James, Juan, and Jordan over at SwitchWatchTV love their strategy games. Over the last 3 years, Nintendo Switch owners have been spoiled with loads of great strategy games, both new and old. The guys have put together 15 (+2) of the best strategy games currently available on our favorite hybrid console, and you can check out the video below or continue reading about them here on SwitchWatch.co.uk.
Strategy games have captured our imaginations since the dawn of man, from the ancient Egyptians playing Senet or the Aztecs playing patolli, something about out maneuvering an opponent, board or computer game, is engrossing and deeply satisfying. The problem with such great tactical games is often time fast forward, and the Nintendo switch is the perfect platform for tacticians out there.
The fact that you can play at your own pace and pick up where you left off on the move is attractive, but what are the best strategy games on the platform, you ask? I’m James Romero, and along with Juan and Jordan, I’ve got you covered. We’ve picked our 15 favorite strategy games! Let’s jump in.
James: Kicking things off with my favorite pick, it’s SteamWorld Heist from the illustrious Image & Form.
The SteamWorld series has a wonderful steampunk vibe, and this time it’s back in the form of a turn-based strategy game that has been expertly ported onto the Nintendo Switch, finding its best home, as its great on the TV and equally so on the move.
You play as faraday piper, a space pirate, and along with your team of robots, you roam the galaxy in a space adventure becoming reluctant heroes along the way. The gameplay is deep and rewarding with an excellent aiming mechanic and lots of combos, cover, and strategic decisions to be made.
What makes the game stand out is its viewpoint. Most turn-based strategy games have an isometric camera and grid system, but here everything is flattened to resemble a 2D platformer with levels cleverly laid out across ships and space stations giving us an interesting twist on the cover mechanic and exciting ricochets resulting in everything feeling more real-time than other strategy games. There are countless hours of tactical fun to be had.
As well as outstanding gameplay, the game features a brilliant soundtrack recorded by a steam-powered giraffe, who produced 12 tracks that feature live recorded instruments and singing that works perfectly for this game and really adds to the atmosphere and environment more than we usually receive in this type of game. In fact, the band themselves are featured, popping up as you travel to space bars across the galaxy!
The visuals are equally quirky and vibrant. The complete package is superb making this a solid strategy pick that is fun to enjoy and strikes a balance between strategic depth and ease of play.
Juan: For me, I can’t look past the grandfather of the 4X genre, Civilization. Part VI in this series is one of the best strategy games there is, so when it came to the Switch, it was a surprise and I couldn’t help but wonder how the controls would work and what sacrifices needed to be made to port it. Needless to say, when I reviewed this, I was delighted with the results and gave it an 8.5/10.
The premise remains the same as it’s ever been. Starting out with a small group of settlers at the dawn of man, you work your way through the ages, expanding your empire up until the space faring age. Along the way, each game is different, and what you choose to focus on and indeed which win condition you aim for is up to you.
The classic military domination is satisfying, but you can win through cultural dominance by winning the space race or even through religious unity. This is a huge sandbox full of things to do and explore. It’s such a complete game with lots of menus that the main fear surrounded the controls.
They take a bit of getting used to, I will admit, but once you get the hang of them, they feel natural. In handheld mode, you get the added benefit of being able to use the touchscreen. While the performance is never going to match a high-end PC, it’s fair to say it’s pretty solid, and the fact that there are cartoony and vibrant graphics help the hardware perform well.
The overall presentation is great, and for such a deep game it does a good job of being accessible. There are refreshing changes this time around that make the game a joy to play. Simply put, if you are looking for a game to sink hundreds of hours into, with freedom to play as you wish, this is the one to go for!
Super Robot Wars
Jordan: For my top pick, I’m going to be a bit greedy and shove 3 games together in one slot. On the Switch, there are 3 Super Robot Wars games; T, V, and X, with the former being a brand new entry while the others are slightly older ports.
Oh, my god, are these games just so, so good. Sure, they may not have the depth of strategy you may be looking for, since they are walk in the park in terms of difficulty, but these three games just oooooooze style. They look phenomenal. The battle animations really are the best in the business. It’s really like you’re actually playing an anime with over the top attacks looking absolutely glorious.
Sadly, there are no western releases of these games and possibly never will. However, it is possible to play them in English. V and X can be downloaded from the Japanese eShop with English. But T, the newer one, is a little more tricky, since only the Hong Kong eShop has the game with English. And getting credit for that isn’t easy.
Or you can import them physically on a cartridge, and we will pop some links below as to where you can order them and get a discount. Check out my reviews of all 3 of these games. I highly, highly recommend them. And I’d even include SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays in there too, but that’s 4 games and I’m just being greedy at this point.
