We’ve sussed out some of the best monster RPG games like Pokémon for those looking to take the creature rearing, training and battling to new shores.
If you just can’t have enough of Pokémon and are looking for a few more alternatives to play, then you’ll be heartened to know that several exist. Look hard enough and you’ll soon find that there are indeed many titles similar to the game in question out there, just waiting to be discovered, much like the lovable creatures in the game. One of the most popular media franchises, with a trading card game, a toy brand, and even an anime title to its name, Pokemon has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the globe. The titles based off the franchise have been spawning eager and excited Trainers for as long as it has been around. If you’re ready to delve into fantasy realms of discovering adorable creatures, have them fight for you and explore a fantasy space rife with adventure, here are our 15 best monster RPG games like Pokemon.
There are some very clear-cut titles on this list, such as World of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest Monsters and EvoCreo, but there are also ones that, while they don’t closely mirror the style of gameplay you’re obviously here for, do offer similar gameplay elements. These include Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, Temtem, Yo-kai Watch 3, Shin Megami Tensei IV, and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn.
1. World of Final Fantasy
Developer Square Enix’s World of Final Fantasy is a lot like the game in question in that it involves some intense turn-based battles to capture cute but very deadly creatures that you can stack on top of your head (of all places!). Individual fights require strategy and some perseverance, and the best thing is that it has something for the JRPG grinders — it lets you repeat actions easily and even fast-forward some of the cinematics. In the game you gain experience to evolve the creatures you capture, giving you better stats and moves to take into skirmishes.
If you’ve played any of the Final Fantasy video games, you’ll love that the game is set in the fictional realm of Grymoire with classic characters and creatures (called Mirages) from across the franchise. The game itself focuses on twins Lann and Reynn who travel to Grymoire to recover their memories after having suffered from a bout of amnesia — it’s not a JRPG unless there’s amnesia involved in some form or other.
Although challenging, the game drops players into a rich world with plenty going for it and it’s easy to soon be caught up in the game’s lore.
2. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Played from the third-person perspective, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is an RPG that has turn-based strategy elements. Your Digimon companions come with you on your adventures and can learn new skills and even be trained and evolved. There are over 240 critters featured in the game and they have all sorts of attacks and skills just waiting to be used strategically in order to best your opponents.
In terms of the game’s story line, you play as a young Japanese student living in Tokyo who is trapped in a cyber dimension — more accurately, a physical-interaction cyberspace (called EDEN) — by hackers, and while escaping is corrupted into a half-digitized entity giving him or her — you can choose to play as Takumi (male) or Ami (female) — special abilities. You must use your newfound abilities to investigate the company that owns and manages EDEN. If all that sounds complicated, it’s because the game’s story very much is.
With all that Cyber Sleuth has to offer, if you’re looking for Pokemon like games, this title from developer Media.Vision should tick quite a few boxes. The game’s simple combat mechanics and engaging strategy elements should give you that classic feel you’re after while satisfying your need to catalog all the cute little creatures hidden in the game.
Sadly, the game is no longer present online for digital purchase on PS4 or PS5, but you can get its successor Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory. Nintendo Switch and PC versions come with both titles bundled in a Complete Edition.
3. Monster Hunter Stories
A shift from the games in the main series from developer Capcom, Monster Hunter Stories features an interesting rock-paper-scissors style turn-based strategy combat system. Attacks are of three types: Power, Speed, and Technical. Power attacks beat Technical attack, Technical beats Speed, and Speed beats Power. Figure out the preferred type of attack a foe uses and a fight is easily won.
In terms of gameplay, you traverse the game as a Rider accompanied by a creature raised from an egg in this RPG from Capcom. The game features only four weapons from the core series — Sword and Shield, Great Sword, Hammer, and Hunting Horn — but that shouldn’t be a hindrance to enjoying it. There is enough of adventure for any new players and long-time fans.
In the game, you are put into the action a year after the Black Blight first arrived, and must use a mysterious Kinship Stone to befriend the various fantasy beasts scattered about in the game. You will travel far beyond your home base of Hakum Village, taming monsters and banishing the Black Blight at every instance you encounter it.
This charming game has a lot to offer and with a sequel, Wings of Ruin scheduled for release in July 2021, this is the best time to get into this spinoff especially since it is also up for download from the respective app stores for all smartphones, including iPhone.
