Searching for the best Pokémon games on PC? It’s but a wisp of a dream that Nintendo will ever release a Pokémon game on anything but their own games systems. Even though PlayStation games are slowly making their way over and Xbox releases are almost a guarantee thanks to Game Pass, Nintendo may never follow.
There are still plenty of alternatives, though. Developers have been testing the creature collecting waters over the years, almost like they’re scared of Nintendo’s wrath if their game is too close to its monster-catching inspirations. But there are now a wealth of awesome Pokémon-inspired games on PC that recreate the classic Game Boy experience, or turn Pokémon into an MMO or life sim.
The list below includes all kinds of games influenced by Nintendo’s creature-catching goliath. Some are directly inspired and closely follow the Pokémon formula, others only share a few features, but all of them are excellent and worth checking out.
The best Pokémon games on PC
Release date: July 2020 | Developer: Glumberland | Epic Games Store
If you want a Pokémon game that’s also a farming and life sim, then Ooblets is for you. It’s a creature collector where your little buddies don’t fight each other, but compete in dance battles—a friendly alternative. Building a team of different ooblets who all have different abilities will appeal to Pokémon players, and each and every ooblet is as cute as a button. If you get worn out by all the dance battles, the life-sim elements of the game are also a treat.
You can build a farming empire, make friends with the locals, and decorate your home with funky furniture, all things I have sunk many many hours into. Ooblets is still in Early Access but there’s plenty to do, and the majority of its story is ready to play.
If you’re still not sold on Oobleets, look no further than Gloopy Longlegs. Convinced?
Release date: January 2020 | Developer: Crema | Steam
The truest to the Pokémon formula on this list is Temtem. You have teams of creatures who fight each other, different regions to explore, and an evil band of hooligans to take down. You can’t get much more Pokémon than that. Battles are bombastic due to Temtem’s 3D animations, and NPCs and gym leaders (known as Dojo masters in the Temtem universe) are actually pretty tough to beat—there’s no way you can easily breeze through battles in Temtem. And the best part is that it’s an MMO, letting you fight and adventure with friends and strangers. It’s another game on this list in Early Access, but with the first four of its major islands released, there are hours worth of playtime.
Release date: July 2020 | Developer: Studio Aurum | Steam
Usually in creature collecting games you need to battle and then capture the beasts that cross your path. But in Monster Crown, you don’t just battle monsters—you can make pacts with them to join your crew, which is pretty cool. It’s also different to other games on this list in that the scope of its story is much bigger, and instead of battling groups of meddling baddies, it has a much darker tone dealing with heroes, legacies, and evil rulers. There’s also a much bigger emphasis on breeding your creatures, creating powerful new species—there are more than 1000 to mad science into existence.
I’m not super into the monster designs, but the intricate breeding system is a new feature I haven’t seen in this style of game before.
Release date: July 2020 | Developer: VEWO Interactive Inc | Steam
Nexomon is also one of the most polished Pokémon games out there. The character animations are fun, the world is vibrant, and the creatures are a well-designed bunch (of which there are 300). It’s a lot easier than some of the other suggestions on this list—like Temtem or Siralim Ultimate—so it’s definitely for players looking for a more casual time. The most difficult part of the game is choosing between the three starter Nexomon which include an adorable baby beaver, yellow tiger cub, and a lizard with a pink flower.
World of Final Fantasy
Release date: November 2018 | Developer: Square Enix | Steam
You battle some pretty ferocious beasts in the Final Fantasy series, but in World of Final Fantasy they’ve been shrunk down and given a dose of cuteness. This spin-off sees you carefully stacking your round friends (called Mirages) on top of eachother, giving your party a variety of abilities. Not only that, but famous Final Fantasy characters have also been turned into chibi form—it’s adorable. It’s a twist to monster battles, but still has a traditional Final Fantasy story where you once again must save the world from an impending threat.
Release date: March 2021 | Developer: Thylacine Studios | Steam
If you’re after a game with a little more depth, Siralim Ultimate will give you just that. It’s both a monster catcher and dungeon crawler where you travel through procedurally generated ‘realms’ to get resources and loot. The thing that sticks out the most about Siralim Ultimate is just how big it is. Players can pick from 30 different character specializations, equip different spell gems (of which there are 700), visit 30 realms, choose a guild to work with, partake in minigames, unlock relics—there’s a lot to get stuck into.
If you love the create collecting aspect of Pokémon, have fun collecting the 1200+ creatures in Siralim Ultimate.
Release date: December 2020 | Developer: Moi Rai Games | Steam
Creature collecting meets metroidvania in Monster Sanctuary. It has the same monster battles as the other games on this list but with the twist of having everything play out as a 2D sidescroller. The creatures you’ve collected follow behind you and can be used to fly, swim and climb the landscape, so there’s plenty of platforming to do. The pixel graphics are polished and the creatures’ animations are a lovely touch. Don’t let Monster Sanctuary fly under your radar.
Release date: October 2019 | Developer: PICORINNE SOFT | Steam
If you’re after nostalgia, look no further than Disc Creatures, a monster battler inspired by RPG classics. This is another one that sticks closely to Nintendo’s formula: Choose a starter disc creature and set off to collect the other 200 monsters, battling other ‘Disc Rangers.’ What I love the most about Disc Creatures is its aesthetic. The pixel art and chiptune OST take me back to the portable days of Pokémon.
These games aren’t out yet, but are worth keeping your eye on for the future.
Release date: TBA | Developer: Bytten Studio | Steam
I love the idea behind Cassette Beasts. You capture and transform creatures using retro cassette tapes, recording the monster onto a tape and then playing it back for battles. You can also combine your monster with an NPC companion’s to create a completely new creature with the fusion system. The project is being developed by two ex-Chucklefish devs who had worked on Starbound and Wargroove, so there’s a strong pedigree behind it. No release date yet, only a “coming soon” message on the game’s Steam page.
Release date: Q1 2022 | Developer: TRAGsoft | Steam
Another Pokémon-inspired game with gorgeous pixel art. Coromon’s story has you play an aspiring technology researcher who has set out to investigate a group of six titans with your team in tow. After playing the demo I’d say the battles in Coromon are some of the most dynamic out of the games on this list, from both the vibrant background to the creature and attack animations. You can check out the demo yourself over on the game’s Steam page, although there’s still no definitive release date.
What about Pokémon fan games?
We won’t be linking to them here, but if you’re after closer recreations of the Pokémon games then there are plenty for you to check out. All the games mentioned are still available online to find at your own leisure and have not yet been scrubbed off the internet by Nintendo.
If you’re into Minecraft you will definitely want to check out Pixelmon. It’s a mod that turns Minecraft into a creature collecting paradise. There are shops, gyms, Pokèmon Centres, and every single critter from generations one through seven—that’ll keep you busy.
The first is Pokémon Uranium, a fan game that was nine years in the making before it released in 2016. The game features over 200 newly designed Pokémon, an entirely new region called Tandor, and 8 badges and a championship to win. The most interesting addition to the Pokémon formula is the Nuclear-type which was created after a nuclear catastrophe in the game’s story.
Pokémon Insurgence is a little more intense than your average Pokemon game, taking place in a war-torn region where cults and gangs fight for world domination. There’s Pokémon Reborn, another darker take on the series where the player must form an alliance with gym members to take back Reborn City from crime syndicates.
One of the most visually impressive fan games is Phoenix Rising, which has the original series’ Pokémon creatures but in a new region and story. It looks fantastic but after coming out some years ago with a free demo, development has slowed down with only a few of the original team still working on it but even so the official Discord is still fairly active.