Super Robot Wars T
(Chinese cover): https://bit.ly/2ZmWljS
Super Robot Wars V: https://bit.ly/2m44SJ6
Super Robot Wars X
9000¥ eShop credit: https://bit.ly/2GQw7Pw
5000¥ eShop credit: https://bit.ly/2V6VMLG
3000¥ eShop credit: https://bit.ly/2vDMhsd
1000¥ eShop credit: https://bit.ly/2V2bur4
Coupon Code: SWITCHWATCHTV to get 5% off your order!
James: Darkest Dungeon is a game that’s made to make you suffer with its core mechanics of stress, depression, and disease. Right from the get-go, this bleak Victorian world imposes its dark Gothic presence upon you with its grim narration and color palette.
Your aim it is to delve deep into a Manor House which has been taken over by evil. You hire a set of vagabonds turned heroes, and then soon after – oops. They are all dead!
The action takes place as a dungeon crawler strategy RPG complete with character classes, leveling systems, and more. As you push your characters, they become stressed or get ill, and it becomes a strategic challenge to decide which characters to take with you into each raid and how deep to push. Balancing that along with your base camps building and upgrades makes for some tough decisions and forward planning.
In battle, your character’s position plays a pivotal role. Depending on where they stand determines which skills they can use. The different classes are intriguing, and figuring out a solid squad is satisfying. Once you get back to base camp, it’s all about figuring out how best to spend your hard won resources. If a dark, tough experience is what you are after, then look no further.
Juan: Wargroove was an absolute phenomenon when it initially released on the Switch. It really channeled that desire for another entry in Nintendo’s Advance Wars series, and it does a stand up job.
Polished quality in terms of gameplay plus a soundtrack that is amazing. This is one of the must-have games on the Switch, and not only in terms of being indie. This stands toe-to-toe with the big boys of the genre.
It also came with an incredibly affordable price tag. It is also worth noting that it very recently got a physical release with some nice little goodies, including a download for that awesome music I mentioned.
Into the Breach
Jordan: Into the Breach is a turn-based strategy game that has the player defending cities from invaders on miniature style battlefields. What may seem cramped or unambitious to the onlooker is actually one of its biggest strengths as it is just pure, distilled strategy.
It is notoriously tough to master, but you will quickly realize that any defeat is usually of your own making, as you failed to read the situation well. Enemies always show you what they are going to do. Do you have the wits to keep up with them?
It is a brilliant little package that will certainly satisfy those strategy fans with high expectations.
The Escapists 2
James: This sandbox from Mouldy Toof Studios was picked up and published by Team17, and it’s a blast. Escape by any means necessary is your primary objective! After a hilarious intro where you’re character is sipping pina coladas on a beach having escaped from prison, you are dragged back and the game kicks off.
After having tasted freedom, you want it again! Each of the 10 prisons are their own sandboxes complete with dynamic inhabitants that will get into trouble with or without you as they often fight each other, which earns a beating from the guards. They will even attempt to escape and get caught with contraband.
You get to feel as though you are Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption or perhaps Fletch from Porridge is more fitting. The premise of the game is excellent, and the open world nature leaves your mind puzzling over the best location to escape and how to achieve it.
Should you try and dig out, or dress up as a guard and try to walk out? Your mind can work up wonderful plans, and the game will let you work towards them. This is the beauty of the game, and with additional content added, there is now multiplayer and more prisons past the original 10 to enjoy.
Mario & Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Juan: Don’t be fooled by its cutesy look. This is a surprisingly deep strategy game with classes, strengths, weaknesses, and cover mechanics. This type of game is always great on the move for those pick up and play short bursts, and Ubisoft have done a solid job or bringing both franchises character and personality to a solid turn based strategy game.
It’s a perfect intro to strategy games with its style, and it does a great job of easing you in. Once things get going though, don’t expect an easy ride. Some of the latter stages are tough indeed. Co-op is a welcome addition here, and because the pace is quite fast, it’s truly enjoyable.
Valkyria Chronicles 4
Jordan: Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a superb strategy game that is a delight to play and different from other Strategy RPG series. This is a story-driven affair, more so than most strategy game, and it that takes place in an alternate reality during World War 2. The narrative is at its heart, and it plays out like an anime based on European history in between the game’s sprawling, large mapped battles.
In battle is where things really heat up. The game combines turn-based tactics style gameplay using a resource called command points. Once you issue a character with orders, however, you switch to a third-person shooter view that sounds odd on paper but works brilliantly in practice.