4. Nexomon: Extinction
With more than 300 Nexomon to capture and tame, this candidate is one of the best fits if you’re looking for Pokemon like games. It does have an evolve mechanic where you can get stronger, more powerful creatures. However, it does not feature something like the “gym” mechanic. Instead, you must join a guild and attempt to gain a higher standing in the order.
Developer VEWO Interactive throws you into a fantasy realm staring at a mass extinction while the mighty Tyrant monsters fight against humans. But all is not lost. You step in as the hero, joining the Tamer’s Guild, to restore balance, order and harmony.
This title has a level balancing mechanic with dynamic difficulty to keep all your battles interesting. And with a raft of side quests and eccentric characters to meet along the way, you will likely never be bored of the exploration and discovery.
5. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3
Available On: Nintendo 3DS
The Dragon Quest Monsters series is a spin-off of the main Dragon Quest franchise from Square Enix and developer Tose (which has gained a reputation in the video game space as a “ghost developer”). Another game played from the third-person perspective with strategy battle elements, Joker 3 allows players to explore the game riding on terrestrial, aquatic and flying beasts. As you’d expect from Pokemon style games, players can level up their collection of creatures and give them new skills and abilities, making them tougher in battle and making additional exploration possible.
The premise is simple – You suffer from amnesia and must scour the game to recover your memories. A mysterious figure called the Dark Master is out to do you in. You must fight powerful beasts along the way within which the latent dark powers have been awakened.
The game has a good deal of creatures and the best thing is that players can “synthesize” new ones (yes, you read that right) rather than catch them. A synthesized monster gets skill trees from its parents, so there is good scope for evolution, even causing brand-new skill trees to organically emerge.
Given life through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, the creators of this offering (Spanish developers Crema) make no bones about the game being inspired by Pokemon games, but there’s something more — it takes the creature collection adventures online. (It is the only MMO game on our list!) The game has engaging visuals and simple turn-based battle gameplay that fans of the battling genre will like. Instead of a ball-like device, players have at their disposal futuristic TemCards that are used to capture, transport and unleash the game’s creatures.
You take on the role of a novice tamer finding your way around the globe, all the while meeting other players and NPCs and battling them. The six islands of the Airborne Archipelago is where the game is set and where you’ll find interesting new species of Temtem. The main story involves going head-to-head with the Clan Belsoto to foil their plot to take over the archipelago. Side quests include defeating the game’s Dojo Leaders on the path to becoming the ultimate tamer.
7. Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!
A sort of remaster and a loosely ported version of Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon for the Nintendo Wii, Every Buddy (for short) comes from little-known Japanese developer h.a.n.d., which actually has quite a few Chocobo video games under its belt. Every Buddy keeps the core of the original with a layer of new features. The upgraded version includes a buddy system: the ability to bring companions into dungeons to take on your foes. Each buddy only has one ability, but it is still better than crawling dungeons all by your Chocobo self.
Cid and his partner Chocobo are sucked into a vortex and dumped into a town called Lostime, where, in the center of the town square, the Bell of Oblivion rings periodically, keeping the townspeople in a perpetually amnesiac state. Chocobo and his companions set off heroically, crawling dungeons to recover the lost memories of the residents of Lostime. Every Buddy throws in a new “buddy system” so players can take critters and other characters along with them to assist in clearing the dungeons.
It’s safe to say that people who’ve played Every Buddy! probably did so for the cuteness factor alone — Chocobo going “Kweh!” is adorable! There’s a lot to do and quite a bit of customization beyond the adorable ‘cookies and cream’ aesthetics.
8. Shin Megami Tensei IV
Check it out here: Nintendo 3DS
By developer Atlus, which is known for its Persona and Etrian Odyssey lineups, Shin Megami Tensei IV is set in a post-apocalyptic scenario and carries over the turn-based Press Turn battle system from the previous titles. By attacking an enemy’s weakness, the game grants an additional action, which is crucial to the game’s oftentimes grueling duels. What makes this JRPG a good alternative is its creation mechanic in which players can fuse two demons to bring life to a new one. Also unlike the Pokemon games, acquiring their fighting champions in Shin Megami Tensei IV is very different. Players must, through careful use of guile and judgement, talk demons into joining their side, essentially negotiating for their services.
In terms of plot, Shin Megami Tensei IV goes like this: With Tokyo turning into a demon stronghold, a member of the city’s Counter-Demon Force fuses with the God Masakado to create a protective dome over Tokyo. You are initiated into the game as a samurai, Flynn, whose job it is to help rid the kingdom of demons and a figure called the Black Samurai.
