If you ask JRPG fans to list their all-time favorite games, you’ll get countless different answers and endless arguments. Even when narrowing it down to a single console like the Nintendo Switch, there are almost too many options to choose from. No matter how big a list you make, you’re almost guaranteed to leave someone’s favorite off. Still, we don’t want to shy away from a challenge, so here are our picks for the best JRPGs released for the Switch.
The best JRPGs for the Switch – our top 10 picks
Developers like Square Enix have been giving us classic JRPG titles dating all the way back to the 1980s. However, the Switch has given the genre one of its best homes, allowing players to grind for new loot and experience points either on their TV or while they’re on the go. Some of these were originally released on other consoles and got ported to the Switch, while others are still exclusive to Nintendo’s console.
The developers for Chained Echoes set a difficult task ahead of them. They created a game that feels modern and fresh while also being a clear love letter to the JRPG classics that came before it. Somehow, they succeeded and gave us one of the best JRPGs of 2022. With callbacks to titles from the SNES era mixed into wonderfully balanced combat and captivating music, Chained Echos makes great use of JRPG tropes to deliver a familiar but unique story.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
It would be difficult to not include at least one Final Fantasy title on this list and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age manages to improve the original game enough to take it from being one of the worst Final Fantasy games ever and make it into one of the best JRPGs for the Switch. The combat is tighter and more engaging. The soundtrack, always one of the highlights in the series, feels bolder and grander. This remake takes an average entry in the series and makes it easy to recommend to both new and existing fans.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3
The Trails of Cold Steel series started on the PS Vita back in 2013 and has spawned multiple sequels that connect to the larger Trails series. Trails of Cold Steel 3 sends the series protagonist back to school as a teacher following the events of the previous games. The combat in the series values unit placement over outright power, meaning that you can overcome foes that are stronger than you with careful planning. The story here is fantastic and deep and fits right at home here on the Switch.
Related: The best JRPGS of all time
Live A Live
When the Live A Live remake was announced, JRPG fans fell into one of two categories. Either they were frothing at the mouth excited or they were confused about what the big deal was. This classic SNES game never got an official localization in the West, meaning that many players had never heard of it before. Despite the pixel art style on display, Live A Live feels right at home on modern consoles. The story takes players through multiple time periods, featuring twists that you won’t see coming. With a fresh translation and voice acting, this is easily the definitive edition of this incredible game.
NEO: The World Ends With You
The World Ends With You was one of the best games for the Nintendo DS, featuring brilliantly designed characters and a tense plot that kept you guessing until the very end. It was 11 years before the sequel was released, but Square Enix made it worth the wait in every way. The combat is sharper, the visuals pop in both handheld and docked modes, and the music is gorgeous. Any JRPG fan with a Switch should play this game right now, as it might be one of the best JRPGs of all time.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Anime fans will recognize the distinctive Studio Ghibli art style and charm from the moment this game loads up. The famous film studio was heavily involved in both the writing and character design aspects of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and the game really benefits from it. Everything has a touch of whimsy to it, with charmingly odd characters popping up seemingly out of nowhere. If you can get past some of the excessive grinding require to complete the game, this is a beautiful JRPG that looks and feels great on the Switch.
Nier Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition
If there was one game that no one thought would ever get a Switch port, it was Nier Automata. The gorgeous animation with countless particle effects seemed like it would be too much for Nintendo’s successful but undeniably limited hardware. Somehow, the developers pulled off the impossible and brought Yoko Taro’s mind-bending adventure to the Switch, and it looks better here than it has any right to.
Many of the best JRPGs feature ensemble casts, but few games made it a core feature the way Octopath Traveler did. It is risky to try to tell a story from multiple points of view, but this game managed to make everyone’s tale weave effortlessly together. It was engaging and clever in ways we didn’t expect. Each of the game’s eight characters feels important to the story, something that is incredibly difficult to pull off.
Persona 5 Royal
It was a tough choice of which of the Persona games to include on this list. Both Persona 3 and 4 set a high standard for the series, but Persona 5 Royal blows them both out of the water with the perfect mix of style and substance. There are fantastic characters, an engaging take on the turn-based combat system, and one of the best stories in JRPG history. Each playthrough will take close to 100 hours to complete and you’ll still probably dive in for another go after it is done.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
If there is one series that needed to break out of its own formula, it is Pokémon. While we love how each entry in the series offers a whole new range of creatures to catch, the gameplay and plot don’t usually hold many surprises. That’s why Pokémon Legends: Arceus is so fun. Set in a time before Pokémon trainers existed, this game gave us new areas to explore and a plot that stands out among the rest of the series.