It’s time to grab a banana and swing through the trees of Viridian Forest as we check out the best monkey Pokemon!
Monkeys are among the most appealing and often adorable types of animal in the real world.
Their cheeky behaviour and relatable faces make them strangely fascinating to us humans – we are of course reasonably close to them, from a genetics standpoint, which perhaps explains part of their appeal.
There’s numerous Pokemon based on monkeys – and they’re quite often among the most popular and well designed, at least visually, in the entire Pokedex.
Though apes such as chimpanzees and gorillas are often erroneously referred to as monkeys, we’re going to include them here anyway – in some cases, there’s Pokemon who start out as a monkey and evolve into an ape-like creature, or vice versa; meaning the line is already blurred anyway!
But with so many monkeys and apes to choose from in the Pokedex, which are the best?
Let’s find out, as we check out the best monkey Pokemon!
Introduced in fourth generation titles Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, the Fire and Fighting type Monferno is known as the ‘playful Pokemon’.
It’s great that this evolved form of the incredibly cute starter, Chimchar, has a playful nature – because it’s a bit lacking in the stats department.
However, this flaming tailed primate does have some tricks up its sleeve.
Monferno can increase the power of its Fire type moves when it drops below a third of its maximum HP, thanks to the Blaze ability.
Also, Monferno’s hidden ability Iron Fist increases the power of all of its Fighting type moves by 20%!
Though Monferno usually evolved into Infernape at level 36, if you’re patient and hold off the change until at least level 56, it’ll learn the devastating Flare Blitz move – which has 100% accuracy and a phenomenal 120 power.
So despite initially looking fairly weak on paper, Monferno is surprisingly capable if used correctly.
Not to mention the fact that Monferno is definitely worth having around, considering what it evolves into – as you’ll see further down this list of the best monkey Pokemon!
Grumpy little Thwackey is another Pokemon that doesn’t exactly impress from a stats point of view.
Introduced in Pokemon Sword and Shield, Thwackey evolves from Grookey when the adorable Grass type starter reaches level 16.
Slightly below average Attack and Speed are the best that Thwackey has to offer in terms of its stats, but just like Monferno it gets a bonus to certain moves when it is reduced to a third or less of its HP.
In Thwackey’s case, that means Grass type moves getting a 50% bonus to their power – due to the Overgrow ability.
Perhaps most interesting is the hidden ability, Grassy Surge, however – this creates a grass-based environment that increases the power of Grass type attacks and restores the HP of grounded Pokemon.
Thwackey also evolves into the brilliant Rillaboom at level 35, but if you hold that evolution off until level 42, Thwackey will gain access to Wood Hammer. It’s a Grass type move with 100% accuracy and 120 power, which is of course made more powerful thanks to the aforementioned Grassy Surge!
Spoiler alert: Rillaboom itself is also going to make its own appearance on the best monkey Pokemon list!
One of the original Pokemon that debuted back in the very first games in the series – Pokemon Red and Blue – the Fighting type Primeape evolves from Mankey when it reaches level 28.
Primeape is the first Pokemon on this list to have decent stats; it’s got above average Attack and Speed, with some seriously good moves learned as it levels up.
Primeape seems to have access to a range of move types as it grows too – with powerful Fighting, Dark, Ghost and even Dragon type moves at its disposal!
Truly a versatile beast, Primeape has also recently been gifted with a pretty amazing secret.
If Primeape uses Ghost type move Rage Fist (which it learns at level 35) twenty times, it’ll evolve into the amazing Annihilape.
Of course, with Annihilape being such an impressive Pokemon, we can assure you that you’ll see it again on the best monkey Pokemon list!
7. Darmanitan (Standard Mode)
Next up is Darmanitan, a strange combination of primate and Japanese Daruma dolls.
Darmanitan evolves from Darumaka – who definitely doesn’t look like a monkey – at level 35.
Darmanitan is able to morph into four entirely different forms – this Standard Mode, along with Galarian Standard Mode, Zen Mode and Galarian Zen Mode.
Each of them is strong enough to occupy an entry on the best monkey Pokemon list, but the Darmanitan’s Standard Mode is the most outwardly simian.
Galarian Standard Mode comes close, but its white fur makes it look more like a Yeti than a primate – so we’ve taken the difficult decision to exclude it from the list.
You will, however, find Galarian Darmanitan on our best Pokemon Theme Decks list!
Darmanitan has great Speed and HP, but where it really shows itself to be a powerhouse is with its Attack stat, which is incredibly strong!
Fire type Pokemon Darmanitan has surprisingly few weaknesses – being vulnerable only to Water, Ground and Rock type moves.
It’s strong against six types too: Fire, Grass, Ice, Bug, Steel and Fairy.
So yes, Darmanitan is a very good monkey Pokemon – but as you’ll see, there’s quite a few that are much more impressive!
Adorable Aipom – with its long, prehensile and hand-equipped tail – evolves into the much stronger Ambipom after it learns Double Hit, usually at level 32.
