Monster-taming games or games with monster-taming elements have been around since at least the late ’80s and early ’90s with the launches of games like Shin Megami Tensei, Dragon Quest 5, Robotrek, and more.
Of course, after the behemoth known as Pokemon first launched in 1996, it became the most popular monster-taming game series and continues to be to this day, with many incorrectly claiming other monster-taming games are Pokemon “clones” or “ripoffs.” While Pokemon currently has nearly 1,000 monsters, it surprisingly still doesn’t have the largest amount of monsters for a monster-taming game.
10 Ni No Kuni: Wrath of The White Witch
Level-5’s first internationally released monster-taming game, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, is primarily known for its Studio Ghibli art, but including DLC, the game had a total of 352 monsters, or familiars as they’re called in this case.
Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom has no familiars, instead using the more Pikmin-like Higgledies, but the mobile game Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds brought familiars back into the spotlight, although it doesn’t have as many as its predecessor yet, and depending on how its popularity changes over time, might never get close.
9 Monster Rancher 2 DX
Never the most popular series in its heyday but still fondly remembered by many, Monster Rancher is known for its twist on the monster-taming formula that lets players obtain monsters from CDs and DVDs from their physical collections.
Monster Rancher and Monster Rancher 2 were re-released together as Monster Rancher 1+2 DX in Japan in 2020 and worldwide in 2021. The original release of Monster Rancher 2 had 391 monsters, but the DX version of the game added some new ones, bringing the total number up to 415. Monster Rancher 2 is still considered to be the best in the series by many fans, and the amount of monsters is another reason why.
8 Digimon World Dawn/Dusk
Digimon World Dawn and Digimon World Dusk, a two-version sequel to Digimon World DS, all of which are actually part of the Digimon Story series, have the highest number of obtainable Digimon, with 397 total between them.
Something interesting about Digimon World Dawn and Dusk is that you don’t start with just one Digimon but select a pre-made team of Digimon, all of which include either Coronamon or Lunamon, the mascots of each game. Due to shared digivolution lines between many Digimon, the Digimon from the teams that aren’t picked are still obtainable, just not until later in the game.
7 Shin Megami Tensei 4
Despite its numbering, Shin Megami Tensei 4 is not technically the fourth Shin Megami Tensei game but is the fourth in the mainline series. The base game has 426 demons, but DLC helps bump the number to 454.
The Shin Megami Tensei game that followed, Shin Megami Tensei: Apocalypse, only had 413 demons, which isn’t a significant decrease but is still a decrease nonetheless. Compared to Shin Megami Tensei 4, the more recent Shin Megami Tensei 5 only has 234 demons total, but jumping from Nintendo 3DS to Nintendo Switch is surely no easy task for any monster-taming series no matter how long they’ve been on the former console.
6 Yo-Kai Watch 3
The late Nintendo 3DS game Yo-Kai Watch 3, the third game in the Yo-Kai Watch mainline series, had three different versions in Japan: Sushi, Tempura, and Sukiyaki. The localized version of Yo-Kai Watch 3 instead combined all three versions, which also means it had the most monsters in the series at 698 obtainable Yokai.
Yo-Kai Watch 3 is also notable for adding a 3×3 grid to the battle system as well as the Create-A-Nyan function, where players can create their own cat yokai by customizing Originyan with the various parts they’ve unlocked through the many quests available in the game.
5 Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
So far, the Pokemon games with the largest number of Pokemon available are the series’ final Nintendo 3DS entries, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon versions, which have 793 Pokemon total between them. Of course, once mainline Pokemon games started launching on Nintendo Switch, fans immediately noticed the significantly reduced number of available Pokemon.
However, remodeling every single Pokemon for new games and adding new attack animations for all of them, in addition to still creating even more new Pokemon, is probably not quite as simple as many hope for. It may be some time until a new Pokemon game beats the number of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon have.
4 Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Iru And Luca’s Marvelous Mysterious Key
Dragon Quest Monsters, a monster-taming spinoff series of Dragon Quest that expands on mechanics introduced in Dragon Quest 5, has been around since 1998. Unfortunately, not all Dragon Quest Monsters games were released outside of Japan, including Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 3, Dragon Quest Monsters Terry’s Wonderland 3D, and Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Iru and Luca’s Marvelous Mysterious Key.
The latter of which is a Nintendo 3DS remake of the 2000 Game Boy Color games Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Cobi’s Journey and Tara’s Adventure. This remake has 903 monsters total and a Montner system where players can combine four different monster parts to create a new monster.
3 Siralim Ultimate
Siralim Ultimate is the fourth entry in the Siralim series. Due to crossbreeding, Siralim Ultimate has a total of 1,201 monsters. In addition to this, Siralim Ultimate also has a player class system with different mechanics, a turbo mode that can shorten animations and other effects in battle to your liking to speed up gameplay, a useful perk system, and so much more.
Its graphical style isn’t for everyone and may be preferable to those who enjoy retro-style games, but Siralim Ultimate’s extensive roster of monsters and other key features should help interest players of other monster-taming games anyway.
2 Monster Crown
Monster Crown is an indie monster taming game with an emphasis on crossbreeding, and as such, it has 1,262 monsters total. The breeding system is also relatively straightforward, as all players have to do is select two of their monsters to create a new hybrid one.
With the ability to have a party of up to eight monsters, a unique stockpiling system, a strength and weakness system different from what many players are used to, a darker story than most monster-taming games that aren’t part of the Shin Megami Tensei series, mini-bosses, and so much more, Monster Crown is definitely something fans of other monster taming games should check out.
1 Puzzles & Dragons
The mobile game Puzzles & Dragons has been around since 2012, and because it has been adding new monsters for about a decade, Puzzles & Dragons has a total of 9,076 monsters, which is sure to continue increasing over time. No other monster-taming game series or game with monster-taming elements even comes close to this number, especially not with just one entry or a pair of entries.
Pokemon may be more popular, but it has a lot of catching up to do if it ever wants to have a game with an amount of Pokemon closer to the number of monsters in Puzzles & Dragons.