So I’ve been messing around with my Steam Deck for almost a couple months now and while I do not think I’m at the point where I can provide a proper, full review – I have played enough to come up with a personal top 10 JRPG list. These are JRPGs I have covered for the channel before and have tested on the Deck to see if they work. I’ll include review links for each of these in the description – so do check them out if you are interested. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Rune Factory 4 Special
Okay so this is one of the first JRPGs that popped into my mind for being perfect on the Steam Deck – granted, it has a bit of a history being a portable game given its original 3DS release. Regardless, Rune Factory 4 Special really surprised me. I expected something like Harvest Moon, but got so much more than that.
It maintains that same laidback and fun gameplay, but has a ton of depth behind it, plenty of character interaction (including marriage), and the PC port is really well-done too. I have spent hours on this game, tending to my little fantasy farm, exploring the wilderness for new friends and dungeons, and participating in all of the fun town events. The story may not be all that interesting, but on the Steam Deck, this is a solid pickup that works flawlessly outside of needing the on-screen keyboard for any keyboard prompts.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters
What better way to celebrate JRPGs on the Steam Deck than to play the classics. Final Fantasy 1-6 just received some fantastic new pixel remasters and it has never been a better time to get into the series. Each game offers up a large world to explore, a killer soundtrack, and a simple, yet fun combat system. The later ones even offer up a decent story too, even if aged a bit.
That and I am a really big fan of the Pixel Remaster aesthetic. It doesn’t go overboard like some other remasters of these games do, but rather maintains that distinct classic look, just updated for modern platforms and with some nice quality of life changes too. Yet another good pickup for the Deck, especially if you’re looking to play some of the JRPGs that defined the genre. Just like Rune Factory, this one also may require the on-screen keyboard if any keyboard prompts pop up.
Ys 8: Lacrimosa of DANA
I love the Ys series, and Lacrimosa of Dana is a testament as to why – it was actually my personal game of the year back in 2018. Fast-paced and fun combat with a bunch of cool skills to use, an interesting dual-perspective story (even if the characters are a bit flat), and a mountain of content to wade through that doesn’t feel like filler. Wrap that all up in arguably one of the best JRPG soundtracks of the past decade and you’ve got quite the package – one that plays well on the deck and works 100% right out of the box without me needing to change any settings.
Disgaea 5 Complete
So Disgaea was one of the first series I considered when the Deck was announced. I mean, the series is literally begging to be played on the go and has done pretty well on Switch, so I was excited to check it out. Disgaea 5 Complete is listed as “unsupported” by Valve, but I installed it anyways and surprisingly found no issues with it. Maybe I got lucky, maybe I’m missing something, but I had no problems hopping right into my post-game save and messing around in some levels.
The tactics combat is just as fun as I remember it was and the amount of depth here paves the way for an easy 100+ hour game if you really get into it. Do give it a look if you’re a tactics fan.
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout
As a massive Atelier fan, of course I had to include one on this list. I just so happened to pick Ryza, which is not only a solid entry in the series, but perhaps the best starting point for someone new to Atelier. It looks great, has a fun, action-oriented twist on the classic combat system, and of course, a crafting system that is beyond anything I have seen in any other JRPG. It’s simple to get into, but hard to master and there is a lot to like here if you’re in the mood for a nice, laidback JRPG experience.
On the Deck, this was actually the most taxing game I’ve tried so far. I had to turn down some settings and drop the resolution from 720 to 600 and while it was not a constant 60 fps, it is definitely playable – only other thing you need is on-screen keyboard and mouse to mess with the launcher. Otherwise, fun game.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
Don’t get me wrong – Monster Hunter Rise is great – but honestly, if I had to pick one for the Deck, I’d have to go with Stories 2. There’s just something about this laidback, colorful game that I couldn’t help but like. Its combat is turn-based – very different from the series usual – but it is still fast and very fun, collecting monsters is just as fun, and the overall world design and aesthetic are really nice and with some nice tunes to match.
This was one of the first games I wanted to check out on the Deck and I’m glad I did – it runs practically flawlessly at 60fps after I set the resolution to 720p and is a far better offering than the sub 30 fps version available on the Switch.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin retails for $60 USD on Steam, but you can get a copy cheaper through my Gamesplanet partner link.
I was honestly not expecting this one to work so well, so I was very surprised to boot it up and have absolutely 0 issues. Solid frames, solid graphics – Scarlet Nexus is a great JRPG from last year that plays well on the Deck and is just a good game on its own. Yeah the story may be a miss, but the combat with its dual melee and psychic powers combo was really cool and works a lot better than what I was expecting prior to the game’s release. It’s an edgy one for sure, but a fun one worth a look on the Deck.
Scarlet Nexus retails for $60 USD on Steam, but you can get a copy cheaper through my Gamesplanet partner link.
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate
So this is the only dungeon crawler we have on Steam that is actually from the Mystery Dungeon series. If you’re familiar with that series then you’ll know it’s pretty much the perfect fit for the Steam Deck. It’s a top-down roguelike where you explore dungeons, find cool items, upgrade your gear, and attempt to reach the top floor and beyond. There is a TON of stuff to this game that is not really explained, but it’s a lot of fun poking around and figuring out how it works – even if the difficulty might be a bit much for some.
This one was unverified on the deck and I had to disable the opening movie and change controller to Xbox layout in the launcher before it would work, but after that point – no issues to report and I’d recommend it if you’re a dungeon crawler guy.
Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX
Now here’s a JRPG you probably don’t see people talk about a lot. Originally releasing on the PlayStation over twenty years ago, both Monster Rancher 1 and 2 found their way to Steam as a bundled remaster just five months ago and if you’re a fan of monster collecting games – this is a great retro pick. You get to spawn your monsters from music CDs, train them up into these monstrous battle machines, and win tournament after tournament before your monster eventually dies and you have to continue from there with another one.
It is VERY grindy, but satisfying enough for the genre and works right out of the box with the Steam Deck – there are even touch controls if you want to go that route.
Super Robot Wars 30
If Disgaea isn’t your thing, then hopefully mechs are because Super Robot Wars 30 is also on Steam and is a solid pick for tactics fans, especially so given that the gameplay is pretty much perfect for an on-the-go experience and it runs 100% fine on the Steam Deck. This is the first time a main game from the series has ever been released in the west – nearly 30 years later at that – and having reviewed it late last year, I had a good time with it. The tactics elements are simple, yet offer up a decent amount of depth and the sheer amount of mecha fanservice here is A LOT and even I – an experience mecha fan – had a couple I did not recognize here.
It’s one of those tactics JRPGs that can easily take you 100+ hours to clear, so do give it a look if you want one that will stick with you for a while.
And that’ll wrap up this quick list that I threw together in like three days. It’s been fun trying out all of these JRPGs on the Deck and I’m excited to see if this thing really takes off. Next up I’ll probably take a look at visual novels, so do subscribe and be on the lookout for that one and maybe a review eventually on the actual hardware. Anyways, thanks for watching – see you guys in the next one.