The 12 best Nintendo Switch games exclusive to Japan: | GAME3A

The 12 best Nintendo Switch games exclusive to Japan:

Although in recent years, an increasing number of games developed in Japan have been localized for other regions, there are still many that remain exc...

Nancy Ing Sept 01, 2023
The 12 best Nintendo Switch games exclusive to Japan:

Although in recent years, an increasing number of games developed in Japan have been localized for other regions, there are still many that remain exclusive to the country. Some of these titles are also exclusive to the Nintendo Switch console, likely due to its popularity.

Some of these exclusive Nintendo Switch games from Japan are enhanced ports of games that were previously released internationally but did not receive reissues abroad due to poor sales. Others are new entries in long-standing series that were exclusively released in Japan. Some are even new brands that, for some reason, never made it beyond Japan. Many of them are great, but only a few can be considered the best.

Updated on September 1, 2023, by PJ Molloy: 2023 is the year that continues to bring joy to Nintendo Switch owners. Mario returns triumphantly to 2D platformers with Super Mario Bros Wonder, Zelda has blown everyone away with Tears of the Kingdom, and Nintendo has even surprised us with an outstanding HD remaster of Metroid Prime. Unfortunately, with each incredible game that is released, the stack of exclusive Nintendo Switch games from Japan keeps growing, resulting in a diverse collection of interesting and exciting titles that the rest of the world cannot experience. Hopefully, some of these Japan-exclusive Switch games will be localized in the near future, allowing them to captivate new audiences.

12 Assassin's Creed Odyssey

The 12 Best Nintendo Switch Games Exclusive To Japan

It may come as a surprise to hear that Assassin's Creed Odyssey even has a Switch version. This highly acclaimed action RPG was released in 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, offering stunning graphics and a vast open world. It's a wonder that it runs on the Switch, but shockingly, it was never released outside of Japan.

The only downside is that it is a cloud version. It is regrettable that an internet connection is required to play it, but currently, it is the most accessible way for Switch owners to experience this adventure nominated for Game of the Year.

11 Super Robot Wars T

The 12 Best Nintendo Switch Games Exclusive To

If you like mecha anime, you will love Super Robot Wars. It is a tactical RPG series by Bandai Namco where you control huge robots during strategic battles. Think of it as a combination of Fire Emblem or Advance Wars with exaggerated sci-fi anime action.

Unfortunately, the series rarely leaves Japan, and Super Robot Wars T joins the ever-growing list of Switch games available exclusively in Japan. The game combines visual novel segments with fast-paced battles. It even features cameo appearances from famous anime series, such as Spike from Cowboy Bebop.

10 Jake Hunter Detective Story: Prism Of Eyes

The 12 Best Nintendo Switch Games Exclusive

You might remember seeing a few Jake Hunter games on the DS or 3DS, but unfortunately, this detective series is mostly only available in Japan. It is a mystery visual novel series, similar to Ace Attorney, but with a stronger neo-noir tone.

In Detective Story: Prism of Eyes, you play as Jake Hunter, a rough private detective tasked with solving a series of mysteries. You interview witnesses, search for clues, and draw conclusions that lead to the truth. The gripping storyline makes it one of the more fascinating Switch games available exclusively in Japan, with plenty of jazz music and inner monologues to evoke that film-noir feeling.

9 Megaton Musashi

The 12 Best Nintendo Switch Games

When an alien army launches a brutal attack on Earth, it's up to the last remaining survivors to assemble an army of robots and reclaim the planet. Welcome to Megaton Musashi, an exclusive game for the Nintendo Switch that makes you feel like you're immersed in a science-fiction anime.

The game is divided into two parts. You explore beautifully drawn environments and interact with characters during the side-scrolling segments. When you're ready to take on the aliens, you step into a massive mech suit for fast-paced 3D hack-and-slash battles. The game even received an anime adaptation, but unfortunately, it is also only available in Japan.

8 Momotaro Dentetsu: Showa, Heisei, Reiwa Mo Teiban!

The 12 Best Nintendo Switch

The first exclusive Nintendo Switch entry in Konami's Japan-only Momotaro Dentetsu series, Momotaro Dentetsu: Showa, Heisei, Reiwa Mo Teiban!, allows you to travel by air, land, and sea to accumulate wealth through successful business deals while also dealing with rivals you encounter along the way.

Games in the Momotaro Dentetsu series are primarily known for their board game-like gameplay. For people outside of Japan, this gameplay may bear similarities to Monopoly, with which the series is often compared. It has also been compared to the Japanese board game Sugoroku, which has inspired the Mario Party series and mini-games in the Dragon Quest series.

