WITH Pokémon being such a wildly successful franchise, it’s no wonder other developers want a piece of the pie.
Ever since the first Pokémon game became a worldwide hit, studios across the globe have been trying to capture that same magic, with varying degrees of success.
Although it’s unlikely that anything will ever topple Pikachu’s position at the top of the mountain, there are plenty of games out there that Pokémon fans will enjoy thanks to their similarities.
Persona 2: Innocent Sin & Eternal Punishment
You can’t talk about JRPGs without mentioning Persona. This series has been creating a wide variety of weird and wonderful monsters for almost as long as Pokémon.
Every game in the series will have you going out there, battling shadows and eventually taking them on as your Persona to use in battle.
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It’s got turn-based combat, a bunch of different elemental types with different levels of effectiveness, and a big ol’ dose of addictive collection about it.
Plus, you get a great life-sim and romance game alongside your monster battling.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
If you want to stay inside the Nintendo bubble for your Pokémon-like games then look no further than the Paper Mario series.
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The bright and colourful style will be familiar to any Pokémon fans, but in terms of gameplay, The Thousand Year Door gets the closest.
You can wander the world in this game to find a bunch of different battle partners. They all pair with your abilities differently, and optimising your battle strategy is all about making the most of what your partner has to offer.
Final Fantasy 7
Although the recent Final Fantasy 7 remake for PS5 is great, it’s the original game that we’re talking about here.
The active-time battle system – an alteration on the traditional turn-based battle system – isn’t like Pokémon, but what you can do with it most certainly is.
When you dive deep and learn things like stat-boosting moves and items, you’ll quickly realise just how complex of a system it is, and how easily you can cheese it if you know what you’re doing.
If you like the overall tone and upbeat atmosphere of the Pokémon world but want a much more substantial story, then Xenoblade Chronicles is the perfect series for you.
Although you can’t capture the monsters, there is a wide array of weird and wonderful monsters to battle, some of which make even the worst Pokémon ever look pretty.
Then, in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you can mix and match your Blades based on elemental and weapon type to perfectly optimise your battle performance.
Ni no Kuni
Cutesy art style? Check. A bunch of whacky monster designs? Check. The ability to tame them and use them in battle? Check.
Ni no Kuni is a charming game that borrows from Pokémon in a major way. However, it still makes sure to put its own spin on the battling.
If that isn’t enough, then an engaging story in a warm and welcoming world should do the trick.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon
Yakuza certainly isn’t the first franchise that comes to mind when you say “Pokémon” but this turn-based entry in the franchise takes a lot of cues from Pikachu and pals.
Random encounters, recruiting members to your party, elemental strengths and weaknesses, this game’s got it all, plus the more adult presentation of the Yazuka series.
Digimon: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory
Pokémon and Digimon are two franchises that will always be tied together in history, even though they don’t have much to do with each other in the grand scheme of things.
That said, you might find some of the Digimon looking like fake Pokémon designs.
In this game, you’ll be fighting with a full party of Digimon at all times, and things like evolution are mid-battle rewards for success, rather than a permanent change to your partners.
Although it hasn’t made it big in the west, Yo-Kai Watch is a huge series in Japan, releasing a whopping 19 games in just seven years.
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The yokai themselves are all demons based on famous Japanese ghost stories, which makes them an excellent way to learn about some Japanese culture.
It may seem pretty dark, but Pokémon is no stranger to terrifying demonic creatures that feed on human souls, so why not give this a go?
Written by Ryan Woodrow on behalf of GLHF.
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