[Top 10] Best RTS Games for Nintendo Switch (Ranked Fun To Most Fun)

RTS games on theNintendo Switch? You bet!

Real-time strategy games are not exactly a dime a dozen on Nintendo switch. Even within the limited genre that is strategy, you'll have to painstakingly dig through an imposing mountain of turn-based games to a pure RTS, let alone a good one. However, in this mountain's heart lie diamonds. Here are ten of them.


10. This War of Mine

Beautifully melancholic

Let's begin with a game whose low position on this comes solely from it not entirely conforming to the RTS formula. This War of Mine is a sidescroller tactical simulator of the grim experience the common man is likely to have in a war.

The fundamental mechanics are elegantly simple and intuitive. As a consequence, when the core aspect of the game, decision-making, comes up, it feels approachable and realistic. The dilemmas themselves are challenging, with time frequently also working against you.

However, you don't arrive at the decision through game knowledge as much as the combination of your own moral compass and your survival instinct. And This War of Mine will put both of them to the test.

Typically, in RTS games and any other genre that depicts war, the player takes the place of a hero (or hero in the making). The tragedy and hardship take the backseat in favor of larger-than-life characters and epic scenes.

This War of Mine flips that trend on its head. With its fittingly atmospheric art style, heartbreaking storytelling, and realistic mechanics, it fully immerses you into the role of those people who suffer the most in a war.

9. Ancestors Legacy

A viking-themed game. Definatelly the only one on this list...

Alright, but heroism and glory are a staple of RTS for a reason. And what better setting for both of those than the Viking raids of the middle ages. Loosely based on historical fact, Ancestors Legacy lets you play as Anglo-Saxons, Slavs, Germans, and, of course, Vikings!

Very similarly to established RTS titles on the PC, this game allows you to build and command formations of units in battle while maintaining an economy through base-building mechanics. Unit combat revolves around a rock-paper-scissors system (spears counter cavalry, cavalry counters archers, archer counter spears, etc.). Included are campaigns for each faction and a skirmish mode.

Although the basic game mechanics are quite simple and not exactly original, Ancestor Legacy goes out of its way to create plenty of opportunities for the player to be creative. Tactics-wise you can use tall brushes as cover to ambush your enemy or take engagements from the high ground.

Strategy-wise you can perform elegant flanking maneuvers or something as ingenious as setting fire to a village as a distraction to pull your enemy's attention from the real target. A particular point of praise is the integration of the tutorial into the first campaign missions. The player is taught the mechanics seamlessly through natural mission objectives and curated events.

RTS developers, take notes!

8. Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Conquering a planet with cute tiny creatures

And now for something completely different. At least in tone, in the cutesy, but nevertheless challenging latest installment to the Pikmin game series. An installment that brings back everything fans of the series have come to love and adds to it.

The premise of each game in the series is that you play as a tiny alien astronaut, crash-landing in a semi-alien world. There you employ the help of a species called Pikmin (even tinier than you) who look like half-grown plants but act like ants. Under your command, the Pikmin take on environmental puzzles and hostile creatures alike.

With each victory, you help the Pikmin population grow and you might unlock a different type. The end goal of the story mode is to recover all your ship parts and there is a challenge mode where you can hunt high scores and face challenges.

The same brilliant and minimalist game design of the Pikmin series revolves around utilizing the rising Pikmin numbers and the different types as tools to solve creative and intuitive puzzles and best the enemies in your path.

Enemies that range from one-shot-able to imposing bosses. The player experience is mostly relaxed, with frequent peaks of satisfaction at your own creativity and gratitude foryour Pimin's help. The games' stated objective might be to gather ship parts, but you'll probably lose yourself taking care of your ever more numerous gaggle of cute creatures.

Just make sure to bring them back home every night.


7. Prison Architect

If you ask me, it's an RTS. You just have to keep people in your base instead of out.

To any Rimworld or Dwarf Fortress players, think of the same concept, but the objective is to keep everyone penned in more so than keeping them alive. Oh, and you have to make a profit out of it. For the rest of us, Prison Architect is a sandbox prison owner/warden simulator.

You have full control of the prison equipment once you purchase it, but not of the guards and definitely not the prisoners. Each prisoner comes with a random selection of traits dictating their behavior and most importantly, how they will attempt to escape.

A prisoner with the “smart” trait might try and dig a secret tunnel, while one with the “violent” trait might attempt to start a riot.

Prison Architect is a game that rewards long-term strategy as much as quick thinking. After all, building the prison with a layout that accommodates future expansion and making long-term profit is as important as dealing with a riot or sabotage.

The game truly shines in how much freedom the player has in choosing the way to achieve those goals. For example, you can build one big fortress of a compound or a series of interconnected sections. You can make a profit by taking advantage of the prisoners' labor, or just build solar panels to sell excess energy. You can create an elaborate system of surveillance and security to prevent riots from ever happening or just accept them and set up countermeasures.

In the end, the truly skilled player will combine different approaches in search of peak efficiency.


6. Bad North

Oh look, another Viking-themed game. What are the odds?

Bad North is a highly stylized RTS centered around defending an island from enemy waves arriving by sea. Then you move on to the next randomly generated island in a rogue-like structure until you are defeated.

The gameplay consists of repositioning your 2 to 4 commanders and their block of troops into a grid to best defend against the incoming attacks while gradually upgrading and specializing them.

Bad North is at the same time simple, serene, and unforgiving. You start each playthrough with 2 commanders and may recruit up to 2 more, so protecting them is almost as important as defending the island itself.

The upside of this mechanic is that you become strongly connected to your troops and every rogue-like adventure feels like a team effort despite its single-player nature. The possible downside is the likely scenario where you lose one of your commanders early on, dooming you to a low performance at the end of the playthrough.

However, the simple and approaching mechanics of the battles make catastrophic early mistakes easily avoidable for a veteran of a couple of playthroughs. Plus, even if you do get a rough start on a run, we RTS players do enjoy an unfair struggle against the odds every now and again, don't we?


5. Element

If you spit the spherical map enough, your enemies might get dizzy.

A real-time strategy space game for people who don't have time to play real-time strategy space games is how the developer, Flightless, describes Element and that's exactly what it is.

The premise is that the Solar system has run out of resources, forcing you to travel to a neighboring system. There you find a series of mineral-rich planets, but you are not alone. Each level/mining expedition is contested by a rival and in the later stages of the game, you find yourself landing on a mostly occupied planet.

The goal is to accumulate more resources than the enemy and then destroy their base. To achieve that, you have at your disposal three types of units: land, sea, and air. In a typical rock-paper-scissors mechanic, air beats land, land beats sea, and sea beats air.

While there are no upgrades, each unit can be deployed in one of three different tiers of strength, with cost scaling accordingly. Finally, you can launch ballistic missiles at your enemy and send drones to repair your buildings.

An RTS-lite, if you like, Element ranks low in complexity but high on enjoyment and originality. Sure, the mechanics may seem too simplistic at first, but Element makes up for it with a quick pace and systems unique to the RTS genre.

For example, units are not recruited from a building but rather deployed straight into the battlefield. Just select a land, sea, or air tile and you can deploy the corresponding unit type. Additionally, the map is highly stylized and spherical, which is a brilliant way to make it feel larger by restricting vision.

In conclusion, Element is a perfect stepping-on point for those new to the RTS genre and a pleasant relaxing break for veterans.


4.Cities Skylines

Can't be an RTS without an enemy, you say? Why, my good sir, inescapable entropy is the greatest enemy of all.

Enough about simple and challenging, let's jump into an intriguingly complex sandbox game. Cities Skylines is a game with such complex and deep mechanics that it beggars belief how they were adapted to the Nintendo Switch control scheme. But adapted they have been.

The goal of Cities Skylines is simple: build a city and deal with the mounting complexity of an ever-growing population. A full breakdown of the mechanics would be impossible in this format, but suffice to say that no aspect of large-scale city planning goes unexplored.

From zone designation, road building, public transportation, waste disposal, power grid, hospitals, parks, and so, so much more, you'll find yourself criticizing your real-life city's design in no time.

The mechanical depth of Cities Skylines might be too much for most players, but that's only because they are unaware of just how elegantly each mechanic is introduced. Since you start off with a mere handful of residents, you only need trouble yourself with the most simplistic of needs first. Lay down a few lanes of road, designate a residential zone, and done!

Then you get a notification that the newly sprung-up houses need water and electricity. You solve that, now they need waste disposal. Your town grows a bit, now you need to designate a commercial zone. You get the idea.

The problems arise one by one, introducing you to the mechanics in increments with the assistance of a system where you unlock equipment with each population milestone. What need does a village have for an airport after all?

So, even in your first playthrough, you are unlikely to lead your city to disaster any time soon. Oh, sure, you will run into issues, but that's the point! Besides, the game does a great job at alerting you to both upcoming and pressing issues followed by a slight nod towards the solution.

Try Cities Skylines, and you will lose yourself in highway junction designs in no time.


3. Mini Metro


Wait a minute. The Nintendo Switch is also a mobile device.

Alright, one last dive into the simplistic yet oddly satisfying side of RTS. Mini Metro offers what the name suggests. Nothing more, nothing less. You create your own underground public railway network, in a setup that every fellow city-dweller will recognize. A metro map, as found on the real underground networks.

Your goal is to connect stations in the most efficient ways possible. Each level includes progressively more stations and trains. Additionally, you are eventually given multiple lines, represented by different colors. The challenge lies in selecting which stations to service with which lines and where to intersect them.

Fittingly enough, Mini Metro is an ideal game to pass the time on public transport. It starts off as unapologetically beginner-friendly but does call in on tour creative thinking eventually. For me, the fun begins with the introduction of the additional lines.

Theoretically, a handful of stations and two metro lines can lead to a dozen different layouts. You are called to use your common sense thinking to pick out the practical ones. A task oddly satisfying, especially on the later levels.


2. Arena of Valor

Just remember the golden rule of MOBAs: Stay away from ranked!

Arena of Valor is thus far the only MOBA game on Nintendo Switch and that alone puts it on this list for me (bittersweet League of Legends ranked memories...). In case you've been living under a rock, here's a summary of what a MOBA is. Hey, no judging. We all need the safety of the underside of a nice rock sometimes.

In a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) you age given control of a hero and placed in a team with four other players and against a team of five others. The ultimate goal is to destroy the enemy base, but not before gradually disposing of their outer defenses. It's a race for power between the heroes of the two teams, meaning it's a race for gold (for items) and exp (for levels).

The main sources for both are the same: neutral monsters and enemy heroes. They both respawn when slain, though obviously killing enemy heroes also creates openings to contest objectives on the map.

The experience of playing a MOBA is also widely known. Myself, as someone with a respectable (or unhealthy...) amount of hours invested in League of Legends, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to relive that experience on the Switch. Whether you play with friends or randoms, normal or ranked game mode, no other sub-genre of RTS can blend ease of access and competitiveness as MOBAS.

So, in Arena of Valor, you can expect an easy-to-grasp range of mechanics but endless potential for improvement, thanks to the interconnectivity of said mechanics and the multiplayer element.


1. Northgard

Why are there so many Viking-themed RTS games on the Switch? Leave your theories in the comments.

What's with all the Viking-themed RTS games on the Nintendo Switch you ask? No idea. But it's freaking awesome! Especially this entry: Northgard. A game that sits comfortably on the top of this list. I don't know what kind of sacrifices to Thor and Odin these developers had to make in order to create an Age of Empires-like RTS that runs and controls smoothly on the Switch but they did.

There are two major deviations from a game like Age of Empires. First, the way to get more people into your clan is by keeping the existing ones fed, warm, and happy, so they can in turn create new members, Second is the presence of hostile wildlife that goes beyond the odd mildly inconvenient wolf or even the exp farms of Warcraft 3. Here you can expect animals and monsters to both be a roadblock to your expansion and a threat to your base.

From the campaign to the single-player battle modes, Northgard is a blast, with the former beautifully showcasing the game's stylized graphics and cutscenes all the while teaching you the ropes, and the latter truly putting your full skillset to the test.

The campaign is heavy on story, which I won't spoil here, but it does begin with the search for a stolen regal horn with complications along the way. The game's art style here serves to effectively emerge you into this experience. The skirmish mode offers endless replayability with a customizable setup, procedurally generated maps, and multiple ways to achieve victory.

All and all, Northgard is the fundamental RTS experience you never ever thought to expect on the Nintendo Switch.


You may also be interested in:

Top 10 Best Nintendo Switch Party Games

[Top 10] Best Nintendo Switch Beat Em Up Games

[Top 5] Best Nintendo Fighting Games That Are Excellent

I will mod single player games until they break and I will farm salt in multiplayer. In the meantime, let me tell you something interesting.
Gamer Since: 2012
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Stellaris, Mass Recall
Top 3 Favorite Games:Stellaris, League of Legends, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty