Pokémon is a goliath among video game franchises. Next to Mario, Pikachu and the rest of the Pokedex are some of the most recognizable video game characters on the planet - and you'll only find them on Nintendo consoles. Pokemon will never come to PC in an official capacity. If you want to catch every creature in a game, you're going to have to get creative. And that's why we've put together a list of 10 high-quality Pokemon-likes that you can play on PC easily. No emulation required.
So what makes a Pokémon-like game? You must have a large collection of monsters that you can tame and fight in an RPG world. That's basically all. Not every game on our list fits that description perfectly, but these are the wonders of monster taming games. Some of them are indie wonders with incredibly creative twists on the usual formula. Others are retro throwbacks designed to tint as close to the premises as possible. And they're not all indie games either – there are some real console classics you can pick up on PC these days, and if you're in the market to capture weird creatures and evolve, we've got 10 really good ones. games you might want to try.
The mother of all Pokemon on PC, Temtem is the real deal. Originally revealed via Kickstarter in May 2022, Temtem has been through many waves of early access polish and is becoming a real contender for the crown Pokémon thanks to what makes this game different from its inspiration.
Temtem might be Pokemon with the numbers dropped, but it's also an MMORPG - as you explore the world, you'll also be able to play alongside friends or foes while capturing Tems. The battles are also very different, with 2v2 being the standard setup; you will be able to control a group of two Tems, which will give you many more tactical options. Finally, support monsters can be more useful! And some pairs of Tems synergize, giving you extra bonuses in combat. You'll need to use all of these perks, as most Pokemon players will be shocked at how difficult Temtem is.
If you're looking for a game to play 50~hours that works almost basically exactly like Pokémon, Temtem is your best bet. Check out all the Tems in the Tempedia here for an overview of creature designs.
#9. Monster Sanctuary
The rest of the games on our list don't follow the exact Pokémon formula like Temtem so closely, and Monster Sanctuary is a huge departure - instead of playing like a monster-catching JRPG, you play as a side-scrolling wizard in a 2D Metroidvania world.
You'll have to catch and collect different monsters to unlock new traversal options, and you'll use your gang of gathered monsters to fight in JRPG-inspired turn-based battles – except your monsters are your party, so everyone works together all the time. It really is a hugely creative little indie platformer that goes above and beyond the content category. There are rare monsters you can hunt down to improve your powers, a huge island to explore…and yes, you can even level up and evolve your monsters.
There's a lot of variety and a shocking amount of depth - the monsters even have skill trees! You'll start by catching small creatures like wolves, move on to blobs and goblins, then there are robots and beings that defy explanation. Check out the full monster index here.
#8. Nexomon Extinction
Nexomon's Extinction does something that most Pokémon games don't really do - gives us a story worth caring about. We're back to games that really follow the Pokémon formula with Nexomon, a top-down JRPG with turn-based battles in an effort to catch 'em all. There are 381 Nexomon in this 32-bit world, but the real draw is the playful story that's full of amusing encounters and surprising twists.
Really, Nexomon looks and feels like a game Pokémon, but it has an anime-inspired flair that makes it less generic than other clone Pokémon like Temtem. It's not as lavishly produced and doesn't have 3D graphics, but Nexomon has some pretty cool designs and even some gameplay innovation – the Random Battles are easy to avoid (or find) for example.
You can even beat trainers in the wild! So why still not a feature in the new Pokemon Games? Nexomon's Extinction is an excellent RPG creature capture game with a perfect polish for Pokémon players looking for a deeper story. Hey, and take a look at the 381 Nexomon here.
#7. monster crown
I'm putting Monster Crown on this list for feature and functionality only – monster breeding. Not that there isn't much else to love Monster Raven! The monster taming game is on Steam Early-Access, so it's not fully perfected as of this writing. But, what it does have is a feature that every Pokémon trainer always imagined. When you raise two monsters together, they become one completely new crossover. There are over 200~monsters in the game, and combining one of them will create a whole new creature.
Monster Crown is more like Undertale – fitting, as it's an oddly dark take on the creature-capturing genre. Instead of capturing, you make pacts with the monsters on the island. You can then combine these monsters into new, more powerful monsters. It's a monster tamer's dream, and a feature that reminds me of the weird franken-Pokemon you can concoct by combining fossils in Pokémon Sword and Shield. I have to commend Monster Crown for going that extra monster mile.
The PC is not the traditional domain of JRPGs. No, CRPGs are far more common on PC - and the Geneforge Saga might just be the GPRC's indie answer to Pokémon. CRPGs are "computer RPGs", which really isn't a very useful acronym, but generally CRPGs are turn-based tactical isometric RPGs like Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, Arcane, Valley of the Wind ice cream, and many more. The Geneforge Saga is much like those games, except you're a weird wizard who creates monsters for your party. There are five games in total in this retro-inspired indie CRPG series, with plenty of monsters to cook up and a very different playstyle to master.
If you read that previous paragraph and had no idea what I was talking about, it's best to skip to the next entry. The Geneforge Saga won't appeal to everyone, but I really like the basic concept here, with your maniacal wizard forging bizarre creations and using them to complete quests in a vast open world. You're like a mad scientist for good.
