Can you play the classic Pokémon games on PC? Um, probably, but we wouldn’t know about such illegal activity. What you want instead are some excellent, legal alternatives. Nintendo’s world-changing Pokémon series is celebrating 25 years of monster trapping, and we PC gamers certainly deserve some of that fighting taste. Let’s be honest: who doesn’t like to kidnap cute animals every now and then and force them to scrap, teeth and claws? I agree.
While our beloved format is the spiritual home of turn-based combat, no official Pokémon game from the main series has made the leap to PC. We can’t exactly blame Nintendo for wanting to sell more Switch consoles, but neither can we help but feel a twinge of jealousy every time we catch a glimpse of something yellow and electric out of the corner of our eye. And remember: Pikachu rhymes with “PC too”. Well, kind of.
However, to calm our abandoned spirits, we have an official Pokémon online game on PC – namely Pokémon TCG Online, a free card fighting game that offers Pokémon card game fans both single player and multiplayer challenges. While it may not offer the Poké ball pitching action of popular handheld games, you still need to collect Pokémon cards and trade with your friends – does anyone have a shiny Charizard?
While we still yearn to catch them all on the best platform ever, there are a handful of similar – and excellent – titles that have settled down on PC. Some Monkey-type Pokémon are tightly structured, while others contain elements inspired by the grandparents of digital creature fighters.
Are there any Pokémon games on PC?
Pokémon Trading Card Game Online
We’re not saying it’s a classic, but it’s an official Pokémon game that is officially available on PC. Fight against your rival Trainers in the free Pokémon TCG online. While there is a wide range of popular online card games to choose from, the charming Pokémon artwork and characters we all know and love make this game stand out from the crowd.
Unfortunately, if that doesn’t entirely satisfy your urge to collect creatures, we don’t expect Pokémon to be available on Steam anytime soon, but there are many alternatives to Pokémon available on PC, and all of them are based on the core collection and components cute (ish) beasts.
Here are the best games like Pokémon for PC:
This poke-like may be outrageously inspired by Game Freak’s beloved creature catcher, but it brings a lot of new ideas. The biggest difference you’ll find here is the feeling of challenge. Temtem will quickly alert you if your tamer rival beats you in your opening match. After that, you will find it difficult to move from town to town as potions are expensive and resource management comes into play.
Temtem’s combat system also demands your attention. Each of your tems has a stamina bar, strengths and weaknesses, and fights are two on two. If you want to win battles successfully and get to the next town, you need a full team of well-trained tems. If you want something that is close to the Pokémon series, you can’t get much closer.
In a galaxy far away is a world where sentient slimes roam freely. In Slime Rancher, you inherit a slime farm. It is now your responsibility to get this started by collecting all types of slime. They are available in all possible colors and variants and have different properties – and the challenges that come with them. You can even go vegan if you want.
In Pokémon, your task is to complete your Pokédex as you gradually imprison an increasingly alarming number of living things and force them to fight each other in gladiatorial fights. However, there is a very charming name Slimepedia in Slime Rancher that you can use to keep an eye on your cattle. There are 90 colorful slimes to collect including pink slime, stone slime, puddle slime, fire slime … you get the picture.
KILL THE SPIRE
Decisions made outside of Pokémon Battles are as important as the decisions made in them. Slay the Spire gets that. Building a deck with great synergy between cards takes the same thought process as building a winning Pokémon party. Of course, at the heart of all card fighting games is making powerful combinations and seeing a fight go as planned, but Slay the Spire is one of the best. It’s more than a brilliant design that dates back to Pokémon’s heady trading card days.
It offers a less colorful adventure than Pokémon, and the journey up this eponymous tower is certainly more difficult. But even as you fight enemies and overcome the game’s ever-changing obstacles, the feeling of getting stronger, both from the sheer weight of the numbers and a deeper understanding of the power at your disposal, cannot be otherwise, than evoke the feelings that Nintendo’s classics evoke.
World of the last fantasy
With this spin-off you will explore the world of Grymoire and collect Mirages – cute versions of classic Final Fantasy creatures. This mechanic reminds us of … something. Oh yes: Pokémon. To use your captured Mirages in battle, you need to organize them into strategic stacks – and this is where further similarities to Nintendo’s series show.
The stacking system in World of Final Fantasy is an extremely charming twist on the Pokémon battle formula. And rediscovering all of your favorite Final Fantasy creatures in chibi form is simply adorable and more than reason enough to give them a try.
Digimon Masters Online
In the 1990s, Pokémon overtook Digimon and became the hugely successful Japanese media franchise that it is today. But today Digimon is the only one of the two who made the leap to PC.
Digimon Masters Online is an MMO in which you train and develop the creatures of the same name by fighting other players. Digimon evolves into stronger forms with special attacks, similar to Pokémon, but Digimon Masters battles are real-time and are not turn-based. As such, you need to keep your wits about you!
Ni No Kuni 2: Kingdom Reborn
Ni No Kuni II: The enchanting characters of Revenant Kingdom and the rich worldbuilding put you in the mood for an epic adventure. It’s like stepping out of the house for the first time in Pokémon’s Pallet Town – a whole world waiting to be explored. The game uses a combat system similar to that of Tales of Vesperia, so if you are comfortable with its fighting style, you should feel at home with it. Ni No Kuni II also has a unique city building tool that allows you to manage the workforce for Evan’s Kingdom – a nice touch.
And then there are the No Higgledies from Ni No Kuni II. They help your group in battles, can heal characters, attack enemies and even protect the group with protective spells. They are cute little companions who will help you win against impossible odds and will fit perfectly into the next generation of Pokémon.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch remastered
If the sequel is too much of a left turn for you, then the original Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is more Pokémon-like and surprisingly tough too. Originally, this was a partnership between Level-5 and the world-famous animation filmmakers at Studio Ghibli, drawing on much of the powerful storytelling in their portfolio.
Battles are more real-time than the Pokémon games, but you can fight monsters you’ve befriended and use their powers to complete difficult challenges. It also introduced us to the wonderfully Welsh Drippy, and if that isn’t reason enough to include this game, then what?
Ooblets is an indie adventure directly inspired by Pokémon. Produced by Double Fine, the game features live plants, character customization, house building, and a few other fun and quirky activities. They plant seeds that will bloom into baby ooblets, and after you’ve leveled them, you can have adorable dance battles with fellow ooblet trainers. These are based on turn-based battles, type-effectiveness charts, and various other mechanics that are about as Pokémon as they come.
Agriculture and dance training are also just the beginning. You can explore foreign lands, talk to friendly neighbors, and indulge in the relaxing routines of city life. It’s also so ridiculously cute that you might not be able to take it. Ooblets is now available in Early Access in the Epic Game Store.