Since its inception in Japan 26 years ago, Pokémon has been one of the most pervasive forces not only in video games, but in pop culture in general. It’s the highest-grossing entertainment franchise in history and has naturally attracted many imitators. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t very good.
That being said, some video games manage to capture similar magic to Nintendo’s iconic catch-’em-up, while experimenting with its formula in intriguing ways. The degree of allegiance to which they owe said formula varies, but all are indebted to Pokémon in one way or another.
With Pokemon Scarlet and Purple just around the corner, it’s only natural that people’s appetites have been whetted for a new monster-taming experience. So, to make the wait easier until you can catch them all and become the best (like no one has ever been), here are seven of the best Pokemon you can play right now.
OK, so this one looks nothing like Pokemon. It’s a side-scrolling Metroidvania that takes far more visual cues from the genre’s namesake than anything Game Freak has ever released.
However, the basic principle of Monster Sanctuary consists of capturing and taming dozens of different creatures to reach the rank of “Master” in the Monster Keeper order. In doing so, you can finally take on the infamous Alchemists, a guild of evil mages who want to conquer the titular Monster Sanctuary and use it to wage war on the Old World.
They’re kind of like Team Rocket, but with an actual story that isn’t “We want world domination, but we only want to achieve it if we can do it using objectively terrible Pokemon.” In other words, these adversaries pose a legitimate threat, especially when compared to Johto-era Rocket. Even at the age of 5, I was embarrassed for them.
Monster Sanctuary is available on Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
Whereas monster crownit is overworld certainly resembles those of Game Boy Color era Pokemon games, anyone looking for cute nostalgia will be out of luck once they set foot on Crown Island.
Sure, monster crown can talk like Pokemon, but it sure doesn’t walk like it. It’s heavily inspired by Game Freak’s RPGs in many ways, in that it incorporates 200 original monsters that you can catch, train, and fight alongside. While that number is impressive, it expands to 1,200 when you consider the game’s breeding system, which lets you pair up specific monsters in order to gain access to new creatures you can’t meet. by ordinary means in nature.
The area in which monster crown differs from Pokémon in its narrative and world design. Unlike the warm and mostly innocuous stories you’d expect to find in major Nintendo-published games, monster crown is intentionally dark, targeting a specific demographic of players who grew up with early Pokemon, but are now looking for something a little more adult. Opinions on whether the developers succeeded in bringing this vision to fruition vary, but if you’re the kind of person who constantly talks about wanting “a Pokémon game for adults,” this is the Pokémon for you.
monster crown is available on Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Persona 5 Royal
The Persona The series has been around for as long as Pokémon, so to speak, the former owes its existence to the latter being… well, just plain wrong. Rather than being inspired by Nintendo, Persona is a spinoff of Sega’s Shin Megami Tensei, a series in which you collect demons inspired by various mythologies from around the world. These demons are associated with specific elemental types, which all interact with each other to create a Pokémon-like type efficiency structure. It may seem a bit complex at first, but luckily 2017 personas 5 is a very good starting point.
Persona games are more conventional JRPGs than any Pokémon title, in that it’s less about collecting neat badges to challenge a very friendly and supportive champion and more about attacking and dethroning God. Still, combat is turn-based and based on a variety of character affinities that can stun some enemies. Pair that with an impressive roster of 192 individual Personas, each of which can be obtained through persuasion, seduction, corruption, or a ritual mechanic called fusion, and you’ve got yourself an excellent type-focused creature-collecting RPG.
It’s a bit weirder than Pokemon – there are cats that are also trucks (and sometimes helicopters), as well as some pretty dark themes that could probably get a Game Freak executive fired for gross negligence if brought up at a board meeting. ‘administration. If you’re ready to revel in this weirdness, however, there are few games as engrossing and rewarding as personas 5.
