The Pokémon franchise is the most popular entertainment franchise of all time, worth around $94 billion. The popular franchise consists of games, anime, and other forms of entertainment, capturing the imagination of all ages for generations.
There are eight different generations of Pokémon covering numerous main series games such as Pokémon Red and spin-off titles like Pokémon Ranger.
The games vary in quality and have helped the franchise become the super entertainment franchise it is today. Despite the Pokémon games dominating the turn-based RPG genre for decades, other games like Pokémon are just as good and even better.
This article will outline the 15 great games like Pokémon to play in 2021.
Best Games Like Pokémon: Our Top Pick👌👌
- Yo-Kai Watch Series
- Digimon Series
- Dragon Quest Monsters Series
- Monster Hunter Stories Series
- Monster Crown
- Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
- World of Final Fantasy
- Yu-Gi-Oh Series
- Fossil Fighters Series
- Spectrobes Series
- Bulu Monster
- Enchanted Arms
1. Yo-Kai Watch
Yo-Kai Watch is a Pokémon-inspired series that took all the classic elements of the Pokémon series and added a fresh take on them. The first Yo-Kai Watch game (Yo-Kai Watch) was released in 2013 in Japan and quickly became an instant success as an alternative to Pokémon.
The game was later released globally in 2015, finding an avid fan-based almost instantly upon its release in western markets.
Yo-Kai Watch incorporates the same turn-based RPG elements of Pokémon, but you catch Ghost-like creatures called Yo-Kai instead of catching Pocket Monsters. The first game in the series Yo-Kai Watch allowed players to catch over 200 different Yo-Kai.
The game featured turn-based gameplay, a fairly expansive world, and fantastic graphics that looked superior to Pokémon. The Yo-Kai Watch series consists of four main series Yo-Kai watch games, alongside several spin-off games. Across Metacritic, the games have been reviewed well, with most games reviewing in the ’70s.
The series also has an anime alongside other entertainment mediums. Overall, Yo-Kai Watch is a game like Pokémon, incorporating much of the same gameplay mechanics as the Pocket Monster series and arguably considered better.
2. Digimon Series
When most think of Pokémon, Digimon might spring to mind. The popular series found its fame in the anime, rivaling Pokémon for the top monster-collecting series on TV.
Despite many calling Digimon a knockoff of the Pokémon series, Digimon is widely popular, retaining a significant fan base, although not as big as Pokémon.
Digimon found fame on TV and within games, releasing several games across console platforms, including the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita.
Examples include the Digimon story/world series of games which consisted of six separate titles spread across platforms and consoles. The game incorporated much of the classic turn-based RPG elements of the Pokémon games alongside the classic monster-catching mechanics of the games, with players catching Digimon.
Surprisingly, the Digimon series of games have been around as long as Pokémon, with the first game Digimon World releasing on the PlayStation 1 and Microsoft Windows between 1999-2001.
In total, there are over 15 Digimon games, with the latest game releasing in 2018. In 2022, the next game is expected in the Digimon series, that being Digimon Survive, a survival RPG releasing on all major platforms.
Overall, the Digimon series hasn’t been reviewed particularly well, with most games ranging between the ’50s and ’60s. Nevertheless, the Digimon games are games like Pokémon, but with the latter being notably better.
Nexomon is a fairy new monster cathing franchise releasing originally on IOS in 2017 and gradually making its way onto consoles. The most recent game in the series is Nexomon Extinction releasing in 2020 on the Nintendo Switch and other systems.
The game consists of over 300 Nexomon to collect, battle, and train as you defeat evil tyrant trainers and Nexomon.
Nexomon Extinction also includes diverse regions to explore, secrets, and a range of other features such as difficulty levels not found currently in the Pokémon games.
The Nexomon games such as extinction are games like Pokémon, taking direct inspiration from the franchise in classic monster-catching gameplay and turn-based battles when battling trainers and Nexomon.
