the Pokemon The series has garnered its most recent mainline entries with Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. The Nintendo Switch games kick off a new generation for the franchise, but some longtime fans are disappointed with the results. From low frame rates and underwhelming graphics to a general lack of polish, Game Freak’s bread and butter is stagnating for some.
For those looking to get their monster-collecting gameplay fix on Switch, there are still several alternatives. From an old school rival of Pokemon to indie games meant to emulate its previous iterations, there’s no need to go without catching them all, in whatever form it takes. Here’s a rundown of the games that will scratch the itch you scarlet and violet may have left intact.
Nexomon Complete Offers Old School Pokemon Gameplay
Published by the company PQube, Nexomon + Nexomon: Extinction: Complete Collection is a compilation of games very inspired by the old ones from Nintendo Pokemon titles. Essentially, a look at what could have been if Game Freak didn’t abandon the top-down perspective of pre-3DS games, the nexomon entries include turn-based battles, 2D sprites, and beautiful hand-drawn battle sequence art.
The games also have over 600 monsters to catch and stories that actively satirize JRPG tropes and the more basic narratives of Pokemon. Offering a more classic experience than Game Freak’s latest title with double the playability and half the price, there is perhaps no better source for Pokemon alternatives than the nexomon games.
Shin Megami Tensei V is essentially an M-rated Pokemon game
The basic franchise that the popular Person games are derived from, Shin Megami Tensei has long been referred to as “Pokemon in hell.” Despite this connotation, these games actually started the monster-catching mechanic before the Game Freak titles, and Shin Megami Tensei V is the last entry. Featuring a protagonist who is one of the few survivors after the apparent destruction of Tokyo, the game is an apocalyptic horror story in which players battle and even train demons to decide the future fate of humanity.
The items for catching monsters are all there, although the demons of shin megami tensei they are much harder to catch than Pikachu or Caterpie. Constantly trying to bargain with players or even cursing them if their demands are denied, the actions of the demons, coupled with the post-apocalyptic tone, make for a much more mature version. Pokemon. Add to that a more open world adventure setting, and Shin Megami Tensei V is easily the best entry point for those who have played both Pokemon and the smallest Person games.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Finally Gives Digital Monsters Some Worthy Play
For a long time, the general consensus was that Pokemon had better video games, while Digimon had a better anime. That streak was finally broken with the release of the Digimon Story: Cyber Detective games, which were available on a cartridge on the Switch as Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition. The gameplay, of course, involves fighting digital monsters, but its story involving hacking and collusion between the physical and digital worlds is told similarly to an anime, placing it far beyond the tales told in Pokemon games.
Even with the sometimes cute monsters involved, the cyberpunk world of Digimon it feels much more mature than Kanto or any other region involving Pocket Monsters. There are more than 300 monsters to unlock in the games, and the battle system helps attract players by being quite classic. Beyond that though, it’s a far more exciting experience than expected, making the collection truly capable of putting the Pokemon franchise on your toes.
Coromon is another well-executed take on the classic Pokemon formula.
Starting as a mobile game, coromon may look like a cheap imitation of Pokemon. However, it does shake up a few things here and there while still appealing to those who grew up on the Game Boy Advance entries in that franchise. coromon gives players more control over their monsters’ stats, which comes in handy when facing their massively powerful “Titans”.
Likewise, each Coromon has numerous variants, and unlike the shiny Shiny Pokémon, these forms differ more than aesthetically. The fusion of customizable difficulty and plenty of replay value easily elevates this wannabe to something special and rewarding, especially considering it’s a third of the cost of scarlet and violet.
Monster Sanctuary remixes Pokémon in a Metroidvania setting
Among others Pokemon imitators, monster sanctuary is one of the most unique. Although the battle system still involves monsters in turn-based fights, gameplay outside of the fights is a sprawling Metroidvania adventure. This essentially makes it an expanded version of the dungeons in Pokemon, although the fact that it’s a side scroller keeps things fresh. The art style is also more like games like shovel knightcombining nostalgia in a miasma of fun.
There are over 100 monsters with increasingly varied shapes as you level up, making up for the slight lack of polish in other areas. monster sanctuary is an especially good choice for those who enjoy more than just Nintendo’s 2D metroid games or from Konami castlevania series but also the Pokemon: mysterious dungeon spin-offs, though the way it handles all of these disparate elements never feels dated.