Pokémon might have some more divisive titles lately, but it’s still a beloved franchise that influences new monster-taming games. The core Pokémon games are light on story, but they’re full of wonder, thriving on the thrill of discovery. They offer interesting places to explore, adorable creature designs, and simple battle mechanics.
This list will concentrate on terrific games that include both monster taming and a similar family-friendly tone. As a result, some obligatory titles won’t be included. Selections will also be chosen for their unique personality, breadth of content, and innovation, across a range of genres.
7. Siralim Ultimate
This indie hit features one of the widest collections of creatures in any monster tamer, let alone among Pokémon games. There are well over a thousand to encounter, and the fusion mechanic only expands the possibilities to an unprecedented level. This scope extends to other aspects of Siralim Ultimate’s gameplay, including the story, castle decoration, and specializations.
However, the sheer size of this game isn’t the only highlight. It’s a high fantasy dungeon crawler, with RPG elements and randomly generated worlds to explore. The result is a thoroughly unique setting that naturally complements Pokémon-style gameplay.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet recently introduced a formal cooperative experience, but Temtem is an MMO game. Its world truly lives and breathes, bustling with characters and fun details. Like so many MMOs, it relies on a larger range of activities.
Naturally, the gameplay includes exploration across different realms, and seasons regularly add new creatures to collect. However, you can also buy and decorate your own house. You don’t just feel immersed in Temtem’s world, you help define it. The social aspects of this game are a revelation for the genre.
5. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition
Digimon has always been underestimated, despite offering many superb games like Pokémon. This complete edition includes both Cyber Sleuth and Hacker’s Memory. The narrative is driven by mystery, and a bit more complex than traditional Pokémon games. It has swift pacing, and even some elements of Persona.
However, it’s still significantly tamer than that classic franchise. And despite the divisive grinding of Digimon Story, it can be far more rewarding to dedicate long-term attention to each of your creatures. Cyber Sleuth and Hacker’s Memory add complexity without losing a streamlined quality.
This casual indie game feels a lot like Pokémon, with the cuteness of Animal Crossing. It also has a goofy, wholesome sense of humor that really distinguishes itself. Naturally, the meta jokes have annoyed some players, but it does create a playful tone.
This balances out the premise, where Tyrant Nexomon are a legitimate threat to the entire world. The lore gives you purpose, compared to the innocent adventuring of Pokémon. Nexomon: Extinction also features nearly 400 creatures to collect, and a good variety of environments.
3. Moonstone Island
This popular indie might have cute creature-collecting like Pokémon, but it’s actually a refined mixture of many different games. It cleverly borrows the most winning qualities of casual life sims, RPGs, and card games. And although it reaches in multiple directions, its strong foundation of lore unites them.
Moonstone Island offers an equal share of attention on your character and the creatures you collect. This is fairly unique, and the story isn’t as rigid or punishing as similar titles. The open world is also unusually large, with 100 unique islands to discover. It’s undoubtedly one of the most expansive worlds in the genre.
Many games like Pokémon offer some small, obligatory twist. But Monster Sanctuary combines the monster taming formula with metroidvania gameplay, a simple yet effective surprise. The two are natural complements, and solving side-scrolling puzzles with your team creates a different kind of bond.
In the early days of Pokémon, it was customary to saddle one poor creature with a variety of HMs to explore exciting new areas. Monster Sanctuary is innately built on that progression, without losing the creative creatures and customization. The skill trees and attack order strategies are also more compelling than typical weakness-based advantages.
1. Cassette Beasts
This game was met with unanimous praise, and feels like a blend of both Pokémon and Digimon. Players even have the capacity to fuse any two monsters together. But Cassette Beasts’ true strength is the way it indulges powerful nostalgia without succumbing to it.
Type interactions appear mid-combat, which results in unexpected and refreshing exchanges. The art design for its world is also stunning, with a blend of depth, details, and storybook charm. Cassette Beasts offers a legitimately engaging story, cute creatures, and balanced and strategic combat. It even supports local co-op, which families will appreciate.
Coromon similarly deserves a shoutout for its story and retro appeal. While it doesn’t have quite as much content, it also recently launched a mobile version.
There are many games like Pokémon, which elaborate on its strengths and establish fascinating worlds. They appease the fans and prove that the core Pokémon series still has plenty of room to grow, too. Share your favorite Pokémon alternatives that also deserve to be on the list, including hidden gems like Abomi Nation!