As you move, you generally only have one attack, and if you get too close, enemies will fire back. The game is large, and there are more classes than the original PS3 title that this is based on. For those who want to try something a bit different, give this a go. You won’t be disappointed!
Banner Saga Trilogy
James: Starting out life on mobiles, The Banner Saga games are turn-based strategy RPGs inspired by Norse mythology. The game mixes strategic gameplay with text-based decision-making as you lead a caravan against hopeless odds through the end of the world.
It’s a land filled with magic and mysticism. This is not one of those light stories, either. On the contrary, it’s a serious affair that throws you in deep. The different classes have their strengths and weaknesses, and battle takes place on a turn-based grid. Figuring how to deploy and when to use your skills is what this is all about.
Outside of battle, you have a camp to manage, and decisions throughout your run to make that will come back to haunt or save you down the line. The presentation is superb, the visuals are great, and the soundtrack is the perfect backdrop for this one. If you enjoy Norse mythology or are a fan of deep stories, this is one for you.
Mushroom Wars 2
Juan: Mushroom Wars 2 is a real-time strategy game that is simple and satisfying in a pretty basic looking package that is easily overlooked. RTS games are severely lacking on the Switch, and Mushroom Wars 2 distills the genre to its essence.
A good idea, as simple controls are essential in real time! Your objective is to take over all of the mushroom houses with your troops, beating your opponent to the neutral zones and taking them over as well. You have to balance how aggressive you are at sending in your troops against spreading your army too thin and making yourself an easy target.
It sounds simple, but its hard to master and fun to play! As well as a solid campaign, there is a surprisingly fleshed out online offering here with ranks, leagues, and spectator mode, and this all with 1 vs 1 or team vs team.
Fire Emblem Three Houses
Jordan: Fire Emblem Three Houses was made exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, and it shows. Where other strategy games have been tweaked or sacrifices have been made, Three Houses is smooth and perfectly at home. If you are unfamiliar with the series, this is a tactical turn-based strategy RPG set in a large world where you play as a professor in charge of your students fledgling careers. You build relationships, develop their skills, and then send them out to fight.
Its these two halves that make the story so engaging, where other similar games feel like you are taking a small band of warriors to a series of battles, Three Houses feels like you are in a full-blown war with epic proportions. The game is huge and deep with lots to learn and discover in each of the Three Houses playthroughs, and you become attached to your units. The story takes place from month to month, and you can easily get lost and sink hundreds of hours into this one.
James: Disgaea 5 could be the game that I have spent the most time with on the Nintendo Switch. It’s been out for a long time, and yet every now and then I dust it off and boot it up.
The Disgaea Series is known for its quirky anime style and humor that is charming. On the face of it, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s a lighthearted affair, but nothing could be further from the truth. You see, if Mario & Rabbids is a solid strategy game that eases people into the genre, Disgaea 5 is at the other end of the spectrum.
There are reams of menus and tons of mechanics. You can level up weapons, craft enhancing items, and much, much more. The gameplay is silky, classic turn based action that’s enhanced with all manner of complexities, like stacking up your troops and using special combos. It’s deep, it’s huge, and it’s a blast! That is if you are in the market for something heavy going.
Juan: Bad North is a good ol’ viking romp turned RTS that fits very well on the Switch due to its clever controls and slow down mechanic when you select a character. You set out between islands to get your people to safety, defending these citizens from viking invaders.
The battles are short affairs where you control the broad strokes of the battle, giving high level commands to your soldiers who try their best to carry them out in the heat of the moment.
It’s accessibly deep, with simple player inputs masking a dynamic combat simulation that makes it inviting to new players while challenging veterans.
Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble
Jordan: Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble has taken the crown of best Advance Wars style strategy game on the Switch, building on the classic formula of turn-based, grid-style battles where you attempt to outmaneuver your opponent and use the terrain to your advantage.
The first Tiny Metal game was decent, but it’s patched up this time with a whooping 77 skirmish maps, 21 of which are available for intense multiplayer showdowns. There are plenty of unit types with additional Hero and Commander units, to lead into battle across 39 campaign missions. There are new objectives outside of the core to keep things fresh and exciting. All in all, this is an essential purchase!
And there you have our top 15 strategy games on the Nintendo Switch. There are other fantastic titles out there making this a hard list to compile, so what are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!
If you want to check out another list of our top 15 why not have a look at our favorite co-op games? If its your first time here, thank you for stopping by, and why not subscribe to our channel or our newsletter for more lists, reviews, and our weekly eShop sales round up and physical release videos.
Many thanks to you all, and we will see you on the next one. Take care!