Pokemon games for PC – here are our favourite alternatives

There are now plenty of games like Pokemon on PC, so even if you don't have a Nintendo console, there's no need to worry as these RPGs will fill that niche.

Best Pokémon games on PC - a titan of Klawf (the giant rock crab) is attacking Sprigatito (the green cat). The trainer's hat has fallen off and Arven looks panicked about the tremours.

What are the best games like Pokemon on PC? Can you play the original Pocket Monsters games on PC? Err, probably, but we wouldn’t know anything about illegal activities like that. What you want instead are some excellent, seemingly legal alternatives. Nintendo’s world-changing Pokemon series is much beloved, and we PC players certainly deserve a slice of that battle-flavored pie. Let’s face it: who doesn’t enjoy a spell of kidnapping cute animals and forcing them to scrap, tooth and claw, now and again? Exactly.

Despite our beloved format being the spiritual home of the turn-based combat that RPG games are known for, no official main series Pokemon game has yet made the jump to PC. We can’t exactly blame Nintendo for wanting to sell more Switch consoles, but we also can’t help but feel a small pang of jealousy every time we catch a glimpse of anything yellow and electric out of the corner of our eyes, especially when we know a PC can run Pokemon Scarlet and Violet far better than Nintendo’s aging console. Though we still have a long way to go before we can catch ‘em all on the very best platform there ever was, this is a list of some alternatives available on PC.

The best games like Pokemon for PC

Here are the best games like Pokemon on PC

A trainer riding a dragon-like Pal in Palworld, one of the best PC games like Pokemon.

Palworld

You probably already knew this one was going to be on here. It may be in early access right now, but Palworld beat the Steam record for the most played game at launch and, at the time of writing this entry, has an all-time peak of just over 2 million players.

So what is Palworld? To say it’s just Pokemon with guns is a bit misleading, as it turns out. Fans of the Ark series will find a lot of similarities as the beginning is more like the start of every survival game, where you must gather resources to build a base. The difference here is that you can recruit your captured friends and give them Palworld jobs. There’s also a massive open world to explore, filled with treasure and new Pals to join your team.

It can be difficult to know where to start, so to that end, we have a Palworld guide dedicated to explaining key topics. We also have a list of all Palworld Pals, the entire Palworld map with all the points of interest, and the Palworld type chart explained.

Best games like Pokémon - an adorable Temtem follows a Tamer across a bridge in Temtem.

Temtem

This Poke-like may be unashamedly inspired by Game Freak’s cherished creature catcher, but it brings plenty of new ideas. The biggest difference you’ll find here is a sense of challenge. Temtem swiftly brings it to your notice when your tamer rival thumps you in your opening battle. After that, you’ll find going from town to town difficult as potions are expensive, so resource management comes into play.

Temtem’s battle system is equally demanding of your attention. Each of your Tems has a stamina bar, strengths, and weaknesses, and fights are two-on-two. If you want to succeed in winning fights and making it to the next town, you’ll need to have a full team of well-trained Tems. If you want something close to the Pokemon series, it’s difficult to get much closer than this.

Best games like Pokémon - several happy-looking slimes are bouncing around Rainbow Island in Slime Rancher 2.

Slime Rancher 2

As Slime Rancher 2 is currently in early access, it feels more like an update to the original than a full-blown sequel. However, that’s not to say that this won’t become its own game in the future. Plenty of new slimes are available to gather and deposit in your slime farms, as well as many secrets to unearth in Rainbow Island’s ruins and new gadgets to make for your home base. It may not have the same collection mechanics as a Pokemon game, but it’s just as simple to pick up and play and is a relatively relaxing way to get into FPS games if you’ve not delved much into the genre.

Best games like Pokémon - chibi versions of Final Fantasy characters and monsters standing in a cluster in World of Final Fantasy.

World of Final Fantasy

This spin-off sees you explore the world of Grymoire, collecting Mirages – cute versions of classic Final Fantasy creatures. That mechanic reminds us of… something. Oh yeah, Pokemon. To wield your captured Mirages in battle, you have to organize them into strategic stacks – and here’s where further similarities with Nintendo’s series reveal themselves.

