1. Battle Camp — FREEDOWNLOAD HERE
Unlike any of the other Pokemon Go alternatives I've played, Battle Camp gives an immediate air of quality in all respects. From elegant UI to gorgeous models, it is clear that the team behind Battle Camp spared no details. The actual gameplay, however, is mind blowing to say the least. For the hardcore, the battling dynamic is completely unfamiliar, but the change is welcome. While numerous other Pokemon knock-offs shamelessly try to (poorly) emulate Pokemon's combat system, Battle Camp opts for something refreshingly different. Loosely implementing the beloved bejeweled interface that made Candy Crush so popular, Battle Camp elevates the game beyond spamming your favorite attack. In battles, skilled players can chain up combos to multiply the strength of their attacks. There are hundreds of monsters with unique stats and attributes to build your own complex and worthy team. Indeed, Battle Camp tops this exclusive list as the best Pokemon Go alternative available on iPhone. In fact, Battle Camp is turning out to be one of my favorite mobile games of all time, and it's free.
2. Haypi Monster — FREEDOWNLOAD HERE
After sifting through countless Pokemon substitutes, Haypi Monster was one of only two games to actually feel complete. All the art and animation fits well together and makes for a congruous and distraction free experience. The battle sequences emulate Pokemon perfectly (they didn't even bother to change some attack names). What stands out most to me, however, is the player movement in the overworld. Unlike any Pokemon alternative I have ever played before, Haypi monster plays like a board game. There are spaces and with each 'turn' you roll a die to see which space you land determining the pace of which you move through the game. Some spaces have battles, and others have a variety of prizes. There is an element of luck in the game beyond just stumbling upon a rare monster in the brush, and it is thrilling.
3. Bulu Monster — FREEDOWNLOAD HERE
What I find most frustrating about many of the Pokemon copy-cats in the app store is that so many choose to use either a joystick or D-pad in classic GameBoy fashion, but it just doesn't translate to the iPhone. Bulu Monster makes movement simple and elegant by setting tappable destinations on the map for the player to head towards. In battle, the graphics and animation in battle are on par with the most recent Pokemon releases, but in the overworld, Bulu Monster could try a little harder. To be sure, this game actually spends significantly more time in battle than Pokemon. Yes, battling is the core of Pokemon games, and they ought to be the most enjoyable part, but the feel is all wrong here.The whole game feels like walking in tall grass in Pokemon, where each move you make results in another battle.
4. Hunter Island — $0.99DOWNLOAD HERE
Like Bulu Monster, this game loses the joystick and D-pad and adopts a UI-based movement scheme, and I thank them wholeheartedly for that. Instead of Pokemon's classic turn-based battle system, Hunter island puts a twist on it implementing an attack queue depending on the cycle speed of a monster's attack — i.e. some monsters may attack more often than others. During these attacks, Hunter Island doesn't make you a victim of mundane tapping characteristic other games by allowing players to slash their opponents to execute attacks. Though only a detail, this effect alone has me forgetting — at least for a moment — that I'm not mindlessly level grinding. While the 2d models are crisp and colorful, the animations are abysmal and a plague to the eye. All-in-all Hunter Island is innovative, but unfulfilled.
5. Mobile Monsters — $0.99DOWNLOAD HERE
Probably one of the purer Pokemon look-alikes out there, Mobile Monsters is packed with hours of gameplay. Just like the game it aspires to be, our main character moves from town to town battling other trainers and wild monsters begging to be tamed. Indeed, it feels very much like the original. But, while its greatest selling points are the commonalities between it and Pokemon, the loyalty appears to be a double-edged sword. At first the similarities are charming and reminiscent, but quickly become tired. The resemblance can't help but provoke comparison, and that is exactly where this game fails. Drawing so much from Pokemon, Mobile Monsters succeeds only in being mediocre. Between pitiful graphics years behind Pokemon Red and Blue and somehow boasting about their "dozens of mobile monsters", Mobile Monsters feels like settling for a knock-off. No, at $0.99 on the app store, Mobile Monsters is settling for a knock-off.