Switch RPG Awards 2018: The Nominees Are…

Today, we are excited to announce the nominees for the first annual SwitchRPG Awards! The nomination process has been a labor of love for several members of the SwitchRPG staff, as we have whittled, chipped, and debated our way through the best RPGs released on the Switch in 2018. To qualify for a nomination, games must have been released on the Nintendo Switch between December 1, 2017 and November 30, 2018. These nominees, spread across ten diverse categories, represent the crowning jewels of the Switch’s RPG lexicon. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be engaging with the community and continuing our backstage debates, determining which games best stand as the shining example of excellence in their distinct category.

Best Turn-Based RPG

The bread and butter of RPG fans – and what most people picture when they hear “role playing game” – turn-based RPGs are alive and well. 2018 saw several stellar turn-based games come to the Switch, including a healthy mix of original titles and ports, all of which bring new innovations to the genre. Nominees in this category include comic book-inspired Battle Chasers: Nightwar, the grueling roguelike Darkest Dungeon, the beautiful, HD-2D throwback Octopath Traveler, and the hilarious (and often offensive) South Park: The Stick of Truth.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Darkest Dungeon

Octopath Traveler

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Best Tactical RPG

When simple turn-based battles just aren’t enough, this subgenre brings a whole slew of systems to learn, strategies to form, and puzzles to solve. Tactical RPGs have long been a favorite of RPG fans, as they crank the system mastery and min-maxing appeal up to new levels – all while keeping their feet firmly planted in solid storytelling. Nominees in this category include the conclusion to Stoic’s three-part epic, Banner Saga 3, the remaster of NIS’s first foray into wacky tactics games, Disgaea 1: Complete, the creative roguelike Into the Breach, and the latest in a long-beloved franchise, Valkyria Chronicles 4.

Banner Saga 3

Disgaea 1: Complete

Into the Breach

Valkyria Chronicles 4

Best Action RPG

Perhaps the fastest growing and most popular RPG subgenre currently on the market, the Action RPG brought some serious game of the year contenders to the Switch this year. These games stay grounded in the role-playing focus of RPGs, while also featuring fresh, action-packed combat systems and fast-paced gameplay. Nominees in this category include Child of Light, Diablo III: Eternal Collection, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana.

Child of Light

Diablo III: Eternal Collection

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

Best Roguelike

An ever-growing and popular genre, the Roguelikes are a favorite for SwitchRPG staff and community members alike. These games feature procedurally generated level design combined with clever combat systems and sometimes grueling difficulty. Nominees in this category include the rhythm-based Crypt of the Necrodancer, the tough-as-nails Darkest Dungeon, the rare tactical roguelike Into the Breach, and the dungeon delving / shop simulation mashup Moonlighter.

Crypt of the Necrodancer

Darkest Dungeon

Into the Breach


Best Casual RPG

A category for those RPGs that defy tradition, mash up with other genres, or are simply too hard to clearly define. These games incorporate RPG elements in light or creative ways, building crossover experiences that can be enjoyed by both hardcore and more casual RPG fans. Nominees in this category feature a wide spectrum of subgenres, including Dragon Quest Builder’s crafting theme, Pokemon: Let’s Go!’s mobile inspirations, Undertale’s bullet hell battle system, and the quiet exploration found in Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles.

Dragon Quest Builders

Pokemon: Let’s Go!


Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Best Studio

As we review the best games of the year, SwitchRPG also wants to take a step back and honor the studios who develop, publish, and market these amazing titles. Nominations in this category are based both on single, exceptional titles released in 2018 – such as Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana or Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – or for studios who have released multiple titles, such as Stoic’s release of all three Banner Saga games for the Switch or Square Enix’s multiple contributions to the Switch RPG lexicon.

Monolith Soft

Nihon Falcom

Square Enix


Best Music

While bland or mediocre music will at best fade into the background of most RPGs, a stellar soundtrack can elevate an already impressive game to new heights. This year, the Switch was blessed with a large variety of amazing scores, which both tugged on our heartstrings and got our blood pumping for the next turn in the emotional roller coaster. Nominees in this category include the massive orchestral soundtrack of Octopath Traveler, the resonant tunes of Transistor, Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s varied and exciting score, and Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana’s metal-inspired tracks.

Octopath Traveler


Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

Best Vocal Performance

Where music sets the tone and mood of a great RPG story, vocal performances provide the soul. Great performances can elevate written material to new heights, immersing players in the story, breathing life into beloved characters, and stirring our emotions in ways simple text often cannot achieve. Nominees in this category include Stoic’s powerfully moving Banner Sage Series, the varied vocal cast of Octopath Traveler, the insane antics of the South Park Series, and the immersive narration of Transistor.

Banner Saga Series

Octopath Traveler

South Park Series


Best Budget RPG

Here at SwitchRPG, we value not only the big, sweeping epics, but also the smaller, quieter, and more wallet-friendly titles. The Best Budget RPG category provides a chance for us to honor our favorite small-scale experiences of the year. Each of these games costs $15 or less at full eShop price, and were beloved by members of both the SwitchRPG staff and the community. Nominees include the Zelda-inspired Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King, 8-bit throwback Dragon Sinker, the tactical roguelike Into the Breach, and the quirky and comedic West of Loathing.

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King

Dragon Sinker

Into the Breach

West of Loathing

RPG of the Year

Narrowing down our list of favorite RPGs into four final nominees was no easy feat. 2018 was an incredible year to be an RPG fan and Switch owner, as we were blessed with a constant stream of stellar titles literally right from day 1 of the judging period (December 1 – when Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was released). While we would love to honor more games with nominations in this category, we believe these titles represent the best overall RPG experiences to be had on the Switch this year. Regardless of which game takes home the crown, each of these titles are a must-buy not only for RPG fans, but for almost any gamer looking for a stellar experience on the Switch.

Diablo III: Eternal Collection

Octopath Traveler

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

Want your voice heard in determining the best RPGs to hit the Switch in 2018? Keep your eyes on the SwitchRPG Twitter feed for daily polls, or leave your comments below. SwitchRPG staff picks and community favorites will be announced later this month!

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Cory Boney
1 year ago

Can’t wait to see the results!

1 year ago

Buy every game listed here, seriously.