Pokemon was a game first and an anime series later. In either form, the Nintendo IP represents the all-time game franchise best-seller. Because of its influence, there’re surely other games like Pokemon.
The series came from developer Game Freak and debuted in 1995. Since its release, there have been dozens of Pokemon games for handheld consoles and home consoles.
For example, the latest entries like Sword and Shield are for Nintendo Switch only. If you don’t have a Switch, you may think you’re missing out on one of the most iconic RPG series in the world.
So, we’re looking at the best games like Pokemon you can play in 2022 on any platform.
Selecting Games Like Pokemon
There’re nine generations of Pokemon games. Each brings new characters, Pokemon, mechanics, and locations.
Also, generations often increase the graphical and performance quality alongside a new console family line.
Although the games have changed over the years, many aspects remain consistent. Therefore, finding games like Pokemon means understanding these core elements.
- Open-world Design: Each game presents a new open-world map. However, advancing through the map requires unlocking items and Pokemon skills. So, even though it’s open-world and you can go back and forth freely, the progress is somehow linear and akin to a Metroidvania title.
- Exploration: As you explore the world, you move your character, the Pokemon trainer. There’re random battles that happen as you explore the world. And there’re scripted battles that occur when talking to NPCs.
- NPCs: That said, these worlds are full of NPCs. They share stories, challenge you to battles, sell you items, ask for your help, and more.
- Graphics: Even though the graphics have evolved over time, the art style is consistent. We would call Pokemon games classic RPGs through and through. The first titles, though, would be retro RPGs.
- Pokemons: Of course the titular aspect is the Pokemons. These take care of the turn-based RPG combat. Each Pokemon has a type (like grass, fire, or water), and these types have advantages and disadvantages against other classes.
- Collect ’em up: Pokemon’s greatest influence in the video-game industry is the collection. You catch and train Pokemons worldwide, so games like Pokemon tend to have a collectible mechanic as well.
- Turn-based Combat: Even though you have a team of six Pokemon (your party), battles are mostly 1v1. Each player takes turns to choose between four attacks, items, feeling, or choosing another Pokémon. You can bypass the enemy’s turn by causing status effects like stuns or by having extra stats like attack speed.
- Advanced Stats: Pokémons can level up to raise their HP, attack, attack speed, and other standard stats. They can also learn powers as they level up and evolve to more powerful versions. On top of that, various advanced stats may buff the Pokémon depending on your choices and battles.
- Starter Pokemon: To start your Pokemon trainer journey, you get to choose between three Pokemons. The one you choose often becomes your strongest companion.
- Online Features: Lastly, these games allow you to trade Pokémons and items with other players. Additionally, they will enable you to fight against other players.
Because of these elements, we’re looking at many Japanese titles and JRPGs.
Games like Pokemon convey the feeling of family-friendly creature collecting, exploration, discovery, story, and graphics. The combat is optional, though, but we’ll also share something for the fans of turn-based RPGs.
Games Like Pokemon
- Developer: Crema
- Publisher: Humble Bundle
- Release Date: January 2020 (Early Access)
- Platform: Windows, PS5, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch
Nintendo makes games for families, kids, and general audiences. Pokemon is a family-friendly experience, a cool game where kids can enter the RPG genre. Temtem is a more “mature” take if you believe collecting monsters could be for adults. But by that, I mean the themes, challenge, and difficulty are higher.
That said, Temtem is a 3D MMO creature-collection adventure. You explore the Airborne Archipelago islands, where you discover species and make friends. As a Temtem tamer, you’ll also engage in turn-based combat against other trainers and Dojo leaders. The battles allow you to have 5 Temtem, as the enemy can ban 3 of the 8 Temtems in your squad.
This happens through a story campaign, where you journey through the six islands. The goal is defeating the Clan Belsoto with your Temtems. There’s also a persistent online world, and other players can see you or join you on a co-op adventure.
Lastly, you can buy a house and customize it. Customization options include buying furniture and coloring walls. Likewise, you can customize your character with hats, shirts, pants, and other apparel.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
- Developer: Capcom, Marvelous
- Publisher: Capcom
- Release Date: July 2021
- Platform: Windows, Nintendo Switch
Instead of playing as a Monster Hunter, you’re rather a Rider. Riders can make friends with friendly monsters, “Monsties.” They can fight alongside these beasts, explore the world together, and uncover an epic story.
You are Red’s grandson, and Red was a legendary Rider. Your story begins when you find Ena, a Wyverian girl who’s guarding a Rathalos egg. Together, your goal is to take care of the egg while it awakens. It’s up to you to prevent the Rathalos from becoming a menace to the whole world.
All of this happens within an open-world, turn-based RPG. You freely explore the world, capture other monsters, and fight other creatures as you complete the game’s main quest, as well as several side quests. As for the combat, you fight with your Monstie party, as well as the protagonist and Ena.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive
- Developer: Square Enix
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Release Date: July 2017
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia
Dragon Quest is a classic and legendary RPG series, ideal for turn-based combat fans. The latest entry comes with Akira Toriyama designs (Dragon Ball) and Koichi Sugiyama music (the series composer). Then, the Definitive Edition adds extra character quests, more soundtrack, 2D and 3D graphic models, and Japanese voice-acting. Also, the edition gives you the ability to fine-tune the difficulty.
