2021 was a strong year for RPGs, with several titles big and small coming out to satiate the masses. Of all of the genres, it is one of my favourites, as these games can be as simplistic or complex as you want them to be. And while there were plenty of big RPGs that didn’t release on the Switch this year, such as Scarlet Nexus or Tales of Arise, the Switch still had some heavy hitters that are must-tries for fans of the genre.
Now, while I have not personally have played all of these games, all of these games have drawn in positive reception from fans. And while this is by no means an exhaustive list, this should be a good jumping point for those curious about this year’s RPG releases.
So without further ado, here are some of the best RPGs on the Nintendo Switch for 2021!
Monster Hunter Stories 2
Alongside Monster Hunter Rise, Capcom also released the second game in the Monster Hunter Stories 2 series. Unlike its multiplayer action counterpart, Stories is a turn-based monster battler where you act as a Rider who wishes to work alongside monsters to help people. But life is never quite that simple, as Rathalos, the harbinger of destruction has awoken. It’s up to you to find Rathalos and take it under your wing before others seek out the dragon of destruction.
Monster Hunter Stories 2 offers the same turn-based combat seen in the first Stories game, but with updates such as battling alongside other Riders. You can even use your Kinship skills together to launch devastating attacks. And the visuals for the game are just as beautiful, a huge jump from its 3DS predecessor.
Check out our review for Monster Hunter Stories 2 here.
Shin Megami Tensei V
Ever since Shin Megami Tensei V was announced back in 2017, it had been anticipated by fans of the series. And after the long four-year wait, Shin Megami Tensei V lived up to those lofty expectations and blew the series out of the water. The press-turn battle system makes a return once again and it’s just as satisfying to take advantage of (or frightening if your enemy does the same).
The vast open-world of new Tokyo is a daunting yet exciting world to explore. The sleek styling of the characters and the UI is also beautiful to take in. This game has been in development for a while and it definitely looks the part. Although be prepared to grind and strategize, as SMT is a game where the tides can change in an instant.
Dodgeball Academia is almost like stepping into a shonen anime. With the power of friendship, your trusty dodgeball, and the power within, you must aim to be the best dodgeball player you can be. Unlock a plethora of characters, each with their own powers and skills to round out your team. With the dodgeball matches happening in real-time, you’ll need to stay on your toes and dodge attacks coming your way as you throw dodgeballs. Matches can be finished in an instant, so you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled.
Indie RPGs are offering new experiences that we don’t tend to see often from bigger developers, and so it’s easy to miss some of these games. With its polished graphics, fun gameplay, and fun characters, Dodgeball Academia is lots of fun to be had.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy
If you have followed LadiesGamers you won’t be surprised at this title. A JRPG that combines synthesising with exploration and battles; the RPG element is unmistakable. Atelier Ryza 2 is the last game in a long series, and the best one to date. It is the most complete of them all, taking a huge step in adding more sim elements. It tells the story of Ryza who leaves her childhood home and journeys to the big city, to reconnect with the friends of her youth and to set up a successful Atelier doing Alchemy. Soon, mystery presents itself in the form of a lovely flying creature that follows Ryza everywhere she goes. Will the answer be found in the dungeons where the party of friends find lots of monsters to battle and memories to uncover?
The storyline is great, the added mysteries in the dungeons bring added interest and the world to explore is so big! Interested? Our review is here.
Bravely Default II
This was one of the few curveballs that Square Enix had thrown at their fanbase was the announcement and release of Bravely Default II. A standalone title in the series, Bravely Default II is the tale of four heroes who have been blessed by the world’s elemental crystals. With the crystals scattered into the wind, they must do everything they can to collect the crystals before the seal to the Night’s Nexus is broken.
