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5 major monster taming games that aren't Pokemon or Shin Megami Tensei

Collect adorable monsters and fearsome beasts in these popular monster-catching games (Images via Square Enix/Capcom/Bandai Namco)
Collect adorable monsters and fearsome beasts in these popular monster-catching games (Images via Square Enix/Capcom/Bandai Namco)
Siddharth Patil

Monster taming games continue to be evergreen, largely thanks to Nintendo's Pokemon series. Game Freak's renowned Nintendo-exclusive series initially dominated the genre, but the success of SEGA's Megami Tensei franchise has also managed to provide competition in that regard.

Welcome to the open world of Pokémon.Embark on an open-world adventure in Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, arriving on Nintendo Switch in late 2022.❤️💜 #ScarletViolet https://t.co/xZZTNzGgS1

The rise of these titles and the continued popularity of the genre have made other developers comfortable with pushing out monster catchers of their own. Both AAA and indie studios have made several games in a similar vein.

Some of them take the Pokemon-clone trope to the point of borderline emulating it. However, the following games present their own unique ideas, thus spicing up the genre.

Note: This article is subjective and reflects the writer's opinion.


5 great monster tamer games

5) Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

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While popular in its own way, the Digimon series has always lived in the shadow of Pokemon. Despite that, the franchise has a strong following as well as unique ideas of its own, especially in video game renditions.

Originally released in 2015, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth tells the tale of Aiba, a young Japanese student who visits the virtual realm of EDEN pursuing a hacker's trail. While they are granted Digimon Capture programs to befriend the world's iconic creatures, the protagonist also becomes a Cyber Sleuth to investigate mysterious hacker events throughout the metaverse.

Gameplay is turn-based, with players having to fight a Digimon multiple times to analyze them, eventually leading to having a copy in tow. These beings also have multiple evolution forms and can De-Digivolve as needed by meeting stat requirements. The world of EDEN is filled with dungeons to explore, while a narrative-focused experience also awaits players out in the real world.

The game is out on PC, PS4, PS Vita, and Nintendo Switch. Players who grab the Complete Edition will also get access to the side-story 'Hacker's Memory.'


4) Temtem

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Pokemon fans have been clamoring for a "Pokemon MMORPG" for a while now. Since those pleas have fallen on deaf ears so far, developer Crema decided to take matters into their own hands.

Temtem is a 2020 MMORPG following a young adventurer of the Airborne Archipelago. They must explore the various isles, befriend new Temtems and take down the evil Clan Belsoto organization.

That's just the single-player side of things. Players can also trade with others, play co-op and fight competitors in strategic turn-based battles. Putting their own spin on Pokemon, the Temtems here utilize a stamina system for moves rather than PP like Game Freak's outings. The game is currently on PC and PS5 in early access.

Coming soon to a Steam Deck near you!We're working out some minor issues to get the badge, but yes, Temtem is ready to play @OnDeck 💛 https://t.co/7ET2aw4iIa

A full release is expected sometime this year, with Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series X|S versions to follow.


3) World of Final Fantasy

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A surprise release from Square Enix in 2017, World of Final Fantasy is one of the most underrated titles in the iconic JRPG series.

Set in the world of Grymoire, siblings Lann and Reynn must tame monsters called Mirages and take down the Bahamutian Army. Players will explore the world laden with chibi renditions of the duo taking down and capturing similarly adorable variants of iconic Final Fantasy monsters.

Minus the traditional Active Turn Battle combat, players can also stack monsters to accumulate both their strengths and weaknesses. Iconic Final Fantasy heroes, like Cloud from Final Fantasy 7, can also be temporarily summoned into battles. This title is available on PC, PS4, PS Vita, and Nintendo Switch.


2) Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered

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First released on the PS3 in 2011, Ni No Kuni is a cult-classic JRPG with animation from the legendary animation house Studio Ghibli. It follows a young boy, Oliver, who is transported to a magical world to follow a quest in hopes of reviving his dead mother. Players explore towns and dungeons with the game's beautiful cel-shaded graphics.

Combat is best described as a mixture between Bandai Namco's Tales series and Pokemon. Players can capture and use creatures called Familiars in combat, each with unique traits. Three of these creatures can be out on the field at a time, and Oliver must command them to attack foes. The game is available on PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.


1) Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

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Set after the events of the Nintendo 3DS original, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin expands upon its Pokemon-inspired take on the MonHun formula.

Rathalos around the world are disappearing, and a mysterious pink light phenomenon that enrages creatures has begun to occur, both of which the protagonist must investigate. Additionally, players also chance across the sole surviving black-winged baby Rathalos, which is said to bring ruin to the world.

It is fundamentally a Monster Hunter game where players will explore maps, collect resources, hunt monsters, and return to craft them into appropriate weapons and armor. However, combat is turn-based, incorporating familiar series elements like body part targeting and weapon types to take down Monsties effectively.

Monstie eggs found in the wild can be brought back and hatched to grant players a capable beastly partner utilizing the Power/Speed/Tech weakness system. For those intimidated by the massive difficulty curves of the traditional MonHun games, or those into the RPG genre in general, Stories 2 is well-worth a try. The game is available on PC and Nintendo Switch.


Edited by Danyal Arabi

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