The eleventh entry is a stand-alone experience, so you don’t have to know anything about the series. According to many Japanese media, it’s also the best in the franchise. For example, the iconic Famitsu magazine gave it a perfect 40/40 score. For example, the combat mechanics are simple enough for beginners and deep enough for hardcore fans.
This is a coming-of-age story, where you play as a young man traveling with his childhood friends. He discovers he’s a reincarnation of a legendary hero. However, the kingdom sees him as an enemy. Then, the classic RPG adventure goes across an open world to face an ancient evil and reach redemption.
There’re no monsters to collect on Dragon Quest but plenty to defeat. Overall, it’s an epic story full of twists, action, and cutesy graphics. It’s a classic open-world turn-based RPG with a family-friendly tone and a party of interesting companions. It’s an adventure with over 100 hours of playtime, tons of side content, and dozens of mini-games.
- Developer: VEWO Interactive Inc.
- Publisher: PQube Limited, VEWO Interactive Inc.
- Release Date: August 2020
- Platform: Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4
Nexomon: Extinction looks like a Pokemon clone, but it’s much more than that. First, it features every element of the Nintendo series, but it refines everything to perfection. Secondly, it adds new elements to the combat mechanics to make it harder.
In particular, it has a stamina system that forces players to rotate their monster party. So, instead of focusing on a core team, players have to manage a larger roster of Nexomons. That said, the Nexomons have great design, dialogue, personalities, and plenty of humor.
As you expect, this is a monster-catching game with an original story and over 300 creatures. Also, it features an open-world “Metroidvania” map with graphics that look like an HD remaster of a classic Pokemon game. Lastly, it features turn-based combat with a plethora of advanced mechanics.
Then, there’s the plot. The world is facing extinction because of the Tyrant Nexomon. You join a Tamer’s guild for an epic journey to stop the evil creature. From story to mechanics, Nexomon is a Pokemon game by another developer. And I don’t think this is saying something bad: Pokemon fans are exactly the audience they are searching for.
Digimon World: Next Order
- Developer: B.B. Studio
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Release Date: March 2016
- Platform: PS4, PSVita
Digimon is definitely Pokemon’s main competitor, both anime and video-game series. The digital monster franchise has been around for decades as Pokemon, therefore refining their formula over their years.
Digimon World: Next Order puts an emphasis on raising and training Digimon. It’s like a modern take of the Digital Monster game, a digital pet across the Digimon franchise, like a Tamagotchi.
You play in an open world, and you can train two Digimons at a time. You train them with interactive mechanics. For instance, you can feed, praise, scold, and give gifts to the pets to create bonds. If you don’t meet the Digimon requirements, they collapse, die, and are reborn into a new egg.
Over time, they level up. Ad what they get through levels is more stats for real-time combat (not turn-based). With a third-person perspective, you travel the world and combat against enemy Digimons. Battles happen in real-time inside circular arenas. Your companion Digimons move automatically by using the AI strategy you select. Moreover, you issue specific commands to achieve victory.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Complete Edition
- Developer: Media.Vision
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Release Date: March 2015
- Platform: PSVita, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Windows
Digimon and Pokemon are all-time rivals, just like Ash and Gary. These two series dominated the kid-friendly anime scene in the ’90s. Many years later, both are still relevant, and Digimon is still quite popular in Japan and the West.
Cyber Sleuth is one of the best games in the Digimon series. Moreover, the Complete Edition adds the events of the sequel, Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory.
You play as a cyber detective or as a powerful hacker. The goal is to solve a sinister mystery that revolves around the Digimon. This happens in a thrilling adventure between the real and digital worlds. You can capture over 300 Digimons and train them to battle as you go through the story.
Then, you can build your Digimon party to face other opponents in the classic turn-based battles you expect from the series. These battles have some advanced RPG systems. Yet, they are easy enough for beginners to understand. So, overall, Cyber Sleuth is one of the best games like Pokemon.
- Developer: Glumberland
- Publisher: Glumberland
- Release Date: July 15, 2020 (Early Access)
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
You train and grow the Ooblets. They are tiny, adorable, and can tag along with you as you explore Oob, a strange land. Here, you’ll understand the game’s main mechanic: Ooblets can face other Ooblets in dance battles for XP.
Then, back on your farm, you can design a home, customize your characters, cultivate your ground, and sell your goods for profit. It’s a regular farming simulator with the addition of Ooblets you can take care of. In particular, you can plant Ooblet seeds and grow baby Ooblets
Lastly, Oob is an open world with various biomes, unique locations, plants, and characters. You can also join Ooblet clubs, buy seeds, furniture, and machinery.