The series’ combat staples, brave and default, make their return and encourage players to play strategically. Spend your brave points wisely, as sometimes you’ll need that extra turn or two if things take a trip south. Likewise, if you can smell victory coming, maybe you’ll want to spend those points to finish the battle quickly before the enemy has a chance to come back from behind.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox
As anyone who has played a Ys title knows, these stories are all about how much trouble Adol can get into and then out of before the game is over. In this case, Adol has come to a massive city with Dogi and immediately ends up arrested. After breaking out of prison, poor Adol is immediately cursed by a mysterious woman named Aprilis who wants him to protect her city from Monsters. He gains powers but becomes a hunted man who can no longer leave the city.
As you can expect from an Ys game, the quality is high. With thoughtful character design, decent music, JRPG-stylized costumes, and a massive and pretty city to explore. This game is highly stylized and full of life. The vast majority of the other cursed so-called Monstrums that are locked in the city with you are compelling humans with full lives. All with thoughts, feelings, character arcs, and you can truly fall in love with all of them. There is questing and real time combat, that is simple to learn and incredible interesting. You don’t have to know the earlier games, this one is as good an entry as any. If you want to read more about it, our review is here.
Persona 5 Strikers
While Persona 5 still hasn’t made an appearance on the Switch, its sequel has for those curious about the series. As this game is a sequel, those who haven’t played Persona 5 may be a bit confused as to the characters and setting of the game. Strange occurrences are happening once again in Tokyo, with the Phantom Thieves suspected due to past events. It’s up to you to figure out what’s going on and bring the culprit to justice.
Unlike Persona 5, Strikers is more of an action page, thanks in part to Omega Force and P-Studio. The gameplay is a hack and slash, with you controlling the characters and slashing through waves of enemies. However, some of that Persona charm is still present. You still have your skills and all of the demons have their own weaknesses that you’ll need to take advantage of in order to remain on top.
The visuals are another amazing point to Persona 5 Strikers, with the styling matching the first game almost to the T. For fans of Persona 5, it’s a nice nod and helps to keep the two games connected.
Check out our review of Persona 5 Strikers (for Steam) here.
NEO: The World Ends With You
Another shocking reveal by Square Enix was this new game in the TWEWY series. Another standalone title, NEO: The World Ends With You takes place in Shibuya. What was supposed to just be a regular day turns into a strange outing as you are drawn into the so-called Reaper’s Game. And with that, you have to fight through monsters known as the Noise in order to win the game and go free.
The combat for NEO: The World Ends With You is real-time action-based, with you using your different “pins” to chain attacks. And there are a variety of pins to collect, allowing for a nice amount of customization. And on top of that, each character has their own flow in combat, encouraging players to experiment and try different combinations to see what works best for them.
Pokemon Brillant Diamond / Shining Pearl
As the first mainline Pokemon game not developed by Game Freak, Pokemon BD/SP is a solid addition to the remakes. While it is a straight remake, with very few changes made. Nevertheless, it’s a decent pick up for those two who were unable to play through the original Sinnoh games. Compared to other RPGs on the Switch, it may not stand out, but it is a tried and true turn-based RPG.
As a young trainer just starting out on their adventure. You’ll come across Team Galactic and their leader Cyrus, who are up to no good in their pursuit to bring about a new world utopia. With your friends and Professor Rowan by your side, figure out their dastardly plans and become a Pokemon Master in the meantime.
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars
While seemingly much smaller than some of Yoko Taro’s other games, Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars is an addicting turn-based RPG where the entire world is comprised of cards. However, don’t let its seemingly simple appearance let you think that it’s not interesting. The world is just as compelling, slowly revealing its secrets as you unveil the entire world with each step. But stay on your toes, as enemies will appear as random encounters when you least expect it.
Battles are turn-based and you will select one action to perform each turn. You will get five characters to choose from to make your party and as you traverse through the lands of Voice of Cards, you’ll find that there are dark secrets being hidden. While you may want to just stick to the path laid out to you, it may come in our favour to explore around the world a bit.
Check out our Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars Review (for Steam) here.