What are Monster Taming and Creature Collector Games?

Catch, Tame, Raise, and Collect!
Roy Willitts

How do you know that a roleplaying game is a monster tamer? We’ve played various monster-hunting games over the years, but what truly defines a monster tamer? What gives any game monster-taming elements? What allows this integral game mechanic to define an entire genre of entertaining experiences? Defining the genre and drawing the lines can be tricky for many fans of these styles of experiences.

Do you know or have you ever seen terms like monster tamer, monster taming games, monster raising, creature battler, creature collector on Steam or even heard someone mention Pokémon-like to categorise these types of games?

Have you seen this theme pop up for you in descriptions on Steam Tags? You can narrow your search to find products and games tagged with those specific descriptive tags applied to them.

As we look into what usually encompasses these types of games we have the encounters and battles, minigames and bonus activities, adventure towards legendary powerful unique beasts, the sheer number of creatures to find and all those interesting, memorable creature designs and the way they may alter, change and transform throughout your time with these types of games.

Palworld published by Pocket Pair, Inc. in January 2024, the player fights a swarm of Pals atop his trusty Jetragon.
Palworld published by Pocket Pair, Inc. in January 2024, the player fights a swarm of Pals atop his trusty Jetragon.

What are some examples of Creature Collecting?

Did you play Palworld this year? Did you see content online about the world of Pals or join the discussion? You’ve probably seen it too – Palworld is constantly being compared to Pokémon in online gaming forums and discussions.

While Palworld shares some similarities with the popular monster-collecting franchise, it also boasts key differences that set it apart from the beloved JRPG starring Pikachu.

Palword lets you set your creatures to work on your homestead, hunt them for their materials such as Pal Fluid for crafting and give them armaments including several guns and weapons.

In Pocket Monsters, it is a lot more family-friendly. Gaining a partner at the start of the game you begin capturing your preferred creatures in balls. Then feel free to trade them if you and a friend have a link cable or Wi-Fi features.

You can battle with your party members throughout the story and connect with friends online for multiplayer matches.

Forming connections with your Monsters

Occasionally by raising their happiness as you befriend your creatures to the point they can even evolve through high friendship during the Day and Night cycles such as with Espeon and Umbreon.

In certain games, they will even walk behind you allowing you to track their personalities and behaviour such as in the acclaimed Heart Gold and SoulSilver games or a Pikachu in Yellow version.

The mechanic evokes similar feelings to caring for an older Digimon keychain or Tamagotchi virtual pet.

Pokemon Red and Blue originally released for the GameBoy back in 1996 by Game Freak, here is an iconic scene featuring Professor Oak and his grandson Gary ready for you to choose your first partner.
Pokemon Red and Blue was released for the GameBoy back in 1996 by Game Freak

The majority were introduced to the monster taming and creature collector genre through that first cartridge of Pokémon in our GameBoys. Obviously, it not only popularised creature collecting and monster taming but also inspired numerous copycats and similar games.

Famous introductions by Professor Oak at the start of Red and Blue have now become burned into many fans’ collective subconscious at this point. He tells you of the amazing world of Pokémon, before allowing you to choose a Squirtle, Charmander or Bulbasaur.

What are some of the originators of Monster Taming?

Digimon World by Bandai was released on the PlayStation back in 1999.

Did you play the nostalgic PS1 game Digimon World back in the 90s? The game where you are transported through his Digimon v-pet keychain into the Digital world of File Island. Find the various Digimon who have left the village and grown aggressive, and return them to the city to grow the town back to how it once was. Raise your Agumon well enough and it will digivolve into a Champion within days. See how it changes!

We also have other examples such as an older example Keitai Denjū Telefang, which allows you to use your phone to collect phone numbers of which you can call monsters in to request aid in a battle.

Monsterseed on PlayStation allows you to hatch monsters from seeds, raise or lower the temperature of the hatching machine and add solutions in then incubate and hatch to produce unique monsters for your journey.

MONSTERSEED BY NK SYSTEM, GATHER SEEDS, INCUBATE AND THEN SEND MONSTERS INTO BATTLE.

How has Monster Taming evolved in the modern era?

Monster Crown, developed by Studio Aurum, the scene is the battle menu involving a fight between Brutus and your starter monster, the spooky Hooclaw.
Monster Crown, developed by Studio Aurum, the battle menu between Brutus and your starter monster, the spooky Hooclaw.

Moreover coming back to the question, what makes a game genre monster taming and creature collector? What do you think can many kinds of games include monster-taming elements?

Certainly, there is a wide variety of new examples such as Temtem, Coromon and Monster Crown.

Temtem has double battles as its primary feature and 3D graphics comparable to Pokemon Sword and Shield. Coromon has unique moving animations for each monster sprite like Pokémon Black and White does. Monster Crown has breeding as a core mechanic in which monsters can be bred together to create crossbreeds sharing physical attributes with the parents.

There are clear similarities to Pokémon in these titles but also some key differences like their unique features, storylines and monster designs.

I wanted to bring up League of Legends a real-time strategy MOBA. You are clicking these monstrous champions around the map and giving them orders to attack and move strategically right? You are taming them!

Have you ever played any monstrous League of Legends champions? Basically, you are taming beasts such as Rammus, Skarner, Gnar, Cho’Gath, Rek’Sai, Volibear or Kha’Zix. You may have seen how the champion you are playing evolves and changes as the game continues to advance just like other monster taming style games. You can even collect them all if you have the blue essence!

Cho’Gath, the Terror of the Void, a monstrous creature from the void in League of Legends
Cho’Gath, the Terror of the Void, a monstrous creature from the void in League of Legends

I encourage you all to look into a different monster taming and creature collector you might not yet have tried!

What do you think makes a game a monster tamer or creature collector?

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