Neopets recently celebrated 24 years of distracting millennials with cute and fuzzy digital animals. Although the popularity of Neopets has waned since its noughties heyday, there is a cornucopia of other games like Neopets to play in 2023.
Neopets took the internet by storm when it first launched back in 1999. The browser based game attracted millions of players by the mid-2000s and offered players a space to care for pets, chat and play mini-games.
It seems that the Neopets team are committed to delivering the ‘Neopets Renaissance’ under new leadership, restoring several aspects of what made the site so popular back in the day.
There have been rumours and speculation about a new entry in the long-running series for a while now. A new Neopets plot, entitled ‘The Void Within’, was teased back in July of this year, but little has been shown of the project since.
Of course, Neopets isn’t exclusive to internet browsers, and the series transitioned from Flash to make appearances on the PS2, Nintendo DS, and the PSP.
If you’re looking to get your fix of digital pet care, social antics, and mini-games, then look no further as we’ve compiled a list of our favourite games like Neopets to play in 2023 below.
Table of Contents
1. Stardew Valley (2016)
It’s no secret that we adore Stardew Valley at Retro Dodo. ConcernedApe‘s farming and life sim is a charming, whimsical antidote to the stress of modern life, much like Neopets was back at the start of the millenium.
In a similar vein to Neopets, Stardew Valley allows players to raise and care for an assortment of animals.
A little while into your new life on the farm you’ll be visited by your neighbour Marnie and offered the chance to adopt a cute little cat or dog.
Your new feline or canine buddy won’t be the only animal kicking around your renovated farm though.
Stardew Valley gives wannabe wurzels the chance to acquire and care for a whole range of barnyard animals, and tend to them by feeding them every day and giving them nice warm shelters to live in.
And what’s better than having a farm full of animals to look after than having a farm full of animals to look after with your friends!
Stardew Valley’s co-op mode means you can share the experience of raising your digital cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and goats with other players so there’s some shared responsibility to making sure everybody is well fed and tucked up safely for the night.
2. Ooblets (2022)
Ooblets has to be up there as one of the strangest, sweetest games you’ll ever play.
For the uninitiated, Ooblets is a weird game that takes the farming and life-sim genres, stirs in a hearty handful of creature collecting and sprinkles dancing on top. In a similar fashion to Stardew Valley, Ooblets gifts players a farm in need of renovation and plonks you in a town full of loveable characters.
Unlike Stardew Valley, Ooblets then throws a variety of whacky looking creatures at you, turns on the disco lights, and asks you to boogie down!
It’s not all about partying though. There’s a social aspect to Ooblets that will make fans of Neopets smile with delight. The inhabitants of Badgetown are there to befriend, with each resident willing to become your new BFF in exchange for gifts.
The combination of surrealism and sincerity is what will appeal to fans of Neopets, especially if any legacy players are looking for a game that can provide the quirkiness that Neopets is known for.
3. Viva Piñata (2006)
Viva Piñata initially exploded onto the Xbox 360 in 2006 and the game offers plenty for fans of Neopets to enjoy, even in 2023.
Whereas most of the games on this list focus on the weird creatures or relationship building attributes, Viva Piñata is more about creating the perfect environment for weird creatures and budding relationships to bloom.
Viva Piñata is fundamentally a gardening game that sees players tending to a tranquil patch of land in Piñata Island. Creating an attractive biome encourages local Piñatas, colourful, paper covered animals to visit.
Eventually, two Piñatas that love each other very much will be able to commence the ‘romance dance’ a mini-game that results more Piñatas being born, enabling the community and the garden to thrive.
With over fifty Piñatas to discover and interact with, and a delicate ecosystem to balance, Viva Piñata is a fun and silly way for Neopets veterans to spend their time.
4. Slime Rancher (2016)
Do you dream of a becoming part of the common clay of the new West? A simple farmer? A ranch hand responsible only for their herd and for looking good in cowboy boots?
Well now you can, and as an added bonus, you’ll also be hanging out with these cute and blobby slimes all day!
Slime Rancher delivers a new perspective on the lovable digital pet thing by sticking you in the boots of Beatrix LeBeau and interacting with the various slimes in first person.
Slime Rancher and its sequel are a bit more action orientated than other entries on this list and features simplistic combat against ‘Tarr Slimes’ but even these little rascals can’t extinguish the charm for Neopets players.
The spritely, gelatinous blobs will happily bounce around in the wild until you hoover them up with your VacPack (think of the Suck Kut from Wayne’s World and you’re half way there) and deposit them back at your Ranch.
Fans of Neopets may be saddened to learn that there aren’t any relationship building mechanics within Slime Rancher but instead of deep personal friendships with one or two creatures you can now make superficial, financially beneficial bonds with loads of little slimes.
5. Disney Dreamlight Valley (2022)
Disney Dreamlight Valley is one of the best games like Neopets to play in 2023. Being a cosy life-sim based on some of the most recognisable characters and franchise in entertainment history means there’s a plethora of loveable villagers to interact and hang out with. You can also nurture the local wildlife by giving fruits and plants to various squirrels, birds and critters.
We’re also starting to see the slow introduction of multiplayer elements in Disney Dreamlight Valley that will scratch the itch of those Neopets veterans who love to be social.
Developer Gameloft recently revealed that the suite of multiplayer offerings will be greatly expanded, with players able to visit each others Valleys and take part in activities together.
While you might not be able to create a whole cast of your own characters like in Neopets, you can at least dress up your villagers to better suit your style!
One of my favourite aspects of Disney Dreamlight Valley is the ability to unlock various outfits for your Disney neighbours. Seeing Merlin rocking his holiday threads from his Bermuda getaway always brings a big, dumb grin to my face.
