The Nintendo Switch has been considered one of the best devices to happen to the indie game scene. With thousands of titles made by independent developers currently on the platform, you’re spoilt for choice. Even if all you crave is some creative indie RPGs, the hybrid console has you covered for days.
Here are the top 12 indie RPGs you should play on the Switch.
Bastion is such a superbly developed title, it could easily rival even the biggest AAA RPG. Everything about this game feels like it’s been made to deliver nothing but fun. Its colorful graphics, storybook art style, engaging combat, and intricately narrated story all combine to produce an indie RPG experience like no other. What’s even more impressive is how the game holds up after nearly 10 years since its original launch.
Do you like cats? Do you like arcade-style RPG combat? Whether it’s a yes to both or either, Cat Quest 2 is the game for you. For a lot of gamers, this title likely flew completely under the radar which is a massive shame. It’s a fun-filled adventure with diverse and expansive environments to explore and some highly addictive action combat. On top of that, it’s a great title to play in co-op. Its simplicity is ideal for anyone to just pick it up and instantly start having fun.
What’s a golf game doing in an indie RPG list? Well, this isn’t your typical sports game about chucking white balls into gopher holes. Golf Story takes the fairly standard RPG formula and places it within the context of a golfing game. Surprisingly enough, this isn’t even its biggest selling point. Its intricate story and memorable characters are the real stars of the game that’ll keep you playing until the credits roll.
At first glance, Children of Morta looks like your standard rogue-like action RPG. However, it’s merely light on those design elements as it focuses on delivering a fast-paced combat experience that keeps things fresh. You’ve got several characters to play as, each with their own unique abilities and playstyle. Where this game truly shines is in its character customization options. If you’re a gamer who enjoys tinkering their playstyle and experimenting with new ideas, Children of Morta will have you hooked for hours on end.
Part top-down Soulslike, part fantasy shop simulator, Moonlighter is one of the most unique titles on this list. You delve into randomly generated dungeons not for fame and glory but for the opportunity to pick up rare items and materials to sell in your shop. While the game’s combat and enemies are challenging enough, the real meat and potatoes come when it’s time to put your hard-earned wares on the market.
If a more traditional JRPG experience is what you crave, then Cris Tales has you covered. This game has been built as a love letter to good old-fashioned turn-based titles like the ones found in retro consoles from a time long past. But it also goes beyond that by introducing a unique time-based mechanic that has you sending your enemies back or forward in time to alter the effects of your party’s skills. On top of that, the artful style of its visuals makes it an unforgettable experience.
Fire Emblem has the attention of the tactical RPG market but it’s the Banner Saga that is more deserving of high praise. Beyond having some of the best strategy gameplay and mechanics, it makes use of a system that heavily impacts the rest of your playthrough based on how you’ve faired in each battle. On top of that, its narrative is powerful and full of emotional moments as you experience the trials and tribulations of a band of Viking-inspired characters.
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King
Blossom Tales is a game that wears its inspirations firmly on its sleeve. Its 16-bit-like art style and top-down viewpoint, as well as its gameplay all heavily hark back to A Link to the Past and that’s a good thing. You’ll make use of items and weapons to solve puzzles and open up new pathways in this story told as a bedtime story within the game’s world.
Another SNES-inspired top-down indie RPG, CrossCode has enamored many gamers who’ve stumbled upon it. Part action RPG, part puzzles, this game takes you on an adventure filled with dungeons to explore and mysteries to uncover. It’s also a challenging game as every item you need to obtain, boss you need to take down, and puzzle you need to solve requires a great deal of patience and perseverance. In some ways, it also feels like you’re playing an MMORPG as its NPCs behave and speak as though they’re actual human players.
If the title SteamWorld looks familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it countless times before, but not in RPG form. This is because the world of SteamWorld has touched on a variety of genres, each with its own unique twist. Hand of Gilgamesh is a card-based RPG that doesn’t follow the rogue-like deck-building formula. Rather, it allows you to permanently upgrade your arsenal of cards, giving you a truer sense of progression.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a JRPG for people who don’t like Japanese art styles. It blends the grungier, more realistic art found in western games with turn-based combat. At the same time, it mixes in a great story and incredibly satisfying combat to create a superb indie RPG experience on the Nintendo Switch.
It’s not an indie RPG list without the game that almost took the Game of the Year award recently. This roguelike action RPG has you take on the role of the son of Hades, lord of the ancient Greek underworld, as he attempts to escape the pit he’s living in to go hang out with the gods of Olympus. What makes Hades superb is its fast-paced and snappy combat. This game also has some of the best voice acting found in an indie game with near limitless voice lines delivered regardless of how often you die. Combat is highly customizable as well with lots of weapons and skills to unlock and combine.
The beauty of the indie market is its wide variety of options. Every title is creatively crafted and focuses on delivering unique experiences. If straightforward, action-based combat is what you prefer, then you can’t go wrong with Hades and Cat Quest 2. If you’d rather get lost in a turn-based game, though, then you absolutely must play Banner Saga, Battle Chasers, and SteamWorld Quest. Finally, if you want to play games that are reminiscent of retro titles, then CrossCode and Blossom Tales are definite standouts.