There are some quality RPGs on the Nintendo Switch Online service, but there is certainly room for growth. Action RPGs like Crystalis are there, as are The Legend of Zelda 1 and 2, and Breath of Fire 1 and 2. But there are a wealth of choices across the NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64 libraries that have been neglected.
We have compiled a list of the 10 best RPGs that ought to be on the Nintendo Switch Online service in future updates. This is by no means an exhaustive list but includes a wide variety of RPGs across Nintendo’s timeline.
Nintendo Switch Online needs more RPG options for its fans
Since the Game Boy Advance has not been 100% confirmed, it is being left off this Nintendo Switch Online list. Instead, the focus is on the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64. The writer decided to put a variety of RPGs on the game, from well-known RPGs to games that flew under the radar but deserve a wider audience than they presently have.
RPGs took some time to become popular on consoles outside of Japan, but these story-driven games tend to have lengthier playtimes, occasional multiple endings, and unforgettable moments for everyone. The Nintendo Switch Online's game list needs these titles.
10 best RPGs that could come to the Switch:
- Gauntlet Legends (N64)
- Ogre Battle: Person of Lordly Caliber (N64)
- The 7th Saga (SNES)
- Faxanadu (NES)
- Final Fantasy III (SNES)
- Dragon Warrior 4 (NES)
- Robotrek (SNES)
- Secret of Mana (SNES)
- Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals (SNES)
- Chrono Trigger (SNES)
10) Gauntlet Legends (N64)
Gauntlet Legends is a four-player classic from the Nintendo 64, and many fans have fond memories of getting together with their friends and demolishing the forces of evil in cooperative play.
If this could also have online co-op, it would be an absolutely massive deal for friends who want to play this via Nintendo Switch Online. Originally released in the arcades back in 1998, the fantasy hack-and-slash is a part of the long-standing Gauntlet franchise.
Players go through a series of dungeons, slaughtering every enemy that comes their way, as well as snatching up potions and health items before their friends can get them first.
This particular game changed the Gauntlet franchise by allowing players to increase their stats (Strength, Speed, Armor, Magic) via gaining experience. It was a new system for Gauntlet, and took the series in a whole new direction. Multiplayers on the Nintendo Switch Online games list need a shot in the arm, and here's a great pick for that.
9) Ogre Battle: Person of Lordly Caliber (N64)
If Game Boy Advance were a part of this list, the Ogre Battle game used here would have instead been Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, though the PSP version was better. Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber is a real-time tactical RPG that would no doubt stand out among the other games on the platform.
The Nintendo Switch Online game list does not feature a tactical RPG that is anything like Ogre Battle 64. It has the protagonist Magnus commanding a battalion of units. The units are divided into groups, each with a leader.
The real-time combat is a real challenge, and the game has a variety of endings, each with its own requirements. It’s a rich, complex, challenging, tactical game that people can easily sink hours into.
8) The 7th Saga (SNES)
The 7th Saga, released originally by Enix (before the Square Enix merger), was an RPG that frankly flew under many players’ radars. In an incredibly challenging game, players control one of 7 heroes, who are all trying to collect the 7 Runes. Each of the heroes (apprentices) has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Players can recruit up to one of those other apprentices, who also have their own feelings towards the other characters. Anyone not picked is a potential rival because all of the other characters have similar aims and goals. Some of these characters are also evil, making for a fun twist.
It’s one of the hardest RPGs on the SNES, partially thanks to issues when being ported to America. As a result, the other apprentices are much stronger than the player characters. Even with that, it’s a game with gorgeous monster art, challenging gameplay, and memorable music.
7) Faxanadu (NES)
Faxanadu was another very challenging RPG on Nintendo consoles and would fit nicely on the Nintendo Switch Online. It is one of the early action RPGs and is a part of the long-running Dragon Slayer series. The nameless hero returns to his home kingdom, only to find it in ruins. The water is poisoned, and the Elven king tasks the hero with solving the problem.
Players will travel through several areas of the World Tree, where Elves and Dwarves lived in harmony until The Evil One corrupted the dwarves, turning them into monsters. It’s up to the player to navigate this complex, difficult world and set things right once and for all. It was a fantastic side-scrolling RPG, and Faxanadu would be a nice addition to the system.
6) Final Fantasy III (SNES)
Even with the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster games being available, those games are not available on the Nintendo Switch. With that in mind, Final Fantasy 2, 3, or Mystic Quest belong on the platform. It was hard to pick one of them, but ultimately, Final Fantasy 3 (VI) won out. Final Fantasy III is a massive RPG with a classic good vs. evil story.