A Normal type Pokemon introduced in fourth generation titles Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Ambipom has two of those aforementioned prehensile tails!
It’s a fast Pokemon in terms of its Speed stat, with above average Attack too.
One of its hidden abilities – Skill Link – also causes any multi-strike moves to always hit their maximum number of attacks, which of course can prove lethal!
Though Ambipom has a weakness to Fighting type moves, it’s immune to Ghost type moves – and has no other move-type weaknesses at all, making it a really good all-rounder.
A Normal and Psychic type Pokemon, Oranguru made its debut in generation seven games Pokemon Sun and Moon.
Heavily leaning on Dark and Psychic type moves, Oranguru can be absolutely devastating against unprepared opponents!
This very chilled out looking, Orangutan-esque Pokemon has above average HP, Sp. Atk and Sp. Def.
Its Inner Focus ability stops Oranguru from flinching – and it has very few weaknesses, with just Bug and Dark type moves to worry about.
Psychic moves have no effect on Oranguru – and Ghost type moves are only half as effective!
At level 60, Oranguru learns Future Sight; a powerful Psychic type move that takes two turns to hit – but when it does, its 120 power ensures it deals significant damage to the opposing Pokemon!
Following Oranguru in the Pokedex is Pokemon #766: Passimian.
Though perhaps stretching our definition of ‘monkey’ even further with Passimian – who’s very much like a lemur.
Yet it’s also a Pokemon which appears to treat gathering berries like some kind of team sport!
Passiman is very weak when it comes to its Sp. Atk stat, but it’s particularly strong in terms of Attack, as well as having above average HP and Attack too.
A Fighting type Pokemon, Passimian has weaknesses to Flying, Psychic and Fairy type moves, but it’s strong against Bug, Dark and Rock types.
Arguably its best move is Giga Impact, learned at level 60.
It is ‘only’ 90% effective, but has a power of 150. Despite this, it does take a turn to recharge once used.
It’s great against weaker Pokemon, however – and Passimian is a very good team player for double or even triple battles, as its Receiver ability allows it to inherit the abilities of team mates when they faint!
Pokemon Sword and Shield starter Grookey becomes Thwackey – who we’ve already included in this list – at level 16, paving the way for Thwackey to evolve into Rillaboom at level 35.
Rillaboom is certainly worth the wait; it has a very strong Attack stat, along with excellent HP and Defense.
Not only that, but this Grass type ape is blessed with the excellent Wood Hammer move at level 32 (though very strong, it does cause ‘recoil’ damage to Rillaboom) and the amazing Boomburst at level 62.
What’s so special about Boomburst, I hear you ask?
Well, not only is it 100% accurate, but it has a power of 140 and it targets all adjacent Pokemon in a battle.
The one downside? Adjacent Pokemon can also include allies – so when Rillaboom uses that Boomburst, you better make sure to get out of its way!
Flame headed, Fire and Fighting type Pokemon Infernape evolves from our number ten entry – Monferno – when it reaches level 36.
Introduced in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl – during the fourth generation of Pokemon games – Infernape is the highest evolution of starter Pokemon, Chimchar (who you’ll find on our all Pokemon starters tier list!).
This is a brilliantly capable Pokemon, with impressive Attack, Sp. Def and Speed stats.
It even has access to a great selection of different move types; from level 42 to 68, it’ll learn Fire, Flying and Psychic type moves!
Monferno’s Blaze and Iron Fist abilities carry over to Infernape when it evolves too, so those two excellent abilities are great to have available.
Despite being a fantastic example of a simian Pokemon, there’s still one who we at Retro Dodo consider the best monkey Pokemon of them all – so let’s take a look at who that is!
We weren’t kidding when we mentioned how impressive Annihilape is in our Primeape entry earlier – so it should be no surprise to see it at the very top of the best monkey Pokemon list!
Back when Fighting type Pokemon Mankey and its evolved form Primeape appeared in Pokemon Red and Blue – as part of the original lineup of Pokemon – who could have guessed that someday, they would receive an entirely new evolution that would knock all other monkey Pokemon out of the trees?
Yet Annihilape, only introduced in ninth generation titles Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, does exactly that!
A Fighting and Ghost type Pokemon, Annihilape does lack a little in terms of Defense and Sp. Atk, but it’s above average in every other area of its stats.
Attack and HP stand out as particularly impressive – and it has some great abilities that make Annihilape particularly resilient.
Vital Spirit stops Annihilape from falling asleep and Inner Focus prevents it from flinching.
If an opposing Pokemon lowers Annihilape’s stats, the hidden ability of Defiant sharply raises its Attack too!
Best of all, Normal and Fighting type moves are completely useless against Annihilape – who also reduces the effectiveness of Poison, Bug and Rock moves too.
Given how easy it is to evolve a Primeape into an Annihilape – check out our ‘how to get Annihilape in Pokemon Scarlet/Violet‘ article for more details – getting yourself one of these simian beasts is well worth the minimal effort!
Which of our monkey masters is your favourite? Who’s heading up your team as you swing into battle? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.