Most were skeptical when a crossover between Ubisoft’s Rabbids and Mario was rumored to be in the works. However, Mario + Rabbids has proven to be an excellent tactical RPG series that leans into the madness between the two series.
Following the success of the first game and its DLC, the sequel, Sparks of Hope, adds more characters and newer challenges. If you’ve beaten this game and are looking for more tactical games to scratch that itch, there are plenty of others that will keep you playing for hours to come.
9/9 Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
If you’ve gotten into Sparks of Hope and haven’t played the first game, this is your reason to do so immediately. The first game released in 2017: the launch year of the Nintendo Switch. It had a lot to prove, as people weren’t into Rabbids at the time. However, Ubisoft knocked it out of the park.
The gameplay is refined, the character crossover was fun, the visuals were nice and cartoony, and the music was composed by industry veteran, Grant Kirkhope. The game also received a DLC where you can play as Donkey Kong and Rabbid Cranky Kong which further enhanced the base game. The game is cheap to pick up and is a must if you haven’t.
8/9 Into the breach
Tactical RPGs can be an acquired taste, but even people who aren’t fans of the genre agree that Into the Breach is something special. What seems like an unassuming strategy game at first glance is one of the most accessible, engaging and fun strategy games on the market. The developers also released a massive update for the game to add new content and improvements at no cost.
Your task is to protect the world from aliens using futuristic mechanisms. Every attack from your opponent is well telegraphed, meaning the trick is to think three steps ahead and counter your enemies with every move.
7/9 Mario And Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions
It’s a shame that Alphadream, the developers behind the Mario and Luigi series, went out of business years ago. Fans of more thoughtful but fun RPGs were captivated by these games. The last game from this team was Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, which is a remake of the original game on the GameBoy Advance.
Translating the Mario games into turn-based RPGs while incorporating platforming elements was no easy task, but the developers pulled it off. The 3DS version also includes an extra mode where you get to play as (you guessed it) Bowser’s minion.
6/9 Divinity Original Sin 2
If you finished Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and realized you’re in love with the genre and want to dive in and experience the full scope of it, Divinity Original Sin 2 needs to be your next game. If Dungeons & Dragons were translated into a video game, this would be the result.
The level of options, dialogue, characters and variations you can encounter are so many that it’s terrifying just to think about it. Divinity Original Sin 2 can keep you busy for hundreds of hours across multiple playthroughs, and you can party with your friends to embark on this unique adventure.
5/9 Triangle strategy
Square Enix has spared no expense in pumping out all sorts of smaller, tertiary RPGs for those who want a more standalone experience. Triangle Strategy is one of the newest games along these lines. This is a tactical RPG using the HD-2D style developed by Octopath Traveler.
While many have complained that the story can be a bit complicated and long-winded, most agree that the gameplay more than carries it to the end. Be warned though, as Triangle Strategy is tougher than most tactical games, so you’ll need to master the mechanics to come out on top.
4/9 Digimon survive
Many assumed that Digimon remained a product of the 90s, forever playing second fiddle to Pokémon. While nowhere near Game Freak’s monster of an IP, the Digimon franchise still has its diehard fans, and Digimon Survive is a great entry.
This game is a mix between a tactical RPG and a visual novel. However, your actions and choices in the story will not only affect how it unfolds, but also how your Digimon will Digivolve, leading to immense replay value. The game was praised for its much more mature storytelling than some of its contemporaries.
3/9 King’s Bounty: The Legend
King’s Bounty: The Legend is an older game, but that doesn’t take away from its many charms. It has the classic World of Warcraft look, which gives it its own nostalgic identity. The game puts you in the role of a commander who goes through a fantasy world to search for treasures and hunt monsters.
When you enter combat, the game switches to a tactical role-playing game where you are in command of your troops. There are a huge number of creatures to call into battle, so no two armies will look the same. The game is also filled with content, which means it will keep you busy for a long time.
2/9 The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga games look like nothing in the tactical RPG space. Where many of them are based in fantasy worlds and combined with JRPGs, this one has a watercolor style and puts you in control of Vikings. It strikes a balance between having a mature story and at the same time using an art style that elevates it to an epic myth.
Your actions in battle will affect how the rest of the game plays out. Perhaps the most interesting hook for The Banner Saga is that it is the first installment in a connected trilogy. Your progress flows from one game to the next, meaning the entire saga is meant to be a single experience.
1/9 Advance warrior
Many of the best indie games were released by fans who wanted a certain game and a publisher that didn’t deliver. Nintendo, except for abandoning Advance Wars, led to many popular tactical games. However, there’s never been a better time to revisit Nintendo’s GBA cult classic.
It’s simple, but packed with enough subtle details and mechanics that it’s hard not to get engrossed. As with most GBA games, Advance Wars also features some of the best pixel art produced in the industry.
Next: The best strategy games on Nintendo Switch (according to Metacritic)