#5. Digimon Story: Cyber Detective
Digimon and Pokémon have always seemed to run side by side, with Pokémon still leading the way as the dominant franchise. While Digimon has a pretty memorable cast of creatures - probably from that Saturday morning anime we've all been watching - it's only recently that Digimon video games have really been on our radar. The latest set of Cyber Detective games have embraced an aesthetic for slightly older kids, with bigger and badder monsters to tame and fight against (mostly) cute and harmless Pokemon.
Digimon are just more dangerous – like, literally, they have more spikes, more swords, more human-shaped monsters that look like half-dressed angels. One of the first Digimon Critters has a whole alternate evolutionary line of adding Gatling guns onto a dinosaur! And Digimon History: Cyber Sleuth finally has a game worth catching them all. These games are split between adventures in the cyberworld where you fight Digimon-equipped tamers and semi-simulated visits to the real world as stories unfold on both sides. If you're a fan of Persona 4 or Persona 5, Cyber Detective is specifically designed to scratch that itch - just for a pre-teen audience.
#4. Pixelmon reforgé
Pokemon is not officially available anywhere on PC. So PC gamers brought Pokémon to the PC themselves – and they did it through the infinitely moddable Minecraft build-survival game. The Pixelmon Reforged Mod can be downloaded here for free, and adds almost 900 ~ Pokemon to your average Minecraft Survival Server. The mod is both huge and very detailed, with Pokémon from every generation - yes, even Sword and Shield Generation 8 is considered here. All Pokemon can spawn (and be caught with Pokeballs, duh) in their proper biomes, and only at their proper spawn rate. It's a lucky day if a legendary spawns outside of your farm.
This is one of the craziest Pokemon mods available on PC right now. There are other new features like quests and a huge list of unique craftable items specifically for Pokemon trainers. Heck, there are sidemods just to give players access to WonderTrade features found in the mainline Pokemon games! That's what I call dedication. If you're looking for a way to play Pokemon on PC, Pixelmon won't do it, but it will give you a whole new obsession to share with your friends.
#3. Final Fantasy World
And what if Pokémon, but iconic Final Fantasy monsters instead? Kid is already salivating at the thought. As a kid, I was obsessed with the Final Fantasy series of games, and that love hasn't really waned in 2022. There's a certain thrill to seeing creatures like Cactus, Chocobo, Moogle, and Tonberry as capture-and-tame creatures to use for battles, and World of Final Fantasy does it all with Polish Square Enix. It's a cute game designed to appeal to Final Fantasy lovers with as many references as possible - so I'm brand easy and easy. But there's a lot to love here.
First of all, it's a pretty lavish production, with great music and incredible detail on the environments. It's also just the right amount of complexity that kids of all ages can enjoy. You won't find much depth here for future playthroughs or collect-a-thons like mainline Pokémon games, but World of Final Fantasy is designed to be enjoyed for moment-to-moment gameplay. You won't just fight with your monsters, but stack them to solve puzzles in dungeons or even merge them to create powerful new forms. Yes, there are changes.
Check out all the monsters and characters you can collect throughout the series.
# 2. Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne
An underrated gem in the JRPG canon, Nocturne just recently released on Steam – and if you're looking for a real challenge, then baby you've found it. Nocturne is the oldest ball-breaking statesman, a legend among fans, and all for very good reason. This game doesn't just throw tons of unintelligible jargon at the player in the first few hours, it also plays by its own set of rules - and players must overcome its dark world with very little hands-on experience. It's the original Dark Souls in RPG form. And it's also really amazingly good.
Nocturne is a post-apocalyptic RPG set in an empty world haunted by demons. You'll need to make pacts with these demons to grow stronger - and the demons are what make Nocturne so Pokemon-like. As a single hero, you'll fill the rest of your 4-person squad with demonic spirits. By creating a perfect group of demons with a wide variety of abilities (and forging them to create powerful new demons), you just might overcome the absurd challenges you face in Nocturne.
There's a creepy line of demons passed down from Nocturne - many of those designs are still around and you can "capture" them in other semi-related JRPGs like Persona 5 Royale. Here's an overview of all the weird creatures you can recruit Nocturne into.
#1. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Junior Backend Developer (Intern) LEVEL 5 teams up with Studio Ghibli to produce the maximum fantasy engine Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. It may look like your standard JRPG, just with a Ghibli-infused art style, but it's totally Pokemon-like. This fantasy world is full of small creatures called Familiars, which you'll tame and then use in battle – and like all real Pokemon, they'll evolve into more powerful forms as they level up. This is the true test of a Pokémon-like in my book.
Ni No Kuni is truly the best value game on our list and it shows. It's a smooth, consistently charming and utterly polished gaming experience, crafted by masters of the genre working with a top-tier animation studio to bring even more class to the procedural. The character designs are cute without being overly sickening, and the story is both adventurous and a little melancholy - it's Ghibli's one-two punch special. If you're fine with a few moments of low-energy JRPG grinding, Ni No Kuni is a must-play for players looking to expand their creature-catching horizons.
And let's not forget - here's a list of all the pets you can catch Ni No Kuni.
And that's our top 10 favorite Pokemon on PC. It's just a fraction of all monster taming games, and there are even more available on consoles like Dragon Quest Monsters, Yokai Watch, and Monster Hunter Stories. Let us know your favorite Pokémon likes and what makes them better (or worse) than the creator!