These "Pokemon clones" are great alternatives (Image via Nintendo)

5 games to check out if you feel Pokemon is stuck in the past

Nintendo's Pokemon series continues to be the highest-grossing media franchise in the entire world. It appeals to a vast array of audiences, from younger ones to adults and even core gamers. Yet, the franchise has been largely stagnant, with only a handful of entries daring to step beyond their comfort zone (such as Pokemon Legends: Arceus).

Owing to the mainstream success of the monster-taming series, other game developers have tried their hand at emulating the formula. They haven't just succeeded on that front but have managed to even surpass series developer Game Freak in many areas.


These games take the traditional Pokemon formula and expand upon it in new ways

1) Temtem

One of the most popular multi-platform monster taming games out there, Temtem from Crema brings the iconic formula to the MMO format. Players can explore the six islands of the Airborne Archipelago and discover the various Temtem inhabiting the various biomes.


With the Clan Belsoto plotting to rule over the Archipelago, players are tasked with creating the ideal team and taking them down. On the journey, they will have to find and beat Dojo Leaders and become the ultimate Temtem tamer.

All battles are 2v2, and unlike Pokemon, they do not feature an RNG (random number generator) system. Instead, skills use a stamina system. This ensures the gameplay is completely fair and skill-based.

Temtem is available on PlayStation 5 and PC at the moment. The Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch versions will be coming out on September 6, 2022.

2) Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition includes both Cyber Sleuth and Hacker's Memory in one package. Solve mysteries with your favorite Digimon to save the digital and real world!

The latest entry in the beloved Digimon series is Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. It was first released in 2015 for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Players take on the role of Aiba, who is locked inside the cyberspace network EDEN by a hacker after being provided with a Digimon Capture program. Aiba is eventually hired by a detective agency to investigate virtual criminal activity.

Gameplay is turn-based, and players must utilize their Digimon to effectively take down other hostile creatures. Unlike Pokemon, Digimon can Digivolve to both upper tiers and lower - and even de-Digivolving can have benefits.

The game is also available on Nintendo Switch and PC as Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Complete Edition. In addition to the original, the bundle also features the successor Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory.


3) Yo-kai Watch 3

Among Pokemon's handful of notable and popular alternatives, the Yo-Kai Watch series is certainly the most underrated. The last mainline entry released worldwide was Yokai Watch 3.

As Nathan Adams, players explore Springdale and befriend new Yo-kai. Hailey Anne Thomas from the previous games also returns. Players command a party of critters with up to three active in battle at any given time.

Combat takes place on a 3x3 grid and plays out like the Mega Man Battle Network titles. The Yo-kai must be shifted around the grid to avoid enemy attacks. It is certainly a change of pace from Pokemon as it requires reflexes and tactics beyond inputting skills.

Yo-kai Watch 3 is available exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS handheld console.

4) Monster Sanctuary

While there are some 2D pixel-art games inspired by Pokemon out there, Monster Sanctuary is perhaps the only one that is a Metroidvania as well. Players can pick a familiar and explore Monster Sanctuary's progression-driven maps to unveil the secrets it hides. At the same time, they will also need to find out the truth behind the powerful monsters that have infiltrated the world.

Battles are turn-based and have up to three monsters at a time. However, it differs from Nintendo's offerings in the sense that each monster has access to a unique skill tree with different abilities to pick from.

Monster Sanctuary is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

5) Shin Megami Tensei V

The time for creation has come.

Claim your throne in Shin Megami Tensei V, available now on Nintendo Switch. #SMT5

Shin Megami Tensei V is the latest JRPG epic from renowned developer ATLUS. Released last year, it is yet another thrilling dive into the post-apocalyptic world of mythology and folklore.

As a high-school student transported to an alternate reality, players explore the vast areas of the Da'at. After merging with Aogami to become the Nahobino, they embark on a journey to quell the war between angels and demons.

Combat is similar to previous entries in the franchise and is challenging as always - something the Pokemon games rarely accomplish. The demon negotiation and fusion elements also add variety and tactics into the mix, as players must utilize buffs/debuffs strategically to emerge victorious.

Shin Megami Tensei V is only available on the Nintendo Switch.

Edited by
Siddharth Satish
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