Monster Catching RPGs That Aren’t Pokemon

Monster catching RPGs appeal to completionists and achievement hunters in a way that few other games can match. It can’t be overstated how great the content to price ratio for these games are. Sink 100 hours into most titles in this genre and you will still need to invest two or three times that to get anywhere close to seeing everything there is to discover.

While most readers will think of Pokemon when talking about monster catching RPGs, there are many other great titles in this genre that are worth your attention and dollars. Take a look at our recommendations and add them to your games collection.

Ni No Kuni 

Ni No Kuni is an anime-inspired RPG that follows the adventures of a young boy, Oliver, who sets out into another world to save his mother and to stop an evil force. A major selling point of this game is that it features full-motion video sequences by Studio Ghibli (the studio isn’t involved with the sequel, Ni No Kuni II).

The battle system is somewhat similar to Pokemon, but also has inspiration from other titles, like Final Fantasy. When you encounter monsters in the world, you and your companions enter battle and have a choice of monsters to use. You can kill or capture the monsters in your fight and then use them in other battles. Characters and monsters level up and evolve throughout the game.

As you play, the world opens up and you will find several unique locations to explore, quests, characters, and a captivating storyline. 

Monster Hunter Series 

The Monster Hunter Series is much more action than role-playing, and leans heavily on killing monsters instead of just catching them, but it has a ton of great monsters and is just flat out fun so it deserves a place on this list. In each entry of the series you play as a monster hunter. You begin in a hub area where you upgrade items and pick up quests, then you set out into one of several available areas where you will encounter small and larger monsters.

Each monster is unique and has a specific set of moves, strengths, and weaknesses. As a hunter, you will have to learn each of these, dodge at the right time, and come equipped with potions, armor, and weapons enough to bring down each monster successfully.

This is not a game where you are killing hundreds of enemies at a time. Some hunts can take upwards of an hour to complete, with each monster going through different stages of attack. What makes it more difficult is that your character is not nimble, and you can die in just a few hits. Fans of no-armor Dark Souls runs will not enjoy the experience. However, the game is relatively fair and balanced, provided you take your time to learn how the game rewards careful planning. You can capture monsters, too, but that is only for research purposes and they can not be used in battle.

The series was first available in 2004 when it arrived for the Playstation 2 and Playstation Portable. Later entries came to Nintendo systems. Monster Hunter World, the newest entry to the series, is available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This latest iteration of the game builds upon previous entries but changes a few fundamentals to make it more accessible, while also enlarging each map with new chase mechanics, resource gathering, and a lot more.

World of Final Fantasy

World of Final Fantasy follows the adventures of siblings Lann and Reynn, who must recover their mirages (monsters) and memories from a power known as Bahamutian. 

World of Final Fantasy takes place in a world that combines elements of early Final Fantasy games. When using captured mirages in battle, the player stacks them to increase their power or to unlock new abilities. You can also topple them on enemies to stun them and to let you reset your stack to try a different strategy. When you capture enough mirages, you will gain access to areas previously unreachable. Be wary, however. Enemies stack too, so players will need to change their strategy to counter enemy attacks and abilities. 

Originally available only on PlayStation 4 and Vita, the game has been ported and updated for Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

Other Titles to Check Out

Ni No Kumi, Monster Hunter, and World of Final Fantasy rank among some of the best monster catching RPG games, but there are many more that are worth a look.

  • Temtem doesn’t hide its pokemon inspiration but differs in that it incorporates MMORPG elements.
  • Pocket Mortys is based on the Adult Swim show “Rick and Morty” and riffs on Pokemon heavily, except here you play with Mortys from different timelines.
  • Digimon World was an attempt to adapt the popular card-based anime into a game series. Unlike Pokemon cards and games, World never found as much success. Still, it remains a solid title and can now be played on Playstation 4.
  • Slime Rancher is chill, and the slimes look like Jolly Ranchers. In the game, you play as a space rancher with a vacuum-gun that lets you harvest slimes. The game is surprisingly deep, with the ability to feed slimes to other slimes to create new slimes that then drop valuables that you use to expand your base. Just don’t combine the wrong slimes or they may start to explode and destroy your entire base.

All of these titles put a different spin on the monster catching genre. No one title is better than another. Some feature more catching monsters, while others put a greater focus on battling, so it should be easy to find the game that appeals most to you!