7 Power Pro Kun Pocket R

The 12 Best Nintendo

Power Pro Kun Pocket R is a 2021 remake of the first two games in the Power Pro Kun Pocket Baseball video game series, which were originally released in 1999 and 2000 for the Game Boy Color. The series also evolved from Konami's Jikkyo Powerful Pro Yakyu series, which changed its name to eBaseball: Powerful Pro Yakyu.

Power Pro Kun Pocket R includes a story mode where you recruit and train players, a cooperative multiplayer mode for up to four players, a survival mode, as well as various other game modes and mini-games.

6 Buddy Mission BOND

The 12 Best

Buddy Mission BOND, a game developed by Ruby Party, the predominantly female development team of Koei Tecmo, is a visual novel mystery adventure game where you select two out of four characters to investigate cases by searching for clues and talking to NPCs. Once you have gathered enough information for a case, you can infiltrate the main suspect's base, with the clues you found influencing how you do so.

The main character, Luke Williams, wants to be a hero like his deceased father, who died in the line of duty. To reflect this, the game includes a hero gauge that rises or falls based on your decisions and leads to a score upon completing the mission. It is one of the more intriguing story-based Nintendo Switch games available exclusively in Japan.

5 Pro Yakyuu Famista 2020

The 12

Pro Yakyuu Famista 2020 is a baseball video game developed by Bandai Namco and belongs to the predominantly Japan-exclusive Famista or Family Stadium series. Pro Yakyuu Famista 2020 is exclusive to Nintendo Switch and features 12 professional baseball teams along with selected players from nine additional teams.

However, the most notable feature of the game is the story mode. This mode includes the Namco Stars team, comprised exclusively of Namco characters, such as Pooka from Dig Dug. In the story mode, the team must save the Earth from an alien invasion by playing against them. There is also a mini-game mode for up to four players.

4 Yo-Kai Watch 1 For Nintendo Switch


An enhanced port of the first Yo-Kai Watch game for the Nintendo 3DS, with the literal title "Yo-Kai Watch 1 for Nintendo Switch," was released for the console in October 2019. This occurred four months after the launch of the base version of Yo-Kai Watch 4.

As the game transitioned from Nintendo 3DS to the Switch, this enhanced port includes numerous changes and improvements to the series' debut title. These include updated graphics, voiced dialogue boxes, new control schemes, and online battles against other players. A mobile version called Yo-Kai Watch 1 Smartphone was released in July 2021.

3 Medarot Classics Plus

Medarot Classics Plus is a collection of eight games from the Medarot series, known as Medabots outside of Japan. These titles were originally released between 1997 and 2002 for Game Boy systems. Since most of them had two versions - the Kabuto version and the Kuwagata version - this collection also includes both versions.

The collection includes digital versions of the original manuals, a Meda-album where you can see what you have collected in each game, save states, a speed function that allows you to double, quadruple, or octuple the speed of a game, as well as a skip function that allows you to automatically win battles.

2 Tabe-O-Ja

Do you remember the Anime Fighting Foodons from the early 2000s? Tabe-O-Ja is conceptually similar and also exclusively available in Japan. Tabe-O-Ja is a unique monster fighting game where successfully preparing dishes from various cuisines using the Joy-Con motion controls allows you to summon Tabe-Gami, creatures that reside within each dish.

The better you perform the cooking actions, the better the resulting Tabe-Gami will be, allowing you to add it to your team and summon it to battle against other chefs. Tabe-O-Ja also came with optional Joy-Con peripherals called Ouja Gear and Extract Potion Pepper Ripper to provide an even more immersive gaming experience.

1 Dragon Quest Monsters RETRO

While the Nintendo Switch-exclusive spin-off Dragon Quest Treasures was released worldwide, it is not the only console-exclusive Dragon Quest title. Dragon Quest Monsters RETRO, also known as Dragon Warrior Monsters, is an enhanced port of Dragon Quest Monsters for the Game Boy Color. It was released in the Japanese eShop in September 2019, followed by a smartphone version two months later.

Dragon Quest Monsters RETRO is interesting because it is a port of the original game and not a port of the exclusive remakes for Nintendo 3DS and mobile devices available only in Japan. New features in RETRO include static backgrounds, the ability to play in monochrome or color, as well as overlaying information blocks so that you can always see the status values of your monsters. While it may be a port, it is considered the best among the Switch games available exclusively in Japan.