Best Digimon games of all time: from Rumble to World

Tyler Constable
An image of the seven original Digi-destined characters featured in the Digimon Adventure anime.

Digimon has spawned a lot of video games over the years that have spanned a variety of genres. From 2D fighters to traditional JRPGs, these are our picks for the best Digimon games of all time.

Digimon as an IP started life as a simple pet simulator and has since evolved into a mammoth franchise that more than rivals Pokemon. Video games have become a huge part of Digimon’s identity and fans have had plenty to play over the years.

In the lead-up to the release of Digimon Survive – the franchise’s latest game that coincides with the Digimon Adventure 25th anniversary – we’re looking back at 10 of the best Digimon games of all time.

10. Digimon Rumble Arena

An image of Veemon and Guilmon fighting as featured in Rumble Arena.
Digimon Rumble Arena was the first fighting game spin on the Digimon franchise.

Digimon Rumble Arena was the first fighting game spin on the Digimon franchise and it holds a nostalgic place in many fans’ hearts. Released for the PlayStation, Rumble Arena is a 2.5D platform fighter similar to Super Smash Bros.

During the campaign, players control a single Digimon and battle their way through the story, unlocking new characters along the way. The full character roster consists of 24 Digimon who are all drawn straight from the Digimon anime series.

Rumble Arena wasn’t the most in-depth or immersive fighting game for its time, but it has to make our list for introducing the franchise to the fast-paced genre.

9. Digimon Digital Card Battle

An image of the Digimon Digital Card Battle title screen.
Digital Card Battle is one of the most unique gaming takes on the Digimon franchise.

As the name suggests, Digital Card Battle is a video game based on the Digimon collectible card game. Compared to the other entries on this list, Digital Card Battle is perhaps the most unique Digimon video game due to its strictly card-based mechanics.

Players have the option to choose their partner card at the beginning of the game – Veemon, Hawkmon, or Armadillomon – three Digimon from the Adventure 2.0 anime. As you win matches and progress, your partner will gain experience, and their skills can be modified.

At its core, Digimon Digital Card Battle is a simple but faithful recreation of the card game that fans and card enthusiasts alike can sink hours of time into.

8. Digimon World Dawn and Dusk

Dawn and Dusk boxart.
There are substantial differences between Dawn and Dusk, including the perspective the story is told from.

Dawn and Dusk were essentially Digimon’s take on the traditional Pokemon formula of releasing two games at once. These Nintendo DS RPGs served as sequels to Digimon World DS, however, they don’t share any relation to the Digimon World series (which can be confusing due to their localized names!)

In Dawn and Dusk, the players take control of a Digimon tamer who embarks on a journey to uncover the cause of an earthquake that has disrupted the digital world. The gameplay loop involves training your Digimon through engaging turn-based combat.

At a quick glance, Dawn and Dusk may seem like the most outright Pokemon-inspired titles but the hub world and dungeon-based structure, and specific requirements needed to evolve or de-generate Digimon make these stand-out titles compared to Pokemon counterparts.

7. Digimon World Re:Digitize

Re:Digitize official artwork.
A fan-translated English localization of Re:Digitize was released in 2015, under the project ‘Operation Decode.’

Digimon World Re:Digitize was released exclusively for the PlayStation Portable in 2011 and was intended to be a modern remake of the original Digimon World game. In Re:Digitize a young boy named Taiga is transported into the Digital world and is tasked with recruiting Digimon to join the city.

Digimon are recruited after they’ve been defeated in battle and various conditions have been met. A lot of creatures found in the original game make appearances here for veteran players to enjoy, and there are a handful of unique collectibles. One of the biggest features is the ability to customize your Digimon’s appearance with everything from hats to bandanas.

Re:Digitize isn’t the best iteration of Digimon World overall but it’s still a very beloved game in the community.

6. Digimon Adventure

An image of the core partners featured in the Adventure video game and anime.
Digimon Adventure was a faithful retelling of the original anime released for the PSP.

Digimon Adventure was another PlayStation Portable exclusive that was released to commemorate the anime’s fifteen anniversary.

It follows the story of seven children who are mysteriously transported into the Digital World while away at summer camp. The kids soon meet their individual monster companions known as Digimon and set out on an adventure to save both the Digital and the real world.

