Pokémon is one of the most popular franchises in the world, and its anime and video game series has been running for decades. Pokémon has inspired many games because it is easy to learn but hard to master, giving it the perfect difficulty curve. Undoubtedly, the world of anime and card games would be very different without Pokémon.
The concept is simple, you find a Pokémon in the wild and beat it until it’s almost unconscious. Then, trainers can pelt the Pokémon with Pokéballs until it no longer fights back against being domesticated. Trainers can then raise the Pokémon and make it stronger by having it fight other wild or caught Pokémon until they faint. You lose if all of your Pokémon faint during battle, but if you win, you get money.
Numerous games and TV shows have taken the basic concept and developed their own versions. Even when the outcome is a different world or lore, it’s easy to see the influence. There is always the same basic concept: You control another being and make it fight for you against another being controlled by your opponent.
We have selected the best games that have taken this concept and created a real competition against Pokémon.
Best Games like Pokémon
13) Fossil Fighters
Fossil Fighters adds a bit of fantasy to the concept of Pokémon. This game is like Pokémon, except dinosaurs come back to life through fossils and fight for the player. The gameplay is the same; players fighting, running, and capturing dinosaurs, and the fighting screen looks eerily similar to Pokémon‘s.
There is an okay story in Fossil Fighters, but the best part is the humor because the game does not take itself too seriously. Despite the world being on the verge of destruction due to a cataclysmic event, the person sending you off still doesn’t believe in you, making you chuckle as he prepares to die when you fail.
12) Yo-kai Watch series
Yo-kai Watch is a lot like Pokémon but the story and world are different. Players use their watch to capture Yo-kai, which are Japanese mythical creatures. Players can use captured Yo-kai to fight other Yo-Kai or perform tasks for the player. There are a handful of games in the series, all having the same stylistic approach as Pokémon.
11) The Chocobo’s Dungeon series
Players take on the role of a Chocobo in Chocobo’s Dungeon as they explore a dungeon to kill monsters and gain loot. Despite not looking like everyday Pokémon, it resembles the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. Players fight in turn-based combat with a preset group of allies, except in Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! where players can make allies as they play through the game.
Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon‘s farming elements merge with Pokémon‘s creature collection and battling mechanics in Ooblets. Those who want to become great Ooblet masters but also want a slice of life farming experience that comes with settling down and settling into a lifestyle will love this.
9) Nexomon: Extinction
It’s hard not to call Nexomon: Extinction a Pokémon clone, as everything about it is the same, except for the lore and world. Though the gameplay is copy-paste, the graphics look much better, and the game was designed with modern technology in mind. In place of navigating different menus, players can press a button to go directly to their desired location. If you’re looking for a Pokémon game that isn’t Pokémon, then Nexomon: Extinction is what you want.
8) The Digimon games
It would be easy to assume that Digimon is simply an easy clone of Pokémon, but that’s not the case. Tamagotchi, those digital pets you could care for in the ’90s, influenced Digimon more than anything else. There was no escaping the fact that the concept became so similar to Pokémon. Regarding similarities, Digmon Story: Cyber Sleuth probably has the closest relationship with Pokémon.
Throughout Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, players start with one Digimon and can obtain more as they progress. You own Digimon that fight other Digimon and has unique abilities. There is much more believable lore in Digimon than in Pokémon, and it feels more justified to fight other creatures because they are evil or want to hurt others rather than just because “I want to be the best at this.”
7) The Yu-Gi-Oh! Series
Yu-Gi-Oh! is the competing trading card game to Pokémon. Although the gameplay appears different, the biggest difference is that your monsters fight in groups of however many you can place on the game board.
The closest to Pokémon is Yu-Gi-Oh! Dungeon Dice Monsters. During the game, you summon monsters onto a board and can only have a few at a time. Due to the monsters creating tiles for everyone to step on, the board changed shape as they were summoned. This strategy game involves moving monsters around and fighting other monsters. By collecting more monsters, you will eventually become unstoppable as you progress through the game.
Temtem is an MMO version of Pokémon, with much better graphics and battles than the Pokémon series. Players can customize their characters, get a house, and go through an interesting storyline. It’s no secret that Pokémon has followed a similar formula for a while, and while each instant looks better than the last, it’s clear they could do more. If you’re tired of Pokémon’s limited graphics and gameplay, Temtem is exactly what you need.
5) Monster Hunter Stories
Originally, Monster Hunter was an action role-playing game in which players hunted and killed monsters in a limited open-world environment. The goal of Monster Hunter Stories was to change that. It was decided to let the player befriend the monsters rather than force them to kill them in Monster Hunter Stories.
Monster Hunter Stories ditches the title of Hunter and makes players Riders because they ride trusted monsters. Players raise monsters from eggs and gain their trust by caring for them and being a needed friend. Once the monster trusts the player enough, they’re used to fighting other monsters in a turn-based strategy game. In addition to being extremely popular, Monster Hunter Stories has received a sequel, which also was well-received.
Related: All Monster Hunter games, in order
4) Ark: Survival Evolved
If you don’t have anyone to fight, Ark: Survival Evolved is much like a dinosaur breeding game. Unfortunately, the environment makes players use their dinosaurs to fight other dinosaurs and poachers. Despite not having any real powers, these dinos are powerful, making every dinosaur you capture an asset to your team.
Players start Ark: Survival Evolved, just trying to survive and learning to craft. When players have a respectable base, the game turns into a dinosaur capturing game because the dinosaurs are so valuable. You can use dinosaurs for tasks like getting to different places faster or as help with fighting bigger enemies.
Pokémon‘s Nugget bridge is famous for offering players the chance to join Team Rocket but never letting them do so. The disappointment fans felt at not being able to join the criminal organization in Pokémon has remained with them. Palworld aims to change that.
Palworld has been called Pokémon with guns for a long time, but it’s actually more like Pokémon in a modern world. In this game, you have the chance to save the world from the evils of poachers, but there is also an option not to save it. Players can become poachers, start illegal businesses, and make your monsters work for you instead of fighting each other. Become the Giovanni of this world by taking out rivals and monsters who step out of line with guns. The game allows you to live out your fantasy of starting your own Team Rocket, which is exactly what many fans wanted.
2) Jade Cocoon
Jade Cocoon is arguably the most original game on this list, taking only a few things from Pokémon but making them entirely original. Although the concept is similar, capturing monsters to fight for you is done with the animal’s permission. Monsters in Jade Cocoon have special types, such as Wind, Earth, and Fire. Players capture these monsters and merge them to make them share abilities. The outcome makes the monster look different depending on how the original two monsters looked.
In addition to losing some abilities, the dominant genes moved forward as the players merged monsters. In some ways, it was like a breeder, except you lost your original two monsters. The story of this game is dark and interesting, with the player trying to stop the destruction of their village.
1) The Persona series
The Persona series is a long-running franchise that takes the concept of controlling a monster to fight for you and adds a new twist to it. A player must balance going to school and maintaining friendships with saving the world and stopping evil killers in this game. Persona 4 Golden is arguably the best game in the series and has the closest connection to Pokémon. As a silent protagonist, players discover that they have the power to control personas, which are like monsters in the shadow world.
Other characters are stuck with whichever persona they are given, but the main character can control any persona. Personas can also be merged and deleted. As a result, the player has more freedom and can take on a more interesting approach to controlling monsters.