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Nintendo consoles have always been great if you wanted to play Nintendo’s games. The same hasn’t been true of third-party titles. While the SNES had plenty of third-party support, the consoles that followed were much more spotty.
That is, until the Switch came along. Now there are so many games available for the system that it’s tough to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s why we put together this list of our favorite strategy games for Nintendo’s hybrid console.
The Fire Emblem games have been steadily gaining popularity in the U.S. for years, but Fire Emblem: Three Houses is where the series finally hit the mainstream. Combining turn-based tactical battles with an immersive Persona-style school sim where you teach a ragtag band of kids how to become proper fighters, every ingredient in this video game stew is addictive.
I’m not sure who came up with the idea of “what if we did Xcom, but with Mario?,” then decided the only way to make it better was to add rabbits from Ubisoft’s Rayman series, but I’m glad they did. While things start off easy enough, the difficulty ramps up. You’ll be glad the series is so whimsical when you start getting to the tougher fights.
Take Final Fantasy Tactics, make it funny, then add 15 more different gameplay systems. That’s sort of the Disgaea series in a nutshell. This is the latest entry in the series, originally released for the PlayStation 4. The first and fourth games in the series are also available on the Switch as well.
One of the original 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) games, Sid Meier’s Civilization series has been essential for strategy fans since 1991. While the series’ heart is still on PCs, this sixth installment works surprisingly well on the Switch. Great if you want to grow your empire on your morning commute.
FTL developer Subset Games didn’t dial back the difficulty when crafting their turn-based mecha-strategy game Into the Breach. Each new combat encounter feels like a puzzle to be solved. You can still win the “wrong” way, but getting through a battle unscathed is much more satisfying than just scraping by.
So far, every game on this list has been a turn-based affair where you take your turn, then the enemy takes its turn, and so on. Battlestar Galactica Deadlock is also turn-based, but is instead a set it up and watch it fall apart “WeGo”-style game. You make your plans, as does the enemy, then you watch things play out. This gives battles a more hectic, out of control feeling, which is perfect for the Battlestar Galactica universe.
Like the rest of the Valkyria Chronicles series, the fourth installment is a turn-based affair set in a fictional world during a conflict not entirely unlike World War II (here it’s the Second Europan War). The twist is that when you take control of a character, you’re not moving them on a grid or hexagonal map. Instead, you control the character directly, setting up shots or getting behind cover. The first game is also available on the Switch.
Are you looking at this list and thinking that all of these games seem too “happy?” Well, then the Banner Saga Trilogy is for you. The atmosphere starts out relatively bleak, and things just keep getting worse as you make your way deeper into the series. That said, the addictive gameplay will keep you coming back.
Turn-based tactics games usually take place from either an overhead or isometric point of view. SteamWorld Heist turns that on its side, literally, by using a side-scrolling view similar to what you’d see in a 2D platformer. This leads to some excellent ricochet aiming, which makes this another great entry in the SteamWorld universe.
Looking for More Switch Games?
Are you in the mood for more games for your Nintendo Switch? We’ve got your back. Take a look at our list of fantastic RPGs available for the Switch.