The game was a faithful retelling of the Digimon Adventure anime that featured performances from the original Japanese voice cast, and also included the events of the movie, “Our War Game!”, which takes place after the series.

5. Digimon World

An image of the battle screen in Digimon World.
Digimon World has become somewhat of a cult classic since its release in 1999.

The original Digimon World follows an unnamed protagonist after he’s transported into the Digital World and ends up on File Island where he meets the digital monster Jijimon – who tasks him with saving the Island by recruiting Digimon to join File City.

The gameplay revolves around obtaining a Digimon in its digi-egg form and raising it to eventually reach it’s Ultimate form. The stronger your Digimon becomes the more Digimon can be recruited to File City, however Digimon will “fade away” with age and regenerate with better base stats. Alongside battling, the player will have to take care of their partner’s needs, which include everything from food to going to the toilet.

The gameplay loop truly made Digimon World a unique, addicting pet simulator that paved the way for a large portion of the Digimon gaming franchise.

4. Digimon World: Next Order

An image of World: Next Order official artwork.
Digimon World: Next Order gave players two partners to raise.

Digimon World: Next Order is regarded by many as the true modern successor to the original Digimon World despite being the sixth entry in the series. Next Order is once again set in File City and tasks players with recruiting as many Digimon as possible while raising their own.

The biggest change in Next Order was that players had two partners. Upon starting the game, there’s also the choice to play as a male or female protagonist, adding a small element of personalization to the story.

Overall, Next Order packages everything great about the original game into an addictive, enhanced experience.

3. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory

An image of the protagonist in Digimon Cyber Sleuth Hacker's Memory.
Hacker’s Memory features over 350 Digimon to battle and collect.

Hacker’s Memory is the direct follow-up to Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth. Released in 2017, this sequel builds on the fundamentals introduced in Cyber Sleuth while featuring a new cast of characters and a unique story.

Hacker’s Memory is a turn-based JRPG where players take control of protagonist Keisuke Amasawa who is the victim of a cyber attack that leaves him framed for a number of crimes. He soon joins forces with a group of hackers called “Hudie” who set out to find the real culprit by exploring Cyberspace with their Digimon partners.

The game features a turn-based combat system where the player can command up to three Digimon at a time. With over 350 different Digimon to battle and collect in total, Hacker’s Memory has been praised by fans for its impressive roster.

2. Digimon World 3

World 3 official artwork.
Digimon World 3 is a huge fan favorite game.

Digimon World 3 (also known as “World 2003”) was the third installment of the World series and the first to shake up the formula. The gameplay systems in 3 were adapted to feature JRPG mechanics of the time, including a turn-based battle system akin to Final Fantasy 7. This change resulted in 3 playing much more like a grand adventure than its pet simulator predeccessors.

The game follows the story of Junior – a boy who enjoys playing the MMORPG “Digimon Online”. After becoming trapped within the game, players take control of Junior and must find a way back home.

Despite initially receiving unfavorable reviews, World 3 is beloved by the Digimon community with many still hoping for a remake.

1. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition

Official artwork of Story Cyber Sleuth.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is the definitive Digimon game experience.

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is a critically acclaimed game that played a big part in reigniting Digimon’s popularity in the West. Originally released on the Vita in 2015, the game was met with praise for its graphics and return to the Digimon World formula. A complete edition was released for the Nintendo Switch and PC in 2019 that came bundled with Hacker’s Memory.

Players take control of a male or female protagonist in Cyber Sleuth and are thrown into a story shrouded in mystery. There are over 240 Digimon to battle and collect throughout, and an addicting turn-based combat system to enjoy.

Cyber Sleuth isn’t just a fantastic JRPG but it was a return to form for Digimon games that completely rejuvenated the enthusiasm for the franchise in the modern era. That’s why it’s widely considered to be the best Digimon game of all time.

That’s our list of the best Digimon games of all time! While you’re here, check out some more video game rankings below:

10 Best Mario games of all time | Best animal games | Best LGBTQ+ games | Best starter Pokemon ranked | 5 best games you didn’t play in 2021 | Best open-world games | Best Metal Gear games | Best Assassin’s Creed games | Best Call of Duty games | Best games of 2022 so far