- Developer: Monomi Park
- Publisher: Monomi Park
- Release Date: August 2017
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Slime Rancher is about catching them all; only the creatures are slimy this time. You play as Beatrix LeBeau, a rancher exploring the land with a Vacpack. The Vacpack is a tool and the main mechanic, as it’s essentially a pack and a gun that can absorb and shoot objects.
With this mechanic, Slime Rancher is an open-world game with creatures you can collect, as well as puzzles. You find Slimes hopping around the world, and you absorb them with your gun. Then, you plop them on your ranch and let them be happy. Lastly, Slimes drop “Plorts,” the game’s currency.
There’s no combat, though. Instead, the game is about taking care of your Slimes, like, say, taking care of a farm. Slimes grow and evolve. Moreover, you can create your Slimes over time, and there’s a whole lot of variants you can make. However, some Slimes can attack you, and only your gun can save you from the trap.
Lastly, I should say Slime Rancher is also a first-person sandbox. The plucky rancher protagonist faces challenges, mini-games, and opportunities as she collects fortune and grows her farming business.
World of Final Fantasy Maxima
- Developer: Tose
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Release Date: October 2016
- Platform: Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PSVita
World of Final Fantasy feels a lot like the classic Pokemon RPGs dear to our memories. The game takes elements from the Nintendo franchise and adds the unique JRPG storytelling the series offers.
You play as twins Lann and Reynn, suffering from amnesia. Their journey is about recovering their past, but the journey takes them to peril. The land, Gymoire, is full of Mirages, monsters like Pokemons. All of this happens in a cross-over tale that adds characters and references from other Final Fantasy games.
So, with cutesy graphics, you explore an open-world 3D map to complete the adventure. Here, you face random battles against other Mirages, as well as scripted encounters. In battles, you control a party of characters against the monster on the classic Final Fantasy turn-based system. Characters can use skills, magic, melee attacks, and items. Then, monsters have class types with particular resistances and weaknesses.
Lastly, the upgraded version is a re-release. It adds improved graphics, extra Final Fantasy characters (like Noctis and Lighting), and more Mirages. Overall, it’s a great option for young fans of either Pokemon, Final Fantasy, turn-based, or classic RPG titles.
Yokai Watch 3
- Developer: Level 5
- Publisher: JP, Nintendo, Level 5
- Release Date: July 2016
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Yokai Watch is the latest installment of the video-game anime series. These are also RPG titles currently available for Nintendo consoles. As Pokemon games, each entry debuts in several versions. For example, Yokai Watch 3 premiered in Japan with the “Tempura,” “Sukiyaki,” and “Sushi” versions.
The third entry is a must for Pokemon fans, as it’s a game that feels absolutely similar. See, Yo-kais are spirits that come in all shapes and forms. They roam an open-world land, and you, as the protagonist, capture them.
The protagonists are Nate and Hailey. Hailey, in particular, runs a Yo-kai detective agency. Together, they capture over 600 spirits. But aside from catching them, you can also befriend the Yo-kais after a battle. Then, you train these spirits for turn-based grid battles, and each one has its unique systems and commands.
You explore a cute world full of interactive NPCs, main quests, challenges, and mini-games outside combat. Everything the game offers is about family-friendly fun with just a dash of difficulty.
Persona 4 Golden
- Developer: Atlus
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Release Date: 2012, 2020 (Windows version)
- Platform: Windows, PSVita
Persona 4 Golden is not exactly a game like Pokemon, but it’s something you would enjoy as a Pokemon fan. That’s because both series rely on core JRPG mechanics. And it’s also because Persona 4 is a game with adolescent characters for younger audiences.
This is a coming-of-age story. The protagonist, and his friends, are investigating a series of murders. Along the journey, you’ll see how the game blends traditional RPG systems with social sim elements.
In essence, the playtime carries out on the protagonist’s daily life and the mysterious TV World. The character mingles, bonds, goes to school, and plays scripted events daily. Players need to rescue victims, investigate the murders, and combat the alternate world.
The main focus is the Personas, which are avatars representing inner selves. Each Persona fights with a set of skills and stats. They can also level up, and they form your party of adventures. That said, combat inside the TV World happens with a fast turn-based system. Lastly, instead of an open world, you play through multiple dungeons, floors, and closed areas.
Tales of Arise
- Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Release Date: September 2021
- Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series
Tales of Arise is a classic JRPG full of gorgeous details. Most impressively, the world has a unique graphics shader that imitates watercolor painting and anime. It means the world looks attractive, full of delicate visuals and colorful effects.
Then, you explore a rich open-world, Dahna. It has a mix of natural and tribal environments. The game allows you to travel freely across the terrain, like swimming and climbing. Moreover, activities include campfires, cooking food, and bonding with NPCs.
As you explore the world, you’ll find plenty of combat as well. It’s real-time combat with various abilities, a party of companions, and many mechanics. The systems include changing combos, Boost Attacks, synchronizing attacks between companions, and more.
Overall, Tales of Arise is a popular JRPG that’s casual and easy for beginners. It’s fun and light enough to be family-friendly, and it’s about evolving a party of characters. Then, the story is about growing together, and the theme is about overcoming hardships.