The stacking system in World of Final Fantasy is an utterly charming twist on Pokemon’s battle formula, you see. And rediscovering all of your favorite Final Fantasy creatures in chibi form is simply adorable and more than reason enough to give this one a go.

Best games like Pokémon - a Embaual is fighting against a Sandril in the middle of a desert oasis in Coromon.

Coromon

Coromon is as close to a Pokemon game as you’ll get without playing a Rom hack. It shares a similar style to that of Pokemon’s Gameboy Advance era but tries to shake things up by introducing players to a new set of monster types. It also introduces the idea of catching better variants of the same monster for better stat distribution overall.

Coromon follows similar story beats to your regular Pokemon game in many ways. However, unlike its inspiration, Coromon includes some popular game types to keep things fresh, including one similar to Nuzlocke challenges, where you can only catch one monster per route. If said monster faints, it’s gone permanently. So, if you want a Pokemon clone with some replay value, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Best Pokemon games: several pixelated monsters battle on water.

Cassette Beasts

Cassette Beasts is Pokemon, but for adults. Not necessarily in terms of theme, but with an evolution of gameplay that would satisfy even the most hardened of Pokemon fans. Those of us who picked up Red and/or Blue on day one as a child may be a little burned out on the franchise as is, with the series not really maturing with its audience, instead hoping to capture the latest generation of youngsters.

In Cassette Beasts, you can battle the usual array of pocket-sized monsters, but instead of imprisoning them in a small sphere, you take their essence and store it on a cassette tape. You can use your Cassette Beasts (see? makes sense now, doesn’t it) to do battle and even combine who beasts using the game’s fusion tech, creating weird and wonderful combinations. Play this game, it’s great.

Best games like Pokémon - the main characters from Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch running away from a trap.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered

While the sequel is a bit too much of a curveball for recommending as a game like Pokemon, the original Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is more like it. This surprisingly difficult game also benefits from a glorious collaboration between RPG masters Level-5 and the legendary Studio Ghibli.

Battles feature a curious blend of real-time and turn-based combat mechanics, so it does take some getting used to if you’re coming from the handheld Pokemon games. But the important part is that you fight alongside monsters you capture, befriend, and train, just like in Pokemon.

Best games like Pokémon - an Ooblet trainer vibing with her pet, which looks like a mole in a viking hat.

Ooblets

Ooblets is an indie adventure directly inspired by Pokemon. The Double Fine-produced game will feature living plants, character customization, house-building, and a smattering of other fun and quirky activities. You plant seeds that blossom into baby Ooblets, and after leveling them up, you can have adorable dance battles with fellow Ooblet trainers. These are built on turn-based battles, type-effectiveness charts, and various other mechanics that are about as Pokemon as they come.

Farming and dance training are just the beginning, too. You can explore strange lands, talk to friendly neighbors, and indulge in the relaxing routines of town life. It’s also so ridiculously cute you may be unable to stand it.

Can you play Pokemon games on PC?

Yes, there is one officially available Pokemon game on PC.

Best games like Pokémon - Pikachu and Eevee on the battlefield in the only Pokemon PC game, Pokemon Trading Card Game Online.

Pokemon Trading Card Game Live

We’re not saying it’s a classic, but it’s an official Pokemon game officially available on PC. Battle against your rival Trainers in the free-to-play Pokémon Trading Card Game Live. While there is a wide range of popular online card game alternatives, the charming Pokemon artwork and the characters we all know and love make this one stand out from the pack. There used to be the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online service, but this is now being sunset. You can learn more about Pokémon Trading Card Game Live via the official website.

Unfortunately, there is no official way to play any of the other Pokemon games on PC just yet. Nintendo loves its exclusives, and so for those Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing, and Pokemon fans, you’ll be waiting a very long time if they ever come to other platforms at all.

If that doesn’t satisfy your creature-collecting urges, we’re sadly not expecting Pokemon on Steam any time soon. Still, many alternatives to Pokemon are available on PC, and all of them are built on the core components of collection and cute(ish) beasts.

Those are all of the games like Pokemon on PC, and while it sucks that we’ll likely not see the main series game appear officially on PCs for quite some time, plenty of other JRPG games out there are making the leap from consoles to your gaming rig. Of course, if you don’t mind a lack of Pokemon, here are the very best PC games you can play right now.