It's hard to deny the sensation that is Pokemon. What started as a little third-party title for the Game Boy has grown massively into one of the biggest cultural powerhouses of the modern world. These days we've got seven generations of games, tons of spinoffs, multiple cartoons and so much merchandise you'd need a warehouse to keep it all. Just look at how far we've come:
The 10 Best Games Like Pokemon
In no particular order, here are our picks for the best games out there that are just like Pokemon. Have any other great Pokemon-like games you'd add to the list? Stick the best of the best down below!
1. 'Beastie Bay'
- Developer: Kairosoft
- Publisher: Kairosoft
- Platforms: Android, iOS
One of the more unusual games by the prolific Kairosoft, Beastie Bay combines Pokemon-style monster catching with a light town management simulator. As you explore the island looking for new creatures to tame for your side, you'll have to expand your island base with new pastures, resource gathering sites and other goodies. The game mechanics are surprisingly deep and the game itself is completely free. Plus, like all Kairosoft games, the pixel art is adorable.
Try this if... You've been unsuccessfully trying to glue your Sim City and #PokemonSunMoon DS cartridges together for ages.
2. 'Yo-kai Watch' & 'Yo-kai Watch 2'
- Developer: Level-5
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS
- Publishers: Nintendo, Level-5
These Pokemon-like games for the 3DS ooze a style that's all their own, and it's probably the series that's come the closest to toppling Pokemon from its gargantuan throne made of money. While they lack some of the depth that later Pokemon games contain within their EV and IV systems, they make up for things by also lacking the tedious grinding that those systems can entail. Plus the Yo-Kai designs are seriously cute.
Try this if... You want a more streamlined alternative to #PokemonSunMoon without the nagging feeling that you're technically engaging in anime cockfighting.
- Developer: Ilmfinity
- Publisher: Ilmfinity
- Platform: Android
Don't own a #3DS but still want that Pokemon experience? Look no further than EvoCreo. Created by a self-professed fan of the Pokemon series, EvoCreo attempts to bring all the best bits of the series to the Android, while also improving upon and deepening the mechanics of Pokemon. While the art style is a bit generic and derivative, the game is loads of fun to play.
Try this if... You sometimes have a suspicion that the No-Frills brand chocolate might actually be better.
4. 'Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch'
- Developers: Level-5, Studio Ghibli
- Publishers: Level-5, Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS
Made by the same developers as the Yo-Kai Watch and featuring art design by Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is probably the most beautiful-looking game on this list, as well as being one of the most gorgeous in its generation. Unfortunately, it's only available on the #PS3, but there's a planned sequel in the works coming down the line.
Try this if... You own as many Miyazaki movies as Pokemon games.
5. 'Pocket Mortys'
- Developer: Big Pixel Studios
- Publisher: [adult swim]
- Platform(s): Android, iOS
For fans of the hilarious Adult Swim show, Rick and Morty, this one's a must-play. Pocket Mortys is a huge parody of Pokemon, with tons of in-jokes and swipes at both the show and Pokemon itself. Players take the role of Rick: Capturing, taming and battling a legion of different alternate-dimension-Mortys for their amusement. Despite being a parody game, the experience is surprisingly deep and polished. It's obvious a lot of love went into this one.
Try this if... You always felt like there was a bit of Rick inside you (specifically, a brain control chip made by him.)
6. 'Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2'
- Developer: Tose
- Publishers: Nintendo, Square Enix Holdings
- Platform: Nintendo DS
Another game with an excellent art pedigree, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, as well as the upcoming sequel fuse together the gameplay of the Dragon Quest series with the addictive creature collection of Pokemon. The game features designs by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball Z fame, as well as a crisp, cel-shaded art style that puts the Pokemon games somewhat to shame. It's deep too, with up to three combatants under your control at the same time and a breeding system that can be used to create new creatures entirely.
Try this if... You were the kid that would wake up Saturday morning to watch Pokemon followed by Dragon Ball Z.
7. 'Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth'
- Developer: Media.Vision
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
If you're more a Sony fan than a Nintendo head, you might want to try Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. The game features a cool branching evolution system that makes things a bit more unpredictable, as well as a more traditional JRPG-style battle system, where multiple creatures face off against multiple enemies, which allows you to set up combos and team attacks between your Digimon. The story's a cheesy futuristic virtual reality/hacker tale straight out of an anime, which is appropriate since like several games on the list, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth features an attractive cel-shaded art style.
Try this if... You were on the Digimon side of the great and terrible Digimon/Pokemon wars of the '90s.
8. 'Shin Megami Tensei IV'
- Developer: Atlus
- Publishers: Atlus, Nintendo
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Shin Megami Tensei IV is a great choice for people looking for a less cutesy alternative to Pokemon. This latest installment in the long running series lets you bargain with demons for their aid. If you're successful, they're added to your party much like in Pokemon. The dialog challenge needed to recruit demons is a lot more in-depth than the usual Pokemon beat 'em and ball 'em capturing, and each demon has its own unique talents, strengths and weaknesses.
Try this if... You want to play the goth kid of games like Pokemon.
9. 'Jade Cocoon'
- Developer: Genki
- Publishers: Genki, Ubisoft, Crave Entertainment
- Platform: PlayStation
You'll have to bust out your PlayStation for this one, but it's worth it. Jade Cocoon is a charming RPG about collecting and training spirits. Think Pokemon meets Princess Mononoke. There's tons of cool and weird little beasties to collect as you play through the story, and even an infinite New Game+ mode with creatures that are unavailable in the normal game. The coolest feature by far though, is the fusion system, which lets you fuse captured monsters together into a new creature with a unique appearance and talents taken from both parent creatures.
Try this if... You want to play mad scientist with your captured creatures and stick them together in new, weird ways.
10. 'Monster Crafter'
Developer: Naquatic LLC
Publisher: Naquatic LLC
Platforms: iOS, Android
Monster Crafter is possibly the most unusual addition to this list. Imagine someone mashed up Pokemon and Minecraft into one bizarre package and you might start to get an idea of how it works. Players design their own monsters with Minecraft style blocks and head out into the world to train and battle other creatures. Leveling up unlocks new blocks, more room to build and new skills for your creature. It's a pretty creative twist on the genre, and perfect if you want something on your phone.
Try this if... You're sick of just catching monsters and want to play god and make them instead.