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Non-Pokémon Monster-Collecting Games

Jun 8, 2019
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From SMT, to Temtem, to Telefang... what other video games in the creature-collecting/monster-battling genre do you enjoy? (Because I would say "Pokémon clones", but that descriptor is not always accurate.)

I'm first and foremost a fan of Monster Rancher (Monol is my favorite). I also recently started playing Monster Crown, and while I haven't finished it yet, the mechanics it introduces are pretty fun and the creature designs are some of the best I've seen from a game like this.
Let's see, I've played and enjoyed some Digimon games, the first two Monster Ranchers (and the Deluxe rerelease of them), Dragon Quest Monsters II, and (if you count it) Dragon Quest V.
There's a future game I'm interested in (Kindred Fates) but it isn't out yet so may not count.
Despite being a spin-off, Monster Hunter Stories 2 and later its prequel stole my heart. Literally my all-time favorite game on the Switch still.

I've also played some Digimon and enjoyed it, Cyber Sleuth especially.

I keep meaning to try Temtem. I've seen it on a steam and liked what I saw, just never got around to buying it.
I've gotten around to play Yo-Kai Watch 1 & 2 on a new 3ds and I. LOVE. IT.

I'm down to playing Casette Beasts and that Nano-something game that got announced at the Paper Direct next.
I had Yo-Kai Watch 2, I thought it was really good. My favorite moment is when Walkappa falls asleep in the river and starts drifting.
I'm thinking of replaying the game with a New team.
Recently beat Temtem and enjoyed it quite a bit, my only two issues were the lag/framerate drops in certain areas when playing on Switch and (final battle spoilers) the final boss switching out constantly was very annoying, I know it's to prepare people for the competitive scene but I'm not interested in that and just wanted to play the main story. Also enjoyed the first Yo-Kai Watch game for the 3DS, though I've not played any after it. Oh, and Final Fantasy Maxima! Super cute game as much as I didn't enjoy the stacking aspect.
I quite enjoy the Digimon games I've played (World 1-3, World DS, Dawn & Dusk, Cyber Sleuth & Hacker's Memory), even if the quality for a few of them may not be that great.

I also played both Monster Hunter Stories games, but they didn't really have too much of the charm and appeal of the main series Monster Hunter games that I enjoyed a lot more.

World of Final Fantasy was fun, but not something I particularly wanted from the franchise. Still is very cute in terms of designs though, and at least has replay value.

Shin Megami Tensei is probably the only other monster collecting series I get major enjoyment from besides Pokemon, in regards to replay value and monster designs. I'm there to collect and kill demons, and it delivers just fine.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is another fun one, but I'm not too keen how catching the monsters seems quite low, with waiting for random hearts to display.

Kind of a niche one, but Spectrobes is another I've played. The evolutionary stages are a bit similar with Digimon, but you find them as fossils and have to awaken them. Customizing them was also an option that was neat. I disliked that you had to get cards with codes on them to get the more rarer Spectrobes and custom parts for them, though. And the story wasn't too memorable, unfortunately (at least to me).
Can't say I've played many. Hmm...

Digimon World 2 (rental) - what can I say, it was a boring dungeon crawler. And as a fan of the show first, it was disappointing that several iconic Digimons didn't by default evolve into the same forms as the show.

Digimon World 3 - more personality than the second and promised to feel better for sure, but didn't have much of a story hook and early battles could feel incredibly unbalanced based on level ratios at low stats.

Monster Hunter Stories - a capable spinoff that did well for what it set out to do. The sequel seems to be missing ... something that the first one had, even though the gameplay in battle is SO MUCH BETTER.

Monster Sanctuary - a pixelart 2D Metroidvania combined with collectible monster battling. Creatures have nice little designs, but gets dragged down by an inconsistent difficulty curve -- Keeper Duels are so much MORE difficult than simply fighting off wild monsters it may as well be a completely separate game (and not helped by an untutorialized "hurry up" mechanic which stacks flat DPS buffs onto both sides the longer a duel goes on, something which is NOT similarly present in wild monster battles). I get that Keeper Duels are sort of the "boss battles" of this game, but at least Pokemon's level of difficulty is generally consistent!

Spectrobes: Origins - This is the only one on the trilogy I've played but it was pretty good. Monster designs do feel sort of Digimon-like, but its version of fossil restoration is surprisingly fun. It is a shame that despite having a clear pair of protagonists, you can't team them up (I hear 2-player co-op has P1 controlling their player and P2 controlling their monster).

I'm kind of looking forward to "Palworld" when it releases -- a few of the creature designs may seem suspiciously Pokemon-like (such as: Boltmane, an electric lion, black fur with yellow highlights) but the pitch that they are going all-in on some of the ethical/moral undertones of a "monster collecting" environment makes it ... kind of impossible to ignore.
  • Using creatures as labor, at both small scale (penguins helping construct a house) and large scale (creatures working in an assembly-line "sweatshop" factory)
  • Poaching (using an electric monster as "bait" to stun many fish at once)
  • Fighting monsters not just with your own monsters, but with actual weapons (from bows to guns to rocket launchers)
  • Using your own monsters as cover, or arming them with guns too
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i highly recommend World of Final Fantasy for those of you who are a) final fantasy fans who like cameos from other protagonists and b) pokemon fans and/or c) just in general jrpg/monster collecting genre game fans.

don't let the cutesy nature of the game fool you; while the aesthetics are one thing, the plot and gameplay is, imo, rather enjoyable and unique. especially in terms of the combat setting, which is a bit difficult to explain since i don't think it's anything quite like any other monster collectors.
Yes, add one more recommendation for Cassette Beasts. Battles are typically 2v2, the AP system means the first turn of battle is necessarily low-power moves (or setups). Type interactions aren't NEARLY as powerful (in damage) as in Pokemon and are valued more for their wide variety of secondary effects (which you can also do separately, but the type matchups add them for free). Status buffs expire after 3 turns and stack for duration (not magnitude).

And it has SO MANY quality-of-life features, like:
  • New tapes don't require level-grinding for stats because XP points go towards your character's level.
  • All moves/abilities ("stickers") are readily interchangeable between tapes that can equip them.
  • Shiny encounter system ("bootlegs"): it's not just a palette swap, but a full type swap for the tape in question.
  • Completing the game unlocks a "Custom Game" menu with randomizer and Nuzlocke options. There's also adjustments for the cpu's AI and level scaling.
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