It is a refreshing addition to the genre, adding its unique take on an area dominated by Pokémon. The series has been reviewed well, with the latest game scoring between 70 and 80 from critics on Metacritic.
4. Dragon Quest Monsters Series
Dragon Quest is one of the most recognizable turn-based RPGs on the planet, with the first game in the series releasing in 1986. Alongside the classic main series Dragon Quest games, spin-off games such as Dragon Quest Monsters are games like Pokémon.
Dragon Quest Monsters is a series of games within the Dragon Quest franchise separate from the main games. Originally developed for children, the games later developed an older following due to their hard difficulty.
The series has heavy Pokémon influences taking the capturing, breeding, and training elements from the games.
Unlike the main series games, the players’ characters do not engage in combat. Rather, the monsters themselves, once captured and trained, do the battling.
Thus, the Dragon Quest Monsters series is much like Pokémon in that both involve monster-catching, training, and battling.
There are eight games across the Dragon quest monsters series, spanning from 1998-2016, with all games reviewing well-achieving scores in the high 70’s.
5. Monster Hunter Stories Series
The Monster Hunter franchise is well known for its non-stop monster-slaying action. The most recent games in the franchise, Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter World have accumulated a huge player base globally.
Although the franchise is known for its classic third-person hack and slash gameplay, not many know about the Monster Hunter Stories spin-off series.
Monster Hunter Stories is a unique spin-off series within the Monster Hunter franchise. It takes classic RPG gameplay, characters, and monsters found in the main series of games and gives them a Pokémon-like twist.
Instead of brutally slaying Monsters, the series has you hatch monsters and use them in the battle against other monsters. The series effectively turns these monsters into your pets, allowing you to train them ready for action, essentially like Pokémon.
Similarly, much like Pokémon, the game features turn-based RPG gameplay during matches and includes combo attacks and specific Monster characteristics and abilities that you can manipulate during breeding.
Thus the Monster Hunter Stories of games is like Pokémon in that it features much of the same gameplay mechanics and features. The first game in the series was released in 2016 in Japan and 2017 worldwide, with the latest game in the series Monster Hunter Stories 2 releasing in 2021.
Both games in the series reviewed well on Metacritic, with scores ranging from the high 70’s to low 80’s.
TemTem is a textbook definition of a turn-based RPG involving monster-catching elements. TemTem was released in 2020 by game developers Crema.
The game expands the RPG elements found in games such as Pokémon and involves extensive online-based role-playing, essentially making TemTem an MMORPG.
TemTem takes heavy influence from Pokémon, giving players the ability to capture and train TemTem to battle other players in the massive online open world.
The game follows the journey of a new TemTem trainer who sets out to explore the world of TemTem, encountering mysteries and villainous teams along the way, such as Clan Belsoto.
The game was hugely popular when it was released in 2020, with over 500,000 downloads on steam in the first month.TemTem was also released PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, and Nintendo Switch, revolutionizing the monster-catching genre of video games.
TemTem has helped push the genre in a new direction within the console space, toward massive multiplayer online experiences not otherwise known within this particular section of gaming.
Although the game is similar to Pokémon in terms of gameplay mechanics, it is different. The Pokémon Company has not yet made Pokémon a fully online multiplayer experience in an open world.
TemTem has set the bar for what the potential of monster-catching massive online experiences can be. Pokémon should be looking behind its shoulder.
7. Monster Crown
Monster Crown is a monster-catching game released in 2020. The game involves you catching and breeding dark monsters to create new species as you travel through Crown Island, intending to stop the evil Philispoher Kings from returning.
The game features over two hundred monsters to collect, a deep story, a huge world, and an online battle and training system. Monster Crown is a game like Pokémon in that it features the classic monster-catching mechanics of the series but adds a unique but dark twist.
The addition of complex breeding systems in the game adds monster variety and creates interesting monster combinations, adding significant depth. Monster Crown is a great game that any fan of the genre should pick up and play.
8. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
The Ni no Kuni franchise has always been popular amongst fans of RPG’s Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the second game in the Ni no Kuni franchise released in 2012 in Japan and 2013 globally by developers Level 5 and Studio Ghibli.
The game follows Oliver bringing his mother back from another world with help from a fairy named Drippy. The game features classic turn-based RPG gameplay found in the Pokémon franchise and monster-catching mechanics, with players capturing and using monsters known as familiars in battle.
The game is highly rated amongst critics and fans alike, achieving an average critic score of 86 on Metacritic and 8.2 from users, making it one of the highest-rated turn-based RPGs ever.
Overall, the Ni no Kuni games are like the Pokémon games in that they have similar turn-based gameplay and monster capture mechanics.
It is well worth your money for anyone who has not had the chance to play Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch to pick up and play the game.
9. World of Final Fantasy
The World of Final Fantasy is a unique spin-off Final Fantasy game released worldwide in 2017. The game follows the life of Reynn and Lann as they seek to regain their lost memories.
The World of Final Fantasy was originally developed to attract a younger audience due to its cartoon style but quickly gained a following outside of children. The game had you tame monsters known as Mirages, which you could use to clear obstacles and battle.
The game also included a range of other characters from the Final Fantasy series and turned-based battle mechanics. It is clear that the World of Final Fantasy is inspired by Pokémon, with the look and feel of the game taking ideas from Pokémon.
Similarly, the capture and battle mechanics are similar. As a result, it is interesting that developers Square Enix took the franchise in a slightly new direction.
Nevertheless, the success of the Pokémon franchise and, more specifically, its ability to appeal to kids makes this game an obvious choice for Square Enix to attract a younger audience to its games.
Overall, the World of Final Fantasy achieved an average score of 77 on Metacritic and a 7.7 from users. Although Pokémon is not like the main series of Final Fantasy games, the World of Final Fantasy is similar to Pokémon.
Nevertheless, this game is a must-have for any fan of the Final Fantasy series or the Pokémon franchise. It is a great game and one of the more underrated and least heard of Final Fantasy games.
10. Yu-Gi-Oh Series
Although not as famous as Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh comes close. Unlike Pokémon, which went from games to tv and trading cards, Yu-Gi-Oh did the opposite, going from trading cards and tv to video games. As a result, the games are not as well known.
Nevertheless, the games have a long lineage stretching from 1998 when the first game of the series was released (Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters) to the present day with the release of Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
The Yu-Gi-Oh franchise’s games incorporate much of the same mechanics of the Pokémon games, with card collecting mechanics similar to monster collecting in Pokémon.
Likewise, the Yu-Gi-Oh games also feature similar turn-based gameplay battles when dueling. Thus, the Yu-Gi-Oh series games are like Pokémon.
Although the Yu-Gi-Oh games do differ in how they operate, with some games featuring different gameplay features and open-world elements, at its core, the gameplay remains the same, and its similarities to Pokémon.
Overall the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise has released nearly sixty games, and although not as successful as Pokémon, they hold fond memories in the hearts of many Yu-Gi-Oh fans.
11. Fossil Fighters Series
Fossil Fighters is an RPG series developed by Red Entertainment, with the first game releasing in 2008. The game involved you becoming a fossil fighter in the hope of becoming a master fighter.
Fossil Fighters featured dinosaur-like creatures called Vivosaurs which you fight against other players within turn-based gameplay. The series also allowed you to train your Vivosaur in preparation for these battles and discover new Vivosaurs through digging for fossils.
Thus, the Fossil Fighter games are like the Pokémon franchise, with you being able to collect, train and battle Vivosaurs similar to Pokémon.
Overall the Fossil Fighter series consisted of three main games, with mediocre reviews from critics, ranging from the high 50’s to 70 on Metacritic.
