Looking for the best games like Pokemon to see you through to the release of the next mainline game? Since its release in 1997, Pokemon has grown to become a global phenomenon and the highest-grossing media franchise of all time. The premise is simple; the trainer picks a starter Pokemon, then they go out and collect and fight wild Pokemon in order to become the best trainer possible. The formula has been tweaked slightly to keep each generation fresh, but it’s the familiarity that is the secret to its success.
Therefore, it’s no surprise to see other game developers try to recreate this winning blueprint in their own games. Some releases adapt it better than others, and some find themselves unable to blend the strong gameplay features into their newly created world.
This guide will take you through the best games similar to Pokemon. Whether you’re a casual fan of the series, or a hardcore EV trainer, there is going to be something on this list that takes your fancy.
Best games like Pokemon
Considered by many to be a straight clone of Pokemon, this game was first announced on Kickstarter in 2018. It was released to critical acclaim, from fans and critics alike, and is now available on almost all platforms.
The mechanics of this game are very familiar. The players start out as a beginner tamer, who explores the world capturing wild Temtems and using them in battle against other NPC tamers. However, there is an evil organisation lurking in the shadows.
Temtem has put in a lot of effort to stand apart from Pokemon, however. It deals with more mature themes than Pokemon ever dared to, it has MMO elements and extensive player housing options. It even has a challenging endgame, something that fans have been asking after for years.
Marketed as a life simulation game, Ooblets takes a slower approach to the Pokemon collecting mechanic. A large amount of gameplay focuses on the player's farm and nearby town, where they can buy seeds to cultivate crops, buy furniture for their house, and make friends with the other residents.
The Ooblets can be used to perform tasks around the farm or battle other Ooblets through the medium of dance. It’s slow, it’s cosy, and it’s perfect for when you want to scratch that Pokemon collecting itch without worrying about battling or strategy.
Slime Rancher is one of the more unique entries to this list, as it tackles adventuring and collecting, all while in first-person. The player has been given a small lot on an alien planet, where they can explore and find different types of slimes to, well, ranch.
There are puzzles to solve that allow you to progress further into the island in order to find rare slimes. The slimes produce plorts, which can be either sold, or used to transform the slimes into hybrids.
Chocobo Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!
For fans who love the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, this one's for you. Produced by Square Enix, it has recently been remastered for the Nintendo Switch. It shares many of the same mechanics as the earlier Mystery Dungeon games, and is a great continuation of the series.
The story follows the player and their Chocobo as they find themselves transported to a town that was lost to the world fifty years ago. Together, they have to explore the dungeons and try to restore the lost memories of the town's residents in order to find the truth.
The 8-bit, top-down camera in this game really succeeds in emulating the Gameboy Colour vibes. There are over 200 base monsters to collect, but through the breeding system this goes up to over 1200 different creatures for the player to pick and choose from.
Monster Crown has a much darker storyline than any of the Pokemon games, which honestly works very well with the nostalgic graphic style.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Despite losing the battle in the 90s to Pokemon, it’s actually really nice to see that the Digimon franchise is still going strong today. It’s massively popular in Japan, and their games have evolved past the basic formula. While Cyber Sleuth contains over 300 Digimon to collect and battle with, each with their own abilities, this game really puts its cyber-crime story first.
Tokyo is being threatened by hackers, who are blurring the lines between the real world and the digital world. The player takes on this threat, using the Digimon they collect along their way to help them. The creature-collecting mechanic is seamlessly blended with the JPRG cyberpunk setting, and is definitely one to consider.
Monster Sanctuary is a great example of how to take inspiration from all of your favourite games, and turn them into something really special. It’s a side-scrolling Metroidvania-like game, where the player can use their monster's unique abilities to help them explore the world. There’s turn-based battling, hundreds of monsters to catch, train, breed and evolve, and even built-in optional Randomiser and Permadeath game modes.
Perhaps most importantly though, you can pick your favourite monster to follow behind you on-screen. That’s right, possibly the most requested Pokemon mechanic brings a lot of life to this adventure, and it’s something we wish we saw in more creature-collecting games.