If you fall in love with the game and its decidedly more grown-up style than most Pokemon collecting games, you’ll be glad to know that Shin Megami Tensei V is in development for the Nintendo Switch with a 2021 general release date having been set.
9. Yo-kai Watch 3
Playable on: Nintendo 3DS
Another game exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS, developer Level 5’s JRPG Yo-kai Watch 3 gives players special watches which allow them to see, befriend and summon mythical Japanese spirits called Yo-kai. This video game installment in the media franchise has a slightly different turn-based battle mechanic. There is a grid-based system that allows you to dodge out of the way of enemy attacks and place your Yo-kai in strategic positions on the board.
Yo-kai Watch 3 presents you with interconnected but somewhat parallel storylines of the familiar Nate Adams, and the effervescent and excitable Hailey Anne Thomas, each on their own adventures with the Yo-kai. Nate and his family have moved to St. Peanutsburg and his creature-catching takes place there, while Hailey’s story is set in Springdale where she sets up a detective agency to work the cases that come through her door.
There are quite a few side missions to complete beyond the main story in Yo-kai Watch 3, as well as a bustling game setting that has this rich, full feeling, all of which should provide an engaging experience.
10. Digimon World: Next Order
Find it on: PS Vita, PS4
While we already have one game from the popular series — Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth — on our list, this title is a little different. A departure from the usual rule of having a single monster accompany you, it allows you to take two digital pets with you, all the while caring for them the way you would any pet.
Gameplay-wise, combat throws you into somewhat new territory, with your digital beasts mostly controlled by the game’s AI in skirmishes. Although free from having to completely control your champion, you can jump in at any time, issuing orders to your wards, applying healing salves or — get this — combining your companions into one supercharged mashup for additional types of attacks.
The game for PlayStation consoles focuses on two Japanese third-year high school students, Takuto and Shiki, who are sucked into the digital realm, which they must then explore with the help of their chosen digital partners.
Played from a third person perspective and with a large fantasy dimension to explore, Next Order keeps things interesting despite its minor departure from the standard combat mechanics players might expect from this type of game and its rather bland environments.
11. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
Find it on: Nintendo DS
Even though the game is dated and there almost certainly will not be a new addition to it, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn makes our list… well, just about. Set 30 years after the events of the second in the series, developer Camelot’s Dark Dawn features as its protagonists the children of the previous game’s starrers. The planet is falling apart thanks to the Great Eclipse and the heroes must journey to find an alchemy machine that can stop it.
Dark Dawn carries over the characteristic Djinn, elemental creatures which players must collect to upgrade stats, learn new spells, and unleash devastating attacks on foes. So while it is not quite the creature collecting game that you might expect on a list of alternatives, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn does have an aspect of the mechanic. Overall, there are more than 70 Djinn in the game, allowing for a range of possibilities.
12. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
The sequel to Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, which was introduced for the PS3, Nintendo Switch, PC and PS4, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a JRPG developed by Level 5 and published by Bandai Namco. Ni no Kuni II has players exploring its towns to duel with enemies via the game’s battle system. However, it is an action RPG and does away with turn-based strategy fights seen in its predecessor.
In terms of plot, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is set centuries after the events of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and centers on two protagonists — Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, heir to the kingdom of Ding Dong Dell, and Roland Crane, an unnamed nation’s president who is transported into the kingdom of Ni no Kuni II as a younger version of himself. The kingdom is under threat from the evil Mausinger, who has staged a coup to take over, and must be saved.
What’s more, developer Level 5’s art style for the game is lovely, as is the magical, beautiful backdrop created for players to explore.
13. Monster Sanctuary
Best described as a pixel art monster collecting game, this title makes a place for itself on our list even though it may not have punchy graphics or state-of-the-art effects. Players take up to three creatures into turn-based battles and use the game’s integrated combo system to win difficult duels. The fewer turns you need to defeat your foes, the higher your chance of receiving rare items.
You get into the action as a monster keeper living in Monster Sanctuary, a land where keepers and their beasts exist harmoniously. However, something foul is in the air. The arrival of unusually powerful creatures has shattered this knife-edge balance and you must investigate the mystery, encountering and battling monsters, collecting and hatching eggs, and leveling up and gaining new skills.
The intriguing 2D platformer look makes this candidate stand out, and its simplistic style should easily capture your heart.
