Pokémon Sword & Shield are finally out for the Switch, but what about everyone who does not own Nintendo's latest hardware? Or, perhaps, are searching for something similar but still different enough to Game Freak's franchise? As a license, Pokémon has inspired countless RPGmaker copycats, with quite a few being worth checking out.
Despite Pokémon's popularity, it is not particularly easy to find titles that scratch the same itch on consoles not owned by Nintendo. Today, let's take a look at some games that should satisfy fans of the series.
10 Persona 5
Atlus' JRPG franchise has exploded in popularity following the release of the fantastic Persona 5, a stylish and expansive experience packed with likable characters and over 200 creatures to catch. Known as "personas," these entities are the physical embodiment of a human's subconscious, with their designs varying greatly from one to the next.
Unlike Game Freak's series, Personas are meant to be swapped out regularly, so do not get too attached to them. Persona 5 is far more story-driven than most Pokémon games, and there is a heavy focus on developing the protagonist's social connections. While the monster-catching mechanic is similar, Persona 5 is entirely its own thing.
9 Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Time to get the most obvious example out of the way. Now, in all fairness, the PlayStation 1's Digimon World trilogy changed up the gameplay considerably from one entry to the next, with only the second game playing all that similar to Pokémon.
Out of all the franchise's many releases, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is comfortably the best and serves as a celebration of the license's storied history. With around 250 Digimon to catch and an addictive DNA Digivolution system, Cyber Sleuth will definitely scratch the itch for anyone who just loves completing an expansive roster. The turn-based gameplay allows three Digimon to battle at any given moment but is otherwise nothing too unique.
8 Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch
Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch should be played not because of any comparisons to Pokémon but simply because it is one of the best JRPGs of the 2010s. Along with getting some help from Studio Ghibli, Level-5 is an experienced studio who has produced classics like Dark Cloud 2, and Ni no Kuni is the company's crowning achievement.
Like Pokémon, Ni no Kuni pivots around catching (or taming) monsters known as familiars, who also level up and even evolve. Battles play out in real-time, although the player is still primarily just giving commands to the familiars. The story is also brilliant.
7 Monster Hunter Stories
Monster Hunter's main series has practically nothing in common with Pokémon; conversely, Monster Hunter Stories is woven from the same cloth as Game Freak's series. Along with being on a Nintendo portable console, Stories goes against the franchise's norm by featuring a relatively robust storyline, turn-based combat, and allows monsters to be taken into battle.
Rather than simply catching the wild monsters, the player needs to steal and hatch monster eggs. Once the creature has grown, they can be ridden and used in fights. There is also a decent progression system in place for the monsters, although it is not quite as engaging as Pokémon's.
6 World Of Final Fantasy
World of Final Fantasy is a must-play for fans of Square Enix's franchise, even if it is not all that comparable to many of the mainline entries. Set in the world of Grymoire, Lann and Reynn are twins with the ability to tame creatures known as "mirages," which are generally monsters taken from throughout the Final Fantasy series.
The story offers some fun fan service and the cute art-style compliments World of Final Fantasy's tone. The battle system permits mirages to be stacked upon Lann and Reynn, granting stat boosts and special abilities during battle.
5 Yo-kai Watch 2
Yo-kai Watch was instantly compared to Pokémon, and it is hard to argue against that reaction. Level-5's franchise got off to a pretty rocky start with a rather mediocre first entry, but the subsequent sequels have done a respectable job of fine-tuning the experience.
Taking place in a metropolis haunted by Yo-kai (spirits), it is the main character's job to befriend these entities and, if successful, summon them to fight even worse Yo-kai. The games are flawed but quite charming, and the setting is a nice change from the standard fantasy worlds seen in many of these types of games.
4 Jade Cocoon 2
Consider yourself to be a bug-type Pokémon trainer? If the answer is a resounding yes, then Jade Cocoon 2 is the game for you. While the first game is pretty decent, 2001's sequel fixes many of its predecessor's shortcomings. Rather than catching bugs, eggs are either rewarded after winning certain battles or can be found in the dungeons.
Speaking of dungeons, Jade Cocoon 2 is split into four forests that can be accessed through a hub world. Each area is defined by one of four elements, a mechanic that increases the importance of selecting the best team for any given forest. The combat system has a few surprises up its sleeve but is not too dissimilar to Pokémon's turn-based battles.
3 Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse
Nowadays, Atlus' Megami Tensei tends to be overshadowed by its spin-off series, Persona. This is unfortunate, as the former is an absolutely fantastic and quite consistent JRPG series. For those who are not too fond of Persona's social links, then Shin Megami Tensei is ideal, as the focus is primarily on combat and exploring dungeons.
Apocalypse is the latest entry in the series and takes place in an alternative reality to Shin Megami Tensei IV, which is also a brilliant game. Megami Tensei has a considerably darker tone than Pokémon, and Apocalypse's combat system puts a higher emphasis on tactically exploiting the opponent's weaknesses. More importantly, demons can be convinced to join the protagonist's team.
2 Monster Rancher 2
Tecmo's long-running franchise about breeding monsters has, sadly, not been particularly relevant since the PlayStation 2 era. While all four numbered entries are quite enjoyable, Monster Rancher 2 arguably marks the franchise's peak.
In all honesty, Monster Rancher is very different from Pokémon, as there is not all that much focus on exploration or combat. The goal is to breed the best monsters capable of competing in tournaments, with the ultimate goal being to defeat the highest-ranked opponents in the game. It is simple but a great deal of fun and Monster Rancher 2 offers plenty of different monster types to discover.
1 Siralim 3
Disappointed by Pokémon Sword & Shield's limited roster? Well, Siralim 3 features over 700 creatures to tame! Opting to eliminate anything resembling a pesky story, Siralim 3 distills the monster-catching subgenre to its essence, with the goal being to fight, catch, and train creatures for the sole purpose of battling even more creatures.
The randomly generated dungeons and no level cap means Siralim 3 is virtually endless. Depth is delivered through the creatures' unique traits, as building a well-balanced team is pivotal for surviving in a dungeon.