The comfortability of a handheld console like the Nintendo Switch makes it the perfect hub for gamers seeking diverse and inclusive experiences. Despite being a six-year-old console, the Switch offers an ever-growing library of games. Today, we choose to highlight those that celebrate queer representation and relationships. You’ll find tactical RPGs, heartfelt narratives, and (lots of) quirky dating sims in this list.
1. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem is a tactical RPG and a masterpiece of storytelling. As a teacher at a prestigious school, you can choose from several same-gender romance options. However, there’s more variety for female protagonists. The wedding scene may disappoint, but the character development and voice acting are top-notch.
2. Life is Strange: True Colors
All Life is Strange games are on Nintendo Switch now, which I highly recommend you sit down and play back-to-back. However, LiS: True Colors was nominated for numerous awards and is the latest release. This story-based game focuses on inclusion and diversity. You make crucial decisions, including the option for a same-sex relationship, in a plot-rich narrative that captivates the LGBTQIA+ community every time.
A challenging platformer with a deep message, Celeste is a visually stunning game that handles LGBTQ+ representation deftly. The director, who is openly non-binary, confirmed the protagonist’s trans identity, making this game a beacon of queer visibility.
Unpacking is a zen game about getting a person’s items out of boxes and arranging them in their new house. It’s not a simulator, though. This unique game tells a touching story through the act of unpacking. With no words, you gradually piece together the protagonist’s life, offering unexpected LGBTQIA+ representation without clichés or plot-defining moments.
It’s Hades, the gritty roguelike game that combines combat with dating sim elements. As Zagreus, you can engage in romantic pursuits with male and/or female characters, collecting keepsakes that aid your progress. The game’s smooth gameplay and engaging story make it a must-play.
6. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley hardly needs an introduction. It’s a chance to live your best farmer life. Cultivate crops, explore mines, and help destroy the corporations threatening this safe haven. Those tasks can burn your daylight, but you can also build relationships with NPCs, including numerous same-sex romance options.
7. Coffee Talk
With a diverse cast of characters, including many queer ones, Coffee Talk creates a cozy atmosphere where players engage in conversations and stories, highlighting the everyday lives and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals.
8. Boyfriend Dungeon
This dungeon crawler lets you date your weapons. It mixes combat and dating sim elements. Despite the misleading title, there are plenty of same-sex dating options. It’s a fun and unique experience that deserves a playthrough.
9. Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods is a hidden gem of a side-scrolling adventure game. In just 9 hours, it combines humor, captivating animation, and multiple dialogue options. Follow Mae as she navigates her return home, and shape your character’s backstory through your choices.
10. If Found…
If Found immerses you in the poignant journey of Kasio, a young transgender woman returning to her roots in the scenic West of Ireland. It’s got some of the most compelling storytelling and inventive gameplay in any visual novel I’ve ever played and offers a coming-of-age experience that is simultaneously comforting and disquieting.
11. Gone Home
As a first-person exploration game, Gone Home provides players with a deep and emotional narrative about a lesbian protagonist and her relationship with her girlfriend. It showcases the importance of queer stories in the gaming industry.
In 2015, indie dev Toby Fox crafted Undertale, a 2D RPG set in a hidden world beneath the Earth’s surface, where monsters were exiled due to a war with humans. This beloved and odd game offers a queer-friendly experience with many endings, including a perfect LGBTQ+ one. Play your cards right, and you’ll uncover the game’s queer narrative.
13. Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
This visual novel and dating sim game breaks new ground by featuring LGBTQ+ relationships, specifically focusing on a gay protagonist’s journey to find love. Dream Daddy offers a heartwarming and humorous take on dating as a queer dad.
14. Arcadia Fallen
Arcadia Fallen is a welcoming visual novel set in a Nordic-inspired fantasy realm. As an apprentice alchemist caught in a fateful encounter, you embark on a journey alongside a group of five companions, with four of them open to romantic entanglements. You’ll be able to date them regardless of gender. While romance isn’t the central focus, it adds a delightful layer to the overall experience.
15. A Normal Lost Phone
This unique game explores an LGBTQ+ story by discovering a lost phone. Players uncover personal messages and secrets, uncovering a thought-provoking narrative that sheds light on the experiences of different queer people.
16. Long Story
As a visual novel, Long Story stands out for its LGBTQ+ representation. It’s set in middle school and tracks a high school student returning from a year in France. As the main character, you can navigate complex relationships and experiences that resonate with queer audiences.
17. Monster Prom
In Monster Prom, you step into the shoes of a student at Spooky High and select your ideal date from a pool of six different monsters. You’re trying to secure a prom date at this monster-filled high school in just three weeks. This quirky dating sim embraces LGBTQ+ relationships with humor and charm. It’s a testament to how video games can make space for queer stories without taking themselves too seriously.
Ikenfell lets you take command of Mariette, a non-magical girl on a quest to find her vanished sister, Safina. With its dynamic 2.5D visuals and gameplay driven by timed button presses, the fate of characters and enemies hangs in the balance. This RPG seamlessly incorporates LGBTQ+ characters and relationships into its magical world, emphasizing that queerness is a natural part of any setting and should be celebrated.
Studio Pixel Punk developed a game that combines elements of Metroidvania and Souls-like games, offering a top-down perspective and a rich and varied combat system. Unsighted revolves around Alma, a queer woman android, embarking on a mission to reunite with her imperiled girlfriend.
Related: Best LGBTQ+ Games For Pride Month
20. Neo Cab
Neo Cab not only features queer characters but also explores themes of identity and connection in a dystopian future. You get to play as Lina, the sole human cabbie left in the California city of Los Ojos. It’s a game that offers a nuanced portrayal of LGBTQ+ individuals navigating a complex world.
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