- Playing Pokémon Games Using an Emulator
- The Best Pokemon Fan Games (Main Series)
- Start Your Pokémon Fan Journey!
This post was last updated on: Saturday, November 1, 2019
Pokémon games have captured the hearts of people of as many generations as there are Pokémon. With over 800 Pokémon to collect and a new game on the way, most people have no problem waiting for official Pokémon games—they just replay the old ones.
If you tend to rush through the games and find yourself wanting more, we’ve got good news—there’s an entire world of Pokémon fan games to keep your Pokémon battling skills top-notch. Fans have been inspired by the Pokémon world and made it their own, and they’ve invited you into the tall grass.
Playing Pokémon Games Using an Emulator
Many Pokémon fan games require you to have an emulator installed on your PC. Simply put, an emulator is a computer program that acts as (or emulates) a device, like a Game Boy Advance or PS2, on your computer. This allows you to play old console games on your PC.
Once you’ve set up an emulator, you need a ROM of the game you want to play. A ROM is usually an image that the emulator reads and interprets by the emulator. Depending on the Pokémon ROM you want to play, you’ll need to find the appropriate emulator.
Most of the games in this article require a good GBA emulator. Luckily, there are tons of emulator options for PCs and mobile devices, so you can play wherever and whenever you want.
The Best Pokemon Fan Games (Main Series)
This Pokémon game was made with RPGMaker, so after all that talk about emulators, you don’t need one for this game. It’s set in a completely new location and features a surprisingly dark and gritty storyline about Pokémon-worshipping cults that are vying for world domination.
Watch out, Team Rocket—you’re no match for these guys!
The gameplay is pretty standard for Pokémon, with a couple of extra features like mega evolutions, a wider variety of challenge modes, and even secret base customization. After all, what’s a cult without a secret base? You can also choose from three difficulties, unlike the official Pokémon games.
Pokémon Uranium is one of the few fan-made games that has received an official cease-and-desist letter from Nintendo. However, by the time the ban took effect, it had already been downloaded 1.5 million times, which means that fans were quick to re-upload the game after it was taken down.
The art-style, gameplay, and music are all that you’d expect from a Pokémon game. The developers intended to expand and add more gameplay features, including a brand-new roster of Pokémon and the ability to talk to them. Kind of a letdown for any wishful Pokémon-whisperers out there.
If you decide to try Pokémon Uranium out for yourself, be warned that the developers aren’t responsible for the legitimacy of any links you use. Be careful with any suspicious links, and download them with caution. And keep some revives on hand—your computer might need them.
Pokémon Phoenix Rising
Based on Pokémon FireRed, this is the game for hardcore trainers that want a challenge. You have the option to get extra XP and a detailed storyline to keep you going for hours. And if that doesn’t entice you, you get Dragon-type Pokémon right from the beginning. Out of the way, Pikachu!
Modeled after Pokémon Emerald, Pokémon Reborn is designed for PC play. It introduces some new mechanics, like Field Effects, which allow you to change the battlefield type to your advantage.
The storyline is more adult than traditional Pokémon games, and it’s dark. While you restore your city and bring an evil organization to justice, it’s a good idea to recruit some trainer allies and play together. With 18 trainer fights, Pokémon Reborn is packed with content to keep you on your toes.
If you loved Reborn and want more of the same, check out Pokémon Rejuvenation. It’s made by the same team, and Reborn and Rejuvenation share many features, including a rich, dark storyline, epic locations, and a compelling battle system.
Rejuvenation has even more content and features than Reborn, and a full run through the game can take more than 70 hours to complete. It also has 18 typed gyms and 8 elite battles, giving you plenty of time to perfect your winning strategy.
Pokémon Clockwork is a prime choice if you’re looking for features that you won’t find in other Pokémon games (official or created by fans). Not only does the game have a day/night cycle and quests that can help boost your Pokémon’s level, but you can take advantage of new skills to up your experience.
With time-travel, dynamic Pokémon evolutions, and an edge-of-your-seat storyline, this game is a breath of fresh air. You’ll get plenty of it on the road to the next city. Be sure to check this one out if you want one of the best storylines in the history of fan-made Pokémon games.
Pokémon Fire Ash
Unlike other Pokémon fan games, Fire Ash is a Pokémon ROM hack that doesn’t fall in line with other fan Pokémon games. It’s a modified version of Pokémon FireRed that was the inspiration for the TV series and has an extensive roster of over 800 Pokémon to catch.
If you’re looking for a nostalgia trip, Fire Ash is your game. You can follow Ash’s journey and challenge over 50 gym leaders in your quest to catch ’em all. And in this game, you really can catch them all.
The game also has plenty of updated features, like mega evaluations and Alolan Pokémon forms.
Pokémon Zeta and Omicron
Created by the same team that made Insurgence, Pokémon Zeta and Omicron pits you against Team Asgard or Team Odin to stop them from using Pokémon to become gods. You’re really going to the next level here.
You’ll meet characters from older games, and you can enlist all 649 Gen 1-5 Pokémon on your quest against Team Odin.
Pokémon Zeta and Omicron is currently in public beta and, since it uses the RPG Maker engine, can be played on your PC without an emulator. As with Insurgence, it’s dark—not like most other Pokémon games.
Pokémon Prism is a ROM hack of Pokémon Crystal. It’s the sequel to Pokémon Brown and follows the story of a famous dragon trainer’s descendant, Lance. You’ll travel to two new regions, one of which was introduced in Pokémon Brown.
In addition to the 20 gym badges you need to collect, the game has plenty of unique mini-games and new elemental types that will keep you entertained for hours. For the best experience, we recommend you play Pokémon Brown first.
What started out as a collaboration between artists to design Pokémon outside the official sphere eventually turned into Pokémon Sage, a small game that showcases completely original Pokémon.
With a Latin-American design, you get a unique setting and designs that depart from the Gen 1-5 Pokémon most other fan games feature.
Unfortunately, Sage is currently only a short demo with three gym badges to earn, so if you’re in it for the long game, look elsewhere. There are rumors of a final version being planned for release, with more content and even more new Pokémon to catch.
Pokémon Light Platinum Version
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you pitted old Pokémon against new Pokémon, this is the game for you. This ROM hack is based on Pokémon Ruby and packs tons of additional content. You can earn 16 gym badges, battle in two Pokémon leagues, and even reach a world championship.
Basically, it’s impossible to get bored or run out of stuff to do.
If you’ve played all the official Pokémon games to death (or fainting), but are still looking for that classic Pokémon experience, Pokémon Light Platinum is one of the best fan games Pokémon has spawned. It’s familiar enough for nostalgia to kick in but new enough that you won’t want to quit.
Pokémon Mega Adventure
Pokémon Mega Adventure is a single fan’s love letter to the series. It’s focused mainly on combat, with minimal story between battles. You can collect 721 Pokémon in your quest to become a champion and Pokémon master.
Since it was made by a single person, you can expect Pokémon Mega Adventure to be kind of basic. However, it is a finished game, which is rare in the fan game community. And if Pokémon battles are your jam, this is the game for you.
Pokémon Reborn Dusk Edition
If you want a multiplayer experience, Pokémon Reborn Dusk Edition was made for you. While it follows the traditional Pokémon formula, it also features competitive trainer gameