The Switch is a Loot Game Paradise

Nintendo’s handheld has so many good options for Action RPG fans

Nintendo Switch desktop screenshot taken by the author.

If you like to fight enemies, fill up bars, and collect powerful loot for hours on end, the Nintendo Switch is perhaps the most brilliant place to do it. It has so many new and classic examples of the loot-based Action RPG genre that you could fill an entire year just playing this type of game. From timeless legends to smaller modern indie releases, the genre just keeps on giving on Nintendo’s handheld.

The system’s sleep feature also makes it easier to jump in and out of a game than on some of the bigger home consoles, and many of these titles have even been rewritten in order to take advantage of this so that they don’t freak out when they lose their internet connection. Here are some of my favorite loot games on the Switch, in no particular order.

Nintendo Switch screenshot taken by the author.

Diablo III

Every time Blizzard’s 2012 classic Diablo III hits a new platform, I’m impressed all over again. I didn’t think it could hit sixty frames per second way back on the Xbox 360, and yet it did…so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when Blizzard achieved the same thing on the Switch.

The Nintendo Switch port of Diablo III offers the full experience of the game, complete with high resolution visuals and a fast nearly-locked 60FPS frame rate. It bogs down on rare occasions when you’re in a full team of four players and the screen is full of spell effects, but it’s quick to recover and it’s all the more impressive considering how little power the Switch has at its disposal. The load times are also reasonably snappy, and you can fly around the game’s world bashing monsters to your heart’s content nearly as quickly as on the PS4.

Fortunately, the game’s excellent sound design also comes through fully intact on the Switch, and it sounds much better with a nice set of headphones. Some Switch ports sacrifice big on audio quality in order to work better on the machine, but Diablo III’s audio is just as good here as it is on other machines. I think in some ways it benefits from the era of its design, when memory for audio was much less ample.

If you’re looking for the best loot game on the Switch, this is the place to start.

Nintendo Switch screenshot taken by the author.

Torchlight II

Torchlight II is from the same era as Diablo III, and just as they were back in 2012, they’re still going toe-to-toe today. Where Diablo is a high-spirited and breezy adventure, Torchlight II is more technical, with multiple skill trees per character and a greater focus on perfecting your build. Diablo allows you to play fast and loose with your character’s ability focus, but Torchlight II wants you to commit to a play style early on.

Like Diablo, Torchlight II runs at a high resolution and framerate on the Switch, and offers a custom console interface. You’re not losing out on anything by picking the Switch version of the game over the other machines.

You might know that Torchlight III just released on the Switch, but I’d heartily advise you to avoid that one. While it turned out to be a decent game, the Switch version is a bit of a mess. It doesn’t run all that well, especially compared to the speedy response of its predecessor.

Nintendo Switch screenshot taken by the author.

The Borderlands Franchise

As long as you don’t mind stepping down from 60 frames per second to 30, then you can easily enjoy Borderlands 1, 2, and the Pre Sequel on Nintendo’s platform. That’s the only real compromise made in bringing these huge games over to the Switch.

Other than the speed reduction (which might not seem that bad if you last played these games on an Xbox 360 or PS3), every single piece of content in these massive “looter shooters” plays just as well on the Switch as it did elsewhere. And these even get some benefit from the recent remasters that were made for the PS4 and Xbox One, with slightly better texture and audio quality than the original console releases.

I doubt that Borderlands 3 will ever hit the Switch, sadly. That game barely runs on the previous generation of consoles, and it took new machines to really bring out its full performance. Putting the game on Switch would require severe visual changes or perhaps an entire overhaul of the game’s design.

Nintendo Switch screenshot taken by the author.

Warriors Orochi 4

Yes, believe it or not, this gargantuan entry in Koei’s long-running Warriors franchise is also a loot game. The Switch version turned out better than it has any right to for game with almost two hundred playable characters and dozens of hours of gameplay. You’ll pick up hundreds of new weapons and individually power up each character through their own skill progression, and while the game doesn’t quite hit the same performance highs as other versions, it’s still a fast and enjoyable game that stays close enough to its 30FPS target to be fun throughout.

If you like this style of rapid hack and slash game, the recent Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is also a great choice in spite of its similar performance struggles. I’ll have a full review of that one out soon.

Official marketing image, https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/hades-switch/

Bastion/Transistor/Hades

Supergiant’s entire catalog of exemplary Action RPGs is available on the Switch, and like most of the recommendations above, they’re all highly optimized for docked or portable play.

This small studio has been applying their years of game design acumen to hone this genre to a point over the last decade, and all three of these games are perfect examples of timeless mechanics but with new unique features you won’t get anywhere else.

If you’re tired of playing the classics and looking for a new spin on the genre with a fresh illustrated art style, all three of these are must-play Switch games.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Not every loot game on the Switch is a winner. They can’t all be perfect, and sometimes you get a mono-audio-addled mess like Victor Vran, or the ongoing nightmare that is the port of Titan Quest. However, you’ve got so many good choices that it’s easy to find an enjoyable loot grind with just a few clicks around the eShop.

Nintendo’s small console remains a versatile and powerful platform even four years after its launch, and it’s been wonderful to see the work that talented studios have done transferring these huge games onto a svelte portable machine. The quick dopamine-hit gameplay of loot-based action RPGs is perfect for both tiny and lengthy sessions, and as such it’s one of my favorite types of game to experience on the Switch.

I write independent tech, game, music, and audio reviews and analysis from a consumer perspective. Support me directly at https://ko-fi.com/alexrowe

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