Best Pokemon-Like Mobile Games On iOS And Android
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Pokemon fans will tell you there's nothing like breaking into a brand-new Pokemon adventure. From Red and Blue in the '90s to Sword and Shield now, every core Pokemon game delivers great RPG gameplay and the eternal task of catching them all.
But if the recent release of New Pokemon Snap has shown us anything, it's that there are fun and exciting Pokemon-style games outside of the core releases. A great place to look would be right in your pocket, as mobile devices offer plenty of options to bring you that classic Pokemon experience without playing a mainline Pokemon game. Here are 10 of the best Pokemon-like mobile games we've found so far.
Okay, this one may seem like it's cheating a bit, but nothing will scratch the Pokemon itch like a Pokemon game, right? Pokemon Go will see you step into the real world to catch as many Pokemon as you can, with real-world locations marked as PokeStops or Pokemon Gyms where you can battle with friends and replenish your items. There are optional in-app purchases available as well, so while the game is free to download your wallet won't be completely immune if you want to purchase extra items.
The pandemic didn't even slow PokeGo down, as developer Niantic pivoted to make the game just as enjoyable from home while keeping the geolocation offerings intact. If you do venture into your neighborhood in search of Snorlax, just make sure to be careful about it.
Pokemon Masters EX
Again we're cheating here, but where Pokemon Go focuses more on catching Pokemon and simplifies the Pokemon battle experience, Pokemon Masters EX amps it up for the mobile crowd. The game focuses on Triple Battles--battles with two teams of three Pokemon facing off-- with the other battlers in the arena being some of the most famous faces in Pokemon lore.
Each trainer in Masters is linked to a single Pokemon through what's called a "Sync Pair," with players syncing with Pikachu (of course) to try and conquer the Pokemon Masters league. As you progress you will have access to other Sync Pairs, but they'll need to be purchased with in-game currency called Gems turning the "free" app into a "freemium" one. If battling Pokemon is your favorite part of the games, then Pokemon Masters EX is right up your alley.
From Kairosoft--the studio behind Game Dev Story--comes Beastie Bay, a game that mixes a whole new genre into the Pokemon formula for a truly unique experience. Yes you'll be fighting monsters against other monsters and exploring a vast world, but you'll also be building a settlement in that world while you play, and that's what makes this game great.
Expeditions to explore new regions not only unearth new creatures, resources, and NPCs called Residents, but when each area is clear you can take what you find and use it to develop the land. One note though; while the game is free to download and play, a premium currency does exist in Medals which can be purchased and used to gain Landscapes for land development. Even with the microtransactions, however, this extra layer makes Beastie Bay a great choice for Pokemon and simulation fans alike.
Legends of Runeterra
This choice may seem out of place, but this is here to appeal to the Pokemon Trading Card Game fans that want a new challenge. Legends of Runeterra (LoR) is a collectible card game set in the League of Legends (LoL) universe, with cards referencing both the lands of LoL and the Champions that inhabit them.
High strategy and critical thinking are key to success in LoR, as with any other card game, but the 40-card deck limit means these matches will go faster than other card games available. More cards can be purchased in the app too, so you don't have to stick with the cards you're given for free if you're willing to put down the dough. Pokemon TCG fans should give Legends of Runeterra a look; you might end up finding your new favorite card game.
Back to the traditional Pokemon experience now, EvoCreo is the closest you'll get on this list to the full core Pokemon experience. However, the way this game tweaks the formula ever so slightly opens the door to a whole new way of playing "Pokemon," making EvoCreo worth a shot.
More emphasis is put on monster customization in EvoCreo, from stat customizations to the tiered move system in battle that gives each Creo five moves instead of four. New Creo can be summoned using a premium currency called Prime Gemma, but they're not necessary to fully enjoy the experience. This game pulls a lot from the source material, but EvoCreo does so in a way that creates a new and fun experience.
Monster Super League
Monster Super League (MSL) sheds the world exploration mechanics of Pokemon, focusing much more on catching creatures, powering them up, and fighting them against one another. MSL introduces over 550 creatures--called Astromon--to collect and battle throughout its adventure, giving you an astronomical task if you try to catch 'em all. Of course you could use your wallet to summon some of those 550 Astromon with the game's premium currency, but that's not required.
Playing the game is as simple as tapping an area of the map, battling, and repeating the process, and battling allows you to power up your Astromon however you see fit, so there's a lot of that Pokemon feel throughout. The lack of exploration is an adjustment, but Monster Super League still provides plenty of Pokemon punch.
If you're looking for a Pokemon-style experience, you can't go wrong with Digimon! Digimon ReArise offers over 300 different Digimon to collect and train across seven different ranks, all of whom can be trained and sent into battle against other Digimon in up to five-on-five battles.
Digimon Tamers can join up to form parties too, taking on extremely powerful Digimon in Clash Battles. When the battles are done the DigiTown hub lets you watch your Digimon interact as you plan your next move, making for a nice break in between heated battles. The same freemium options you've seen elsewhere on this list exist in ReArise as well--premium currency called Rubies that can summon new Digimon--but as before they're completely optional. ReArise has everything a Pokemon fan could want, just in a Digimon packaging.
Monster Hunter Stories
Mobile ports of games from other consoles can be hit or miss, but Monster Hunter Stories from Capcom works incredibly well on a mobile phone. Everything from the original 3DS offering has been ported over seamlessly, making MH: Stories one of the best games on the mobile market period.
The Pokemon-style battle system and the ability to raise monsters by hatching eggs means Stories isn't your typical Monster Hunter, but the game lives up to the lofty expectations set by the name. This is also one of the few games with no microtransactions to speak of, though the app itself does cost $4.99 on the App Store to download. A Monster Hunter caliber game on your phone may sound outlandish, but we promise we're not just telling Stories here. This is a great effort for a great price.
Rick and Morty: Pocket Mortys
Rick and Morty: Pocket Mortys blends Pokemon with Adult Swim's grandfather/grandson duo, bringing all of the show's trademark humor and crassness with it. In this universe every Rick is a trainer and every one of the multiple Mortys are the Pokemon, and it just works. The freemium aspects of the game aren't too in your face--the currency being Blips and Chitz coupons will get a smile out of longtime Rick and Morty fans--but they do pop up once in a while.
Despite the crude humor this is as close to a true Pokemon experience as mobile can get, even if the battle system isn't quite as complex. However, with every new episode of Rick and Morty adding new Mortys to collect, we could eventually see Pocket Mortys ascend to Pikachu's level. "I turned myself into a Pokemon game Morty! I'm POKERIIIIIIIICK!!"
MonsterCrafter is a Frankenstein's monster of a game, mixing Pokemon with Minecraft and a little bit of the old PC game Spore. Here you're building your own creature from scratch, taking care of it, and then battling it against other monstrous creations. The possibilities for what types of creatures you'll find are endless, just like creating your own creature.
This is a game that should not work due to how many different places it's pulling ideas from, but considering the game's been around since 2013 and sports 100 million users, it's clearly doing something right. The only caveat is it follows the "energy" structure of freemium games, only allowing so many actions at a time unless you want to pay to refill the energy meter. If that doesn't bother you, then MonsterCrafter is a Minecraft/Pokemon hybrid that defies conventional genres to provide an excellent crafting RPG experience.