gear progression, and touts a story that leverages a diverse, often hilarious cast to such a fine degree, it is sure to leave a lasting impression in some way.
That’s it for me – what do you think about my picks for essential RPGs? What would you have chosen differently?