14. Bulu Monster
A simple game and straightforward Pokemon games clone, developer Sigma Game Limited’s offering tasks players with catching and training the mobile game’s many monsters. Capture balls are used to catch Bulu Monsters and the premise is pretty straightforward: fight against other beasts and trainers, and progress through the adventure, all the while recording in your Monster Book the creatures you encounter.
Sadly, the game does little by way of a story. All it tells players is that there once was a time when fantasy beasts and humans co-existed. It gives you nothing more. You are presumably simply reliving those glorious adventure days.
Even though players don’t have much to work with in terms of lore and story, they do get a platform to extend their love for catching and cataloguing new creatures. If you’re a seasoned player, you probably won’t find it very interesting. Its battles seem to lack the depth, and thus it might appeal best to a beginner in the genre.
EvoCreo is another Pokemon games clone on this list. In this, players are Evokers and have special bonds with the game’s creatures called Creo. Taking Creos along while in exploration mode will increase their loyalty, giving bonuses to stats and abilities. The mobile game is played in a top down view with turn based battles interspersing the RPG adventuring. You can take up to five Creos into battle, each with up to five abilities enabled.
In the aftermath of the devastation left by the Creo Wars, the regions of the world agree to a truce, and to prevent war from breaking out once more, a tournament was proposed in which Evokers and their Creo battle it out in the sport of EvoCreo. You undertake a journey to find your father who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances while he was looking into a group called the Shadow Hive.
The makers of the game, which is another on this list to have come out of Kickstarter, say that the battle system is a bit more involved than in regular Pokemon games and RPGs, and the game’s level progression is more balanced. Either way, EvoCreo, with its simple pixel art style, seems like a good option to try out.
With so many amazing Pokemon alternatives to pick from, you are spoiled for choice. Each of them has its own unique selling point, with different features and abilities to learn and master. Some have the best stories, others allow you to take care of and bond with the creatures you befriend or capture. Most of the names in our roster of best Pokemon-like games should each afford you hours of fun and engaging gameplay, no matter which of them you pick.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What kind of game is Pokemon?
A: The Pokemon titles, which are all part of a much larger media franchise, are referred to as role playing games or RPGs, but they include strategy elements too. In a role playing game, players are thrust into a fantasy setting and adopt the role of imaginary characters as they engage in fantastic adventures and engaging battles on a grand scale. A player takes on the role of a Trainer who, on his travels, encounters many rivals, and is on a quest to become the League Champion. Players can battle other Pokémon, capture them, catalog them, and train them, gaining experience and leveling up in the process. There are also several types of side quests or alternative activities that include talent and beauty contests, tournaments, and fishing.
Q: What other games are like Pokemon Go?
A: Pokémon Go is an augmented reality video game for mobile devices, one of the newest types in the franchise, and makes use of the phone’s GPS and camera to display its fantastical creatures in real world locations. For this reason, it is also sometimes referred to as a location-based game. While the game was received with mixed reviews, it was a huge hit and many similar monster RPG games have since spawned, that use the player’s GPS location as a game board or game world. Did you know that you can even play Pokémon Go on your Apple Watch? A few similar games include Ingress Prime, Jurassic World: Alive, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, The Walking Dead: Our World, and Orna.
Q: Is Digimon a ripoff of Pokémon?
A: A comparison is often drawn between these two because of the similarities between the two Japanese media franchises, and people tend to think of Digimon as a “ripoff” of the original game. This notion seems to be because Pokémon has existed a little longer than Digimon — the former was introduced in 1996, while the latter was created in 1997 as a lineup of virtual pets (or digital monsters). However, the two might be best thought of as separate entities with very different lore and unique philosophies — while one centers on fictional creatures called Pokemon (or pocket monsters); the other focuses on virtual pets (or digital monsters). One of the main differences between the two is that in the former game, players are encouraged to find and catalog all the different kinds of creatures and capture many of them, while in Digimon players pick a specific pet, which then accompanies them on their journey and must be taken care of, fed and attended to, much like a real pet.
Q: Are there any games similar to Pokemon on PS4?
A: You can find games like Pokemon for PS4, and you don’t have to look too hard, either. These games are known for their engrossing elements of discovering new creatures, capturing them, raising and training them, and taking them into skirmishes and battles. If you want to take the collecting and battling to your home console, rest assured that you can find quite a few that should suit your interests. Our list houses a few PS4 games and you can begin right there. At your disposal are World of Final Fantasy, Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory, Nexomon: Extinction, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!, Next Order, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, and Monster Sanctuary.