The 14 best iPad and Android games like Pokémon

by Jillian Werner

March 2 2014

With its recent mobile plan presenting more of an eShop app than actual games, Nintendo has given us little hope for its first-party franchises ever showing up on tablets in the near future.

That means no Mario, no Zelda, and definitely no Pokémon.

Luckily, mobile developers have taken this task upon themselves and created some alternatives to the classic monster-catching formula. Some are only one feature removed from Nintendo's series, while others embrace their mobile home with simplified, streamlined, and affordable gameplay. Click through the slideshow below for all the best Pokémon alternatives on iPad and Android tablets.

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Links & Apps

  • 1 Zenforms: Protectors
    Slide 1
    Zenforms: Protectors
    $1.99

    Zenforms: Protectors screams Pokémon. Its 2D graphics are classically pixelated, its main character is a young student hoping to rise to the rank of Grand Protector, and the game begins with the simple choice of which Zenform you will select for your journey. The biggest drawback to Zenforms is its short length, but with plenty of customization options available, its replayability is as high as its charm.

     
  • 2 Beastie Bay
    Slide 2

    Beastie Bay comes to us from the almost unbelievably prolific Kairosoft. Most of Kairosoft's retro-styled games fall somewhere within the building sim genre, Beastie Bay included. You'll manage an island resort and its surroundings, but you'll also go exploring, tame monsters, and fight turn-based battles. Those tamed monsters are both teammates as well as employees for your resort, placing an even larger emphasis on finding and wooing creatures that match your needs.

     
  • 3 Might Monsters
    Slide 3

    Mighty Monsters abandons the plot portion of Pokémon to focus on the mechanics: you'll still explore, but you're doing so primarily as an extension of capturing and battling. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in mobile monster standards, and the mechanical aspects of Mighty Monsters are handled well enough that their focus is more a treat than a lack of depth. And with bizarro creatures like the "Sharcitect" available to train, you can probably make up your own crazy story.

     
  • 4 Bread Kittens
    Slide 4
    Bread Kittens
    free

    Bread Kittens, and its more recent variation, Bread Puppies, is worth a shout-out if only for being a Pokémon-like that doesn't feature monsters, dragons, or dragon-monsters. Players travel around a linear map, fighting turn-based battles at each new location. Your enemies and potential pets are feral cats whose one weakness is "being breaded." This is exactly what it sounds like: putting bread on the cat's face, internet meme-style. In between battles, a bakery-style sim requires you to bake the bread you'll use in battle, along with other bread accessories with which to arm your cats.

     
  • 5 Bulu Monster
    Slide 5

    Bulu Monster is another fairly linear Pokémon-like that manages to charm from beginning to end. Its gorgeous and crisp graphics, variety of monsters (that range from pink snakes to chunks of flan), and lighthearted interactions are easy to fall for. With its fast-paced battle system and one-touch controls, this is a great pick for on-the-go monster-battling.

     
  • 6 Haypi Monster
    Slide 6

    Haypi Monster is all about the battling, presented on a board game-inspired map that will take you from fight to fight immediately. Its monsters are very reminiscent of their Pokémon inspirations—Draco is a red, fire-breathing dinosaur, for instance—but they retain their own charm and style through both strikingly beautiful graphics and minor twists. Without much plot or exploration to focus on, time is spent either fighting or managing your monsters, providing a streamlined approach to monster collection.

     
  • 7 Hunter Island
    Slide 7
    Hunter Island
    $.99

    Hunter Island touts itself as a "monster collection RPG...that is actually an RPG." This is a notable claim on tablets, where many (even great) Pokémon-inspired games abandon the plot and large world to focus solely on monster collecting and fighting. Hunter Island doesn't make this sacrifice, and will provide players as much of an RPG fix as a Pokémon one.

     
  • 8 MonsterCrafter
    Slide 8

    MonsterCrafter combines Minecraft, Pokémon, and virtual pet sitting into a strange and lovable hybrid. Instead of capturing and taming pre-made creatures, MonsterCrafter requires you to build your own beast that will venture out into the deadly world. While much of your time is still spent battling and growing, you'll also take care of your creation with food and playtime, boosting its mood and thus its abilities in battle.

     
  • 9 Monsters Invade: Oz
    Slide 9
    Monsters Invade: Oz
    free

    A strange combination of The Wizard of Oz and dubstep, Monsters Invade: Oz sees our Dorothy stand-in traveling along a Yellow Brick Road that's overrun with dangerous and surreal storybook creatures. Capturing and leveling up these creatures allows Dorothy to continue past stronger monsters, but later stages do up the difficulty to a frustrating degree. Perfect for players looking for a quick, unique take on Pokémon and who don't mind spending a few dollars on inevitable in-app purchases.

     
  • 10 Tap Tap Monsters
    Slide 10

    Tap Tap Monsters is about as streamlined as Pokémon can get: it relies entirely on one-touch tapping for every in-game action. Battles revolve around timed taps, interacting with and evolving creatures is tap-based, and yet Tap Tap Monsters is surprisingly addictive and engaging. Its absolutely adorable art style doesn't hurt, and its successful simplicity proves that bigger isn't always better.

     
  • 11 Terapets 2
    Slide 11

    Both Terapets games follow the main feature set of Pokémon: explore, capture, battle, evolve. While not quite as strikingly beautiful as some other entries on our list, Terapets 2 makes up for this with crazy creatures and a musical, rhythm-based capture system and an excess of content spread across its two entries.

     
  • 12 Monster Adventures
    Slide 12
    Monster Adventures
    $.99

    While Monster Adventures won't win the award for most memorable title, its gameplay stands up for itself. Less a direct Pokémon-like and more a hybrid Pokémon adventure game, Monster Adventures pits your tamed creatures against real-time enemies wandering the same world you are exploring. There's also a hint of dungeon crawling, as you're primarily venturing out in procedurally generated variations of the same locations and choosing how far you wish to go each time, with death a threat to all the loot and experience you've just picked up. There's still plenty of training and evolving, but within a more action-focused world.

     
  • 13 Monster Battle Arena
    Slide 13
    Monster Battle Arena
    $1.99

    Monster Battle Arena is essentially Pokémon MMO, a massively multiplayer online role-playing version of the monster-training formula. With graphics and monsters reminiscent of Nintendo's classic and essentially no end to its gameplay, Monster Battle Arena could be the definitive mobile Pokémon-like. A few bugs and a confusing tutorial (or lack thereof) are currently holding it back, but the foundation of something amazing has already been laid.

     
  • 14 Monster Legacy
    Slide 14
    Monster Legacy
    free

    Monster Legacy's huge, isometric world filled with various environments and puzzles already looks like an engaging addition to the tablet gaming roster. Add to that its massive collection of charming creatures to capture and addictive yet simple battle gameplay, and we have a definite front-runner for Pokémon replacement when it releases in the next few weeks.

     


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