12. Spectrobes Series
Spectrobes is another Pokémon-inspired game developed by Jupiter and Genki. The game follows protagonists Rallen and Jeena, who use the power of the Spectrobes to defend against the evil villain Krux.
The series consists of three games. Two were released on the Nintendo DS and one on the Nintendo Wii. The game has you uncover and use in battle the Spectrobes, alien-like creatures that can evolve and be trained into powerful monsters.
Thus, the Spectrobe series features similar monster collecting mechanics like Pokémon and therefore is like Pokémon. Overall, the Spectrobes series reviewed well on Metacritic, with the scores ranging from the high 60”s to70’s.
13. Bulu Monster
So far, this article has covered games like Pokémon on consoles, on mobile platforms, Pokémon-inspired games are also numerous. One example of a mobile game like Pokémon is Bulu Monster.
Bulu Monster is a game released for IOS in 2013 that resembles Pokémon in nearly every way. The game has you explore an epic world filled with monsters that you can capture, train and battle with players from across the globe.
The game features over 150 unique monsters to collect, which you capture using balls, and a Monster Book, which allows you to record monsters you have captured and those you have seen.
The Monster Book directly resembles the Pokedex, and even the characters themselves look like characters from within the Pokémon games. The games, battle, and capture mechanics are also similar. Thus, the game is near identical to Pokémon.
Ooblets is a creature collecting game developed by Glumberland and released in 2020. The game has you collect, train, and battle creatures called Ooblets. Ooblets has you build and grow a farm, with you able to train your Ooblets from growing crops.
The game also lets you sell crops and items, allowing you to build your farm further. Ooblets consist of several regions to explore and trainers to defeat using a turn-based battle system.
The game also features customization options and the ability to upgrade your house and unlock new quests and missions as you level up your farm and explore the world.
Ooblets is a game like Pokémon in that it features similar collect em’ all mechanics and turn-based gameplay.
15. Enchanted Arms
Enchanted Arms is a role-playing game released in 2006 by Japanese developers From Sofware. The game was released on Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 and followed students Atsuma, Makoto, and Toya as they use golems to fight against the evil forces which want to destroy their world.
The game features golem collecting elements alongside a JRPG twist. Thus, the game takes influence from the Pokémon franchise through its monster-collecting gameplay.
All in all, Enchanted Arms is a great game featuring a great story, fantastic gameplay, and a great combat system, with classic JRPG elements. The game is a must-have for any Pokémon or JRPG fan.
Overall Enchanted Arms scored well on Metacritic with a score around the mid to high 60’s. The game is well worth picking up for fans of From Software and JRPG’s.
All in all, this article has covered the 15 great games like Pokémon to play in 2021. As highlighted, there are many games like Pokémon. From mobile to console, games have been inspired by the simplicity of Pokémon’s monster-catching RPG mechanics.
Smaller titles such as Nexomon and Ooblets were inspired by Pokémon taking classic elements from the Pocket Monster franchise and incorporating them into their games.
Similarly, the franchise has inspired bigger titles such as Monster Hunter Stories and Final Fantasy World, with classic elements evident within the games.
As a result, it is clear to see that, across the spectrum, Pokémon has inspired countless different games, from smaller games to larger ones. It is also clear that although games have tried to replicate the Pokémon formula, none have come close in terms of appeal.
Indeed, some games such as Nexomon and the Yo-Kai Watch series of games may be better than some of the Pokémon titles but still lack the global appeal of Pokémon.
Thus, it feels like many games are riding off of the wave of the Pokémon phenom. Thus other games in the genre may never reach the popularity of Pokémon.
Nevertheless, games such as Yo-Kai Watch and Nexomon must continue to push the genre forward to ensure that the Pokémon franchise continues to innovate, as it has been doing with the release of titles such as Pokémon Legends: Arceus in 2022.
All in all, the monster-catching genre of turn-based RPGs is thriving and sure to grow as more games get developed in the future. Not just from the Pokémon Company but other smaller and larger game developers.