6 Games To Play Now That You've Finished Pokémon Scarlet And Violet

6 Games To Play Now That You've Finished Pokémon Scarlet And Violet

There are monsters to be gathered and battled far beyond the Nintendo Switch

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A terastalized Charizard.
Screenshot: Nintendo

It’s almost two months since Pokémon Scarlet and Violet released, meaning there’s a fairly good chance that by now, you’ve finished everything it has to offer. So what next? How do you fill that hole? Don’t worry, it’s OK, we’ve got you. Here are six games that should scratch that same itch.

As very unacceptably broken as Pokémon Scarlet and Violet (PSV) was (and still is), people played it in incredible numbers. Despite the glitches, crashes, and gnawingly bad pop-in, the simple hook of a whole new region, alongside whole new ways to play, meant people played through the issues. And if you were willing or able, the game offered a whole lot to do. But as we enter the New Year, Pokédexes are getting filled, Ruinous Legendaries are captured, and Paldea is becoming played out.

So what’s next?! We’ve compiled a collection of games you could move onto, some very similar, others more of a reach, to help you tide yourself over until the first DLC appears. We’ve assumed you already thought of Pokémon Legends: Arceus all on your own.

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Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

Monster Hunter

The Monster Hunter series isn’t the most welcoming of franchises, focused as it usually is on complex battles against enormous enemies, but that’s not true of the Stories spin-offs. These are, in fact, far more Pokémon-influenced adventures, where battles against the beasties take place in turn-based combat, rather than the main series’ far more demanding real-time fighting.

As well as battling monsters, you gather their eggs in order to hatch and befriend their offspring, adding them to your team for future fights. All the while, you’re gathering loot from felled enemies, alongside bits and bobs found in the wild, all used to craft new equipment. But, unlike the main series, you don’t need a degree in Monster Hunter Studies to be able to fathom any of the menus involved.

This is on Switch, while the original Monster Hunter Stories was on DS. Fortunately, there’s no need to have played the original to follow what’s happening—here you play as a descendant of the first game’s main character, and it’s many years later—so don’t worry about needing to find a DS charger in the attic.

The much-missed Mike Fahey absolutely loved Wings of Ruin, despite never having managed to click with the mainline Monster Hunter games, and we think you might too.

Available on: Switch

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Temtem

Temtem

Temtem - 1.0 Launch Trailer | PS5 Games

Perhaps the most directly comparable option with modern Pokémon games, Temtem was itself born out of a desire to create a Pokémon-like game that fixed all the issues as perceived by its developers, CremaGames. What you have here is an online shared world filled with monsters to capture and battle, in ways that will be immediately familiar to any fan of pocket monsters.

However, it distinguishes itself. Not least in that Temtem is an MMO, with a large emphasis on offering ways to battle with the other live players. Focusing on 2v2 battles, the game was originally conceived out of a frustration with how Game Freak’s combat is so reliant on randomness. The result is a competitive scene that’s entirely skill-based.

But there’s still absolutely loads of roaming around, capturing all the creatures you can find, trading with other Tamers (the Temtem equivalent of “Trainers”), all while customizing your own home.

Available on: Switch, PlayStation, PC, Xbox

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Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

PlayStation

What else has been a more consistent alternative to Pokémon than Digimon? The two franchises have co-existed since 1997, Digimon appearing about a year after Pokémon, although based far more on Tamagotchi than Nintendo’s brand. But that one-year advantage meant that Pokémon has always cast the longer shadow. And when it came to gaming, Nintendo just dominated over Bandai’s attempts.

Until 2016, that is, when Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth appeared on PlayStation. Using the franchise’s advantage of a far more involved anime behind it, the game combined the monster-capturing mechanics and turn-based battles with a proper, deep story. There are many similarities with the rival ‘mon games, but ultimately Cyber Sleuth stands up in its own right, and does the Digimon proud. You couldn’t ask for better proof than the mighty Mike Fahey’s original review of the game, which doesn’t utter the P-word once.

Since the PlayStation release, the game has come out for Switch and PC, in a version with all DLC included, and if you’re reading this before Jan 15 2023, it’s currently 70% off on Switch, at just $14.99.

Available on: PlayStation, Switch, PC

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Monster Sanctuary

Monster Sanctuary

Nintendo

As we start to deviate away from the more on-the-nose Pokémon-me-dos, we’re not straying too far. Monster Sanctuary is a hybrid of a traditional monster gathering game, and...Metroidvania! Think Pokémon Mystery Dungeon meets Ori.

Presented in 2D pixel prettiness, this is at once a side-scrolling adventure and a monster battler, with more than 100 creatures to collect. The whole thing is bursting with SNES vibes, flavors coming from all sorts of JRPG backgrounds, but then has you hatching eggs, upgrading monster skills, then using newly gained abilities to get to areas previously out of reach.

The story won’t blow you away, but then...has a Pokémon tale ever managed that for you? Still, it’s awesome to see the formula being experimented with.

Available on: Switch, PC, PlayStation, Xbox

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Slime Rancher 2

Slime Rancher 2

Monomi Park

Farming games exploded over the last few years, so it was inevitable someone would find success combining the genre with monster collecting. In this case, slime collecting.

The more you collect—which you do by vacuuming them up in your FPS-like gun-thing—the better items you can generate to improve your ranch. This means there’s a much greater focus on resource management here, in between trips to gather new types of slime. Also, there’s a lot of poop to collect. All of which describes the original game, and this sequel that’s currently out in Early Access for PC and Xbox.

The original Slime Rancher is more broadly available, also on PlayStation and Switch.

Available on: Xbox, PC

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Cult of the Lamb

Cult of the Lamb

Devolver Digital

OK, so this is a pretty out-there suggestion at first glance, but bear with us. What do you do in a Pokémon game? You gather animal-like creatures, battle others, and then have your captured beasts work for you in various ways? Right? Right? Well, that’s the premise of Cult of the Lamb!

But, you know, so very dark.

This not-for-children cult sim is played in two distinct halves, a bit like Moonlighter but with sacrifices. Half the time you’re running your home base, building up places for your acolytes to live, worship, and work for you. The other half, you’re off on rogue-lite missions to battle through a number of real-time fights, and gathering new followers, with the overall goal of murdering ancient gods.

OK, so it’s not enormously like Pokémon, but it’s certainly a cathartic experience after spending a little too long within the saccharine world of Nintendo’s creations. If you ever wanted to put fear into the hearts of your Pokédex by picking one of them at random to sacrifice in your honor, then this is the game for you.

Available on: Switch, PC, Xbox, PlayStation

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