A huge cast of characters, gorgeous pixel graphics, and a compelling story await players who have never tried Final Fantasy III at all. Characters come and go, and deep themes are explored throughout the game. Love, trust, reasons to live, grief, and so much more are explored throughout the game. It is an absolute must-play when it comes to RPGs in the SNES catalog and should be on the Nintendo Switch Online games list.
5) Dragon Warrior IV (NES)
Dragon Warrior (Quest) 1-3 are already on the Nintendo Switch, and while this writer would love to see the original releases also on the platform, Dragon Warrior IV is a game in the series that really deserves more love. Unlike previous games in the series with well-defined, singular protagonists, Dragon Quest IV offered something else.
Each chapter of the game had its own protagonist, with their own skills, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Then, in the end, these come together, and the other characters meet the actual hero of the story. The party comes together to save the world. It was a fascinating, unique experience when it came to RPGs of the time, and adding it to the Nintendo Switch Online list would put a timeless classic in the hands of more gamers.
4) Robotrek (SNES)
Not all RPGs are ultra-serious, life-or-death, save-the-world affairs. Robotrek (known as Slapstick in Japan) is a wacky, ridiculous RPG by Quintet, published by Enix. It’s a very silly game with a story that frankly makes little sense. It’s aimed at a younger audience but is a cult favorite among retro RPG fans.
One of the things that really makes it stand out is that the player designs and customizes a trio of robots with a variety of swords, axes, bombs, and lasers. It uses a fuel system with these so that several actions can be done in combat. The turn-based RPG is a hilarious and silly experience and would find itself doing well on the Nintendo Switch Online service.
3) Secret of Mana (SNES)
One of the best games of all time, Secret of Mana is a genre-defining RPG on the Super Nintendo, so it should be on the Nintendo Switch Online system too. One of the best action RPGs on the entire platform, it starts off as just a boy on a log, who stumbles into finding a cruddy, rusty sword.
It then turns into a quest to save the world, where the boy is joined by a magical, sassy girl and a sarcastic male sprite. The other two characters can use magic, where the boy can only attack with the various weapons they unlock.
Players will go through a variety of elemental shrines, combat evil, and even head into the Mana Fortress itself. The best part of the game, even beyond its gorgeous, adorable graphics, beautiful soundtrack, and sharp gameplay, is that it was a three-player RPG.
If that were brought to the Nintendo Switch, it would really bring awesome multiplayer gameplay to the Nintendo Switch, whether online or local.
2) Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals
Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals may be the most emotional RPG this writer has ever played on the SNES. But why not its predecessor, Lufia and the Fortress of Doom? While a great game, Lufia 2 improved upon it in every conceivable way.
On top of that, Lufia 2 is the prequel to the first game, set around 90 years before the events of Lufia and the Fortress of Doom.
That’s not a spoiler because Lufia 1 shows the ending of Lufia 2 as the opening gameplay. While that could be a downer for some players, the real emotional weight is shown in how the player gets from the beginning to the end of Lufia 2.
It offers terrific turn-based combat, a 99-floor randomized dungeon, challenging puzzles, and a deep, heartbreaking story. It’s one of the best RPGs on the SNES and needs to be brought back for the public to play again on the Nintendo Switch Online service.
1) Chrono Trigger (SNES)
Chrono Trigger is one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and that’s not even close to a controversial statement. It deserves a place in the Nintendo Switch Online catalog. A game with tons of optional endings, it’s a rare RPG that does time travel well. Time travel in this game has consequences for the story. The silent protagonist works well here as he gets swept up in events beyond his control.
All of the characters in Chrono Trigger are well-developed, the music is perfect, and it, like the Dragon Warrior series, has character designs by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame. Chrono Trigger’s ATB system is reminiscent of the Final Fantasy games but also changed the game by introducing double and triple-team techniques. Chrono Trigger is hands-down one of the best RPGs of all time, and it’s a crime that it’s not on the Nintendo Switch Online list already.
When it comes to role-playing games, there are numerous that are not on this list for Nintendo Switch Online. That’s okay, though, because there are just too many titles to put on here. There are so many Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior games that could be added, for example.
There’s Secret of Evermore as a gorgeous, American-developed Squaresoft RPG, as another example. No matter what comes into the system, these games will hopefully one day be a part of them.