Classic Digimon fans are digging this creature catching RPG I almost missed last week

Anode Heart - a pixelated side-on battle where a firey wolf pup throws a fireball at a plant monster
(Image credit: Stochastic)

Just like with cozy farm sims, there are way more monster-taming PC games to choose from than there were only a few years ago. It's easy to miss some of the smaller contenders, so I'm glad I managed to catch Anode Heart. This monster taming RPG launched just last week and, based on what I've played in its demo, is doing a great job channelling the good old aughts.

Anode Heart's developer Stochastic says that it is a "homage to the classic monster tamer games of the early 2000s," and that's super clear as soon as I start. Anode Heart doesn't bog me down in too many tutorials or backstory right off the bat. It trusts that I've played games like this before so it doesn't need to get long-winded while introducing a professor-like character who wants me to choose one of three elemental type Tamas to train and the digital device I'll use to record all the other Tamas I encounter and tame. After a bit of dialogue and a snappy battle tutorial, I'm off into the world.

(Image credit: Stochastic)

The classic inspirations are working for other players too, it seems. Several positive user reviews so far mention it will feel familiar to fans of Digimon World games. I was a Pokemon kid, personally, but I'm feeling nearly as much nostalgia here in its soundtrack, art style, and creature designs.

Similar to Cassette Beasts earlier this year, Anode Heart doubles down pretty hard on its theme: the physical tech of the '00s like floppy discs all wrapped in "a futuristic world where physical and virtual reality are deeply intertwined." Its initial mission is about figuring out why the Tamas, creatures of the Net, are starting to show up here in the Overworld.

Anode Heart also notes its fast-paced battle system as a feature. Each battle Tech my Tamas learn has its own use limit per battle and costs Turn Points to use. I can often use two or three abilities until my Turn Points are depleted and my enemy takes their turn. That attack-stacking style does make for pretty breezy battles, even though they're turn-based, and I've got the option to speed up attack animations further if I want.

(Image credit: Stochastic)

In the full version, Anode Heart also has a breeding system, over 140 different Tamas, an semi-open world, and 40 recruitable characters. It sounds like plenty more creatures and quests to contend with.

If you're looking for the next game like Pokemon (or Digimon), definitely at least give the demo for Anode Heart a go. The full version is available on Steam with a 10% discount that lasts another few days.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.