Persona 5 Royal is available on PlayStation 4. It will also be released on Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X on October 21.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
It might seem strange to compare Pokémon with the Monster Hunter series – one is about collecting cartoonish creatures, while another is about brutally hunting outlandish monsters – but Monster Hunter’s turn-based spinoff has a lot in common. with Pikachu’s flagship.
Monster Hunter Stories the games eschew the meticulous preparation, stalking, and actual hunting of fearsome colossi for a much gentler approach to these creatures (they’re even renamed from “Monsters” to “Monsties”). In Monster Hunter Stories 2you can even assemble a team of these Monsties to accompany you on your adventure through Hakolo Island.
This warmth also extends to the game’s story, in which you become a rider rather than a hunter. Along with your loyal band of Monsties, you – a literal child – are tasked with saving the world from impending destruction. If that doesn’t qualify a game as “Pokémon-like”, I don’t know what does.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is available on Windows PC and Nintendo Switch.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
The only things that Pokémon and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch have in common is that both highlight the process of catching and befriending magical creatures (called “Familiars” in the latter). Even combat is noticeably different, in that including Ni no Kuni on this list may seem a bit controversial to some.
On the contrary, this is precisely why Wrath of the White Witch belongs here. Its focus on familiars gives it enough overlap with Pokémon to feel…familiar, while its foregrounding of a deep and emotionally resonant story gives longtime Pokémon fans something totally new. Oliver’s Journey is noticeably punchier and more moving than many of the relatively simplistic story beats of Kanto, Johto and beyond, and it certainly helps that all of the animated sequences were crafted by none other than Studio Ghibli.
Hell, even the score was composed by frequent Studio Ghibli collaborator Joe Hisaishi, who provided the music for all but one of Hayao Miyazaki’s films (Lupine III: The Castle of Cagliostrowhich predates Miyazaki’s tenure at Ghibli).
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is available on Windows PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.
coromone is the perfect game for people who are specifically looking for a Pokémon-like experience third and fourth generations – it occupies a sort of odd aesthetic void between those of the Hoenn and Sinnoh regions.
Unlike some of the other games on this list, coromone – as you might guess from the name – is a very intentional love letter to a specific era of Pokémon the story. From ice puzzles to static encounters with legendary monsters to exclusive sentient slime piles, this is the kind of game someone who grew up with diamond and pearl thoroughly enjoy.
It’s also particularly useful for anyone familiar with modern Pokemon. the challenge runs. In addition to having a world inspired by Pokémon, coromone comes with built-in difficulty and randomization settings, adding a layer of complexity to the game that encourages experimentation and replayability – which is the kind of thing Pokémon itself could put to good use in the future.
coromone is available on Windows PC and Android.
While there are plenty of solid Pokemon on this list, none of them rival Temtemthe best new monster-taming RPG since Game Freak hit the scene in 1996.
Temtem, in many ways, is a carbon copy of Pokémon. His map is made up of roads and rivers, towns and caves, mountains and swamps. Outside of towns, areas are populated with wild animals that you can catch, train, and use to battle other tamers. Dojo Masters are essentially Gym Leaders, and defeating them allows you to advance the story. On paper, they’re just Pokemon. by another name.
But Temtem is also intriguing in the way it introduces new life to outdated concepts. For example, all battles of Temtem are double battles, which makes most encounters much more strategic. There’s also a range of one-time use niche items that enhance the competitive viability of your Temtems, and the overarching narrative feels like it’s targeting a demographic that isn’t just “10-year-olds and kids.” 10 year olds. one-year-olds in 1996 or since. There are even bars!
If you are a Pokemon fan looking for something similar before (or after) Scarlet and Purple, you should obviously choose the entry from this list that suits you best. But if we had to recommend a game for Pokémaniacs? It’s definitely Temtem.
Or Persona 5 Royal, if you want to take down the Prime Minister of Japan before beating God of the Old Testament in a physical manifestation of the collective subconscious that you and your friends can access via a smartphone app. It’s really what you want.
Temtem is available on Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.