The Digimon series is full of a wide range of diverse and sometimes strange games. Unlike Pokémon or many other monster collector games, the Digimon series never had a solid identity of what its video games would be. Its V-pet line remains consistent to this day, but in video games you get all sorts of fun experimental flavors to see what fits Digimon best. This list should help you navigate the best that the series has to offer.
A bunch of kids fall into the digital world and have to fight together to save the world. Nothing can capture the spirit of Digimon like an MMORPG. This game sadly lacks the coolest part of MMOs, which is the ability to customize your own character, opting instead to use characters from the Digimon anime as your avatars. However, it does have a ton of customization you can use with a roster of Digimon unlike any other Digimon game. This game has so much potential and is a great game to enjoy with friends.
Digimon World Data Squad
This game is an overlooked gem of a JRPG, likely due to it being tied to the unpopular 5th season of Digimon. This game in a lot of ways feels pared down compared to other Digimon games, but by lowering its scope, it presents a lot of exciting refinements to its gameplay. Simply put, it’s satisfying to defeat other Digimon and is an adventure that doesn’t outstay its welcome. There is plenty to do for completionists but not so much that it’s daunting.
Digimon Battle Spirit
This very well might be the best fighting game on the Gameboy Color. This game has 12 characters to choose from out of the adorable sprites that make it stand out from other games. It’s an adorable platform fighter akin to Super Smash Brothers but even further simplified to work under the tight restrictions of the GBA. It’s cute, fun, and unique in ways so few games are these days, making it a treasure to play.
Digimon World 2
The PS1 is the era of Digimon games that likely stands out most to fans of the series. This was at the series’ peak of popularity and PS1 games spanned from the roster of the 1st to the 3rd anime series, really covering peak nostalgia. In the whole canon of games, Digimon World 2 is weird, which is exactly what makes it enjoyable. You drive around on a tank with limited resources and capture Digimon using disks while fighting for one of several factions and of course saving the world. This game is unique in terms of its dungeon-crawling segments, monster taming mechanics, and JRPG combat.
Digimon World Next Order
This game is the ultimate version of the V-pet formula for Digimon video games. The cycle of forms is fun and not stressful and it does a lot to streamline a lot of common frustrations with this kind of Digimon game. With all the modern bells and whistles, it still has everything you could love about the V-pets and the classic Digimon world. Taking your Digimon through cycles of life is more satisfying than it has ever been and getting to have multiple Digimon at a time makes it feel more realistic.
Digimon Rumble Arena
Digimon Rumble Arena is a light and fun fighting game. The game has a tight roster of 24 Digimon to duke it out in platform fighter goodness. Being able to digivolve mid-fight feels good and contains a good party game vibe. The cards being the equivalent of items in other party fighting games work, although they often aren’t as exciting as a lot of items in their competitors. Despite its flaws, it stands out as one of the best of its class on the PS1.
Digimon Adventure: Anode/Cathode Tamer
This game is one of the few wonderswan games to ever be translated to English. It’s a kind of Digimon game that a lot of fans have been asking for and may be coming back in the upcoming Digimon Survive. The tactical RPG is simple and lacks a lot of modern SRPG convenience but it has some really cool additions to the normal SRPG formula. Being able to send out digivolved attacks across the boards and collecting a party of Digimon to fight on these grids is simply a blast. Blending monster-taming games with tactics gameplay is a good idea and this is one of the rare examples of that.
Digimon World Dawn and Dusk
These games marked the sad end to localization of Digimon games for many years, but went out with a bang. Your version of choice might mostly be aesthetic, but it’s cool that both versions parallel each other, offering you a different vibe to your main hub depending on what version you pick. Digivolution has some complications but it’s easy enough to make it an exciting mechanic even with the fairly simple monster-taming JRPG combat.
Digimon Digital Card Battle
Released at the peak of popularity for card game video games, Digimon Card Battle stands out among its competitors. Unlike its competition in the card game video game scene, this game has 3D models for every Digimon, which adds to the visual flare when you play the game getting to watch the monsters brawl it out. The game has some simple Rock Paper Scissors mechanics, which makes it easy to learn. It also has more depth without being too much more depth.
Digimon Cyber Sleuth
This is the ultimate Digimon game. It features amazing gameplay and a fantastic story that not even its direct midquel could surpass. Digimon Cyber Sleuth has a phenomenal system for managing party size, allowing players to pick between having fewer really strong Digimon or weaker Digimon. The characters are lovable and none feel like they are a copy of a past archetype. The roster of Digimon is thorough, with tons of options on what monsters to bring with you and help you build your army.