With the advent of multiplayer, a huge amount of customisation and a bunch of mini-games on offer, Disney Dreamlight Valley could be the perfect game for Neopets fans in 2023 and beyond.
6. Nintendogs (2005)
While several entries on our list of games like Neopets can be considered a bit weird or kooky (here’s looking at you Ooblets), the Nintendogs games swing hard in the name of realism.
Sure, nobody will confuse these digital dogs for the real thing, but the way you interact with your pixelated poochies is what makes Nintendogs unique in our list of Neopets alternatives.
We’re obviously not alone in thinking that Nintendogs is something special considering the series has shifted over a whopping 24-millions copies since it debuted back in 2005.
A lovely feature that may attract fans of Neopets to Nintendogs is being able to speak to your little puppy using the Nintendo DS microphone.
Raising your creatures in Neopets is core to the appeal of the series and Nintendogs makes that experience richer by letting your virtual woofer react to the sound of your own voice.
It’s amazingly cute seeing your in-game dog come running when they hear your name or react accordingly when you ask them to sit or roll over.
Nintendogs makes spectacular use of the DS hardware and allows players to pet their dogs using the built in touchscreen. We know you’d never pet your dog with a stylus in real life but a Nintendog also wouldn’t take a dump in your slippers, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.
7. Alba: A Wildlife Adventure (2020)
We’re honing in on the ability to care for animals with our next pick for games like Neopets to play in 2023. Alba: A Wildlife Adventure lets players explore the fictional Spanish island town of Secarral as a young girl named Alba.
Alba is visiting her grandparents in Secarral when she discovers a beached dolphin. After coming to the aid of the dolphin, Alba and her holiday BFF Inés decide to start a wildlife rescue league to help conservation efforts on the island.
Alba is full of colourful characters to meet and socialise with but the greatest appeal to players of Neopets will be the ability to help animals.
Every animal in Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is represented realistically and there are plenty of missions that see Alba assisting the local fauna by feeding them or securing a safe habitat for them to live in.
Another big aspect to the game is photographing each animal. The birds, rodents, sea life and more can all be snapped with the photos used to help raise awareness of the creatures plight in the fight against inconsiderate urban development.
8. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (2001)
Sonic might not be the first franchise you think of when considering an alternative Neopets experience, and for the most part, you’d be spot on. The Blue Blur is brash and loud and his whole deal is about going fast and bouncing on some no-good scientist.
So why then, is Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on this list?
Two words; Chao Garden.
When not bouncing on Badniks or getting all serious with Shadow, Sonic and friends can retire to the peaceful Chao Gardens in the Sonic Adventure series to raise these odd looking pets.
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle introduces even more ways to interact with your little Chao buddies. New modes called Chao Race and Chao Karate allow players to race and do battle with their cute pets.
Players can improve the stats of each cuddly Chao by feeding them fruit or letting them absorb powers from Chaos drives and animals from one of the main stages in the game. Improving the stats allows each Chao to perform better within the Chao Race and Chao Karate modes and seeing your little bundle of joy steamroll the competition will leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling.
9. The Last Guardian (2016)
All of the games on this list typically feature gameplay that allows players to tend to creatures that are, shall we say, ‘normal’ in size.
But what if you want to look after an animal that’s a little bigger? Where is Hippo Vet Simulator 2000 or Giraffe Island 2?
Well I’m sorry to disappoint you readers looking for gargantuan animal care games as those two don’t exist!
What does exist however, is Japan Studio’s The Last Guardian. If you wanted big pets then they don’t get much bigger than the loveable Trico.
What makes Trico stand out from the other digital pets in the list is that they are instrumental in an adventure game. The Last Guardian sees players take on the role of a young boy, who after awakening in a mysterious ruin, discovers Trico, the half-bird, half-mammal, all giant creature.
The pair quickly bond but players can strengthen the relationship between the two by feeding Trico barrels whenever they feel hungry, petting them to calm them down when they are scared of anxious and healing their wounds after battle.
While The Last Guardian is certainly more action orientated than Neopets, the connection between players and their digital companion cements its status as one of the best games like Neopets to play in 2023.
10. Pokémon Series
Finally, and you knew this was coming, any of the Pokémon games will make a fantastic and rewarding alternative for fans of Neopets.
The series first emerged back in Japan during the mid-nineties and has gone from strength to strength every since. One of the many reasons for this incredible endurance is the huge variety of Pokémon to interact with.
For Neopets fans, Pokémon offers players to bond with their pocket monsters from the moment they find them in the wild.
While most people will likely recognise Pikachu, Neopets players will have over one thousand creatures to grow to love including the canine Growlithe and the ever-relatable Snorlax.
Featuring compelling gameplay, deep lore and a raft of vibrant locations to visit, the Pokémon series delivers a magical experience for players of all ages to enjoy.
With a shed load of Pokémon games available on the Nintendo Switch as well as mobile offerings like Pokémon Go, there’s never been a better time for Neopets aficionados to check out this brilliant franchise.
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Theo first fell in love with gaming when he sped through Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog back in 1991. Theo has previously provided reviews, news coverage and articles for The Games Cabin and enjoyed producing comedic Let’s Plays on his own personal YouTube channels.
A huge Kingdom Hearts and Metal Gear fan, Theo enjoys deep gameplay mechanics and complex storylines. A completionist by nature, Theo has earned over 140 platinum trophies including top digital trinkets for Stardew Valley, The Witness, Bloodborne and a plethora of GTA games.
Outside of gaming, Theo can often be found riding his motorbike, headbanging at gigs or out in the countryside exploring nature and marvelling at the ‘realistic graphics’.