Games like Pokemon wear their influences on their sleeves. After all, the original collect 'em up RPG series launched way back in 1996, and has since spanned eight generations, birthing several successful spin-off incarnations along the way. If a game includes any degree of collection mechanic – be that Digimon, monsters, or, um, slime – comparisons to Pokemon are inevitable, but the games on this list offer their own unique slants on the formula to stand them apart in their own right.
From Ooblets to Final Fantasy, Slime Rancher to Yokai Watch 3, here are 10 games like Pokemon for the discerning trainer.
Available on: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch
Temtem is basically Pokemon, the MMO. It's still in Early Access, but there's more than enough to give us a taste of life exploring Omninesia’s floating islands, catching Temtems, and battling other players. Like Pokemon it's all about trapping, training, and competing with your team of adorable creatures, ultimately taking on the Archipelago's eight tough dojo trainers. It's a chance for PC players to catch the creature-collecting bug and another outlet for anyone who has already mastered Pokemon, with the addition of real people running around the world for extra combat opportunities. The game is getting updates all the time, with new events, new missions, new cosmetics, new Temtem, and more added on a regular basis.
Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC
Ooblets is a little game where you grow and collect tiny, adorable creatures called Ooblets. These little beasts will tag along behind you as you explore the world of Oob, and can be used in dance battles against other Ooblet collectors. With farming elements, Animal Crossing-esque home designing, a whole host of characters to befriend, and help, Ooblets has a little bit of everything. It's still in early access, but there are new updates and additions regularly, making this a little adorable idyll to escape to on the regular.
3. World of Final Fantasy Maxima
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
World of Final Fantasy has a lot of similarities to the classic Pokemon RPGs we know and love. You follow the journey of twins Lann and Reynn who are suffering from amnesia and don’t remember anything about their past. They are greeted by a mysterious woman who tells them they are Mirage keepers in the land of Gymoire. Mirages are monsters not unlike Pokemon who the twins can capture and train to fight for them. The land is inhabited by chibi-like people known as Lilikins, which is why everyone looks like cutesy Final Fantasy characters. The twins go through a portal to Gymoire to help battle against the Bahamutian Army who seek to destroy it. As they journey across the lands, they encounter other Final Fantasy characters who belong to different factions. Originally released in 2016, World of Final Fantasy got a bit of an update and re-release just last year with Maxima. The upgraded version adds even more Mirages to encounter, and more well-known Final Fantasy characters to meet, including Noctis, Lightening, and Yuna.
4. Yokai Watch 3
Available on: 3DS
While we wait for Yokai Watch 4 to find its way onto the Nintendo Switch at some point this year, Yokai Watch 3 is the latest instalment in the long-running franchise to get localised - and it’s an absolute must if you’re after something similar to the Pokemon RPGs. Yo-kai are spirits who come in all kinds of forms, from adorable cat-like creatures to fairies and bunnies. The story is split between two hemispheres and you switch between playing Nate in the new town of St. Peanutsburg, and Hailey who runs her own Yo-kai detective agency in Springdale. The third game in the series has over 600 kinds of Yo-Kai, including fun ‘Merica themed spirits that look like cowboys and cheeseburgers. Instead of capturing Yo-kai, you get the option to befriend them after a battle. Just as you train, evolve and battle with your best Pokemon buddies, you do much the same with the Yo-Kai, but it has its own unique grid-based battle system instead of move commands.
5. Digimon World: Next Order
Available on: PS4
Players have been making comparisons between Pokemon and Digimon for as long as they’ve both been around, so you really can’t go wrong with any Digimon title. Digimon World: Next Order is a great option for anyone who loved raising their Pokemon, as it puts more of emphasis on raising and training Digimon than other entries in the series. Next Order essentially builds on the Digital Monster, which was the tamagotchi-like digital pet that spawned the Digimon franchise. Set in an open-world, you are limited to just two Digimon who you evolve and train. If you loved the interactive side of Pokemon: Let’s Go where you could pet and feed Eevee or Pikachu, you’re sure to enjoy working on increasing your bond with your companions by feeding and praising your Digimon pals, and giving them various gifts. As you explore the world, you’ll encounter other owners who you can battle to develop your Digimon’s abilities and raise their levels to digivolve them. Instead of a turn-based battle system, Next Order changes it up from other entries with real-time fighting.
6. Slime Rancher
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
In Slime Rancher you’ve still gotta catch ‘em all, it’s just a bit more... well, slimy. As rancher Beatrix LeBeau, you explore the lands with your trusty vacpack. The objective is to capture different kinds of cute slimes you can find bouncing around the lands by sucking them up. You then plop the happy little blobs into your ranch and feed them until they drop plorts - slime droppings that act as the game’s currency. There’s a whole variety of different slimes that each have their own Plorts worth different values. Slimes will also evolve and grow, so if a pink slime eats a different kind of slime’s plort, they’ll evolve and turn into a unique slime. If you think about it, it works in a similar way to exposing, say, Eevee, to a certain type of evolution stone. By experimenting with plorts and slimes, you can create your very own special slimes and discover a whole host of different variants to rake in the big bucks. But beware, some slimes will attack you, and if you create too many you’ll be bombarded and be the cause of your very own adorable death trap.
7. Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!
Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch
The latest in the Mystery Dungeon series, you play as a Chocobo and his pal Cid who are treasure hunters journeying through dungeons in order to help the town of Lostime. The townspeople have lost their memories thanks to the Bell of Oblivion that causes them to forget every time it rings. As the lovable Final Fantasy bird and his buddy, you have to recover their memories and restore what was once lost. Each person's memory is locked in different dungeons which are randomly generated, so you never know what traps or challenges await you. The dungeons and battles aren’t too dissimilar to those you find in Pokemon RPGs. As you traverse through the dungeons you’ll encounter various monsters who you can befriend using the buddy system. The monsters will then fight with you in the dungeons and help ease your way through some tough battles. Pokemon has already popped up in this long-running series, with the latest version being Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon on the 3DS back in 2016, so if you enjoyed that, you'll love this just as much.
8. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Available on: PS4
Although we’ve already included a Digimon title in our list, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is worth a mention because of how different it is to Digimon World: Next Order. Instead of being limited to just two Digimon and solely focusing on raising them, you have a unlimited amount of different Digimon to train and fight with you as you progress through a proper story. There's no real-time fighting in this one either - Sleuth’s turn-based system is closer to the fighting style in Pokemon. While Next Order took place in a green open-world, the story of Cyber Sleuth takes place in EDEN, a digital cyberspace that's predominantly used by hackers. You play as an amateur hacker who joins the digital community and gets granted the ability to tame Digimon and battle with them. But things take a turn when EDEN gets infected by a virus that affects all its users. You start out with a choice of one of three starter Digimon just like you do in Pokemon, and you can also capture others as you journey through the digital world to find the source of the virus.
9. Nexomon: Extinction
Available on: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Nexomon: Extinction is another title that The Pokemon Company's legal team should probably be coming after, but its unique stamina system take on the Pokemon formula does set it apart. Because your monsters do get tuckered out, you'll need to rotate parties on the regular. However, away from that system, it really is a Pokemon clone through and through, and wears that with pride. Battle system, the Tamer's Guild, and so many other elements are ripped straight out of the Pokemon series, so a great one to explore - especially if you're not a Switch gamer.
10. Monster Sanctuary
Available on: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Starting its life as a Kickstarter project, Monster Sanctuary has come a long way and is definitely worth your time. Like Pokemon, you create teams of monsters to take on wild monsters, and like Pokemon Yellow back in the day (or the more recent Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee titles), you can have one of your party follow on behind you. These followers though, embody the traversal elements originally captured by the HMs in the Pokemon series. It's not quite the same, but it does add an interesting distinction for Monster Sanctuary. It's also a beautiful, side-scrolling 2D pixel art adventure, which helps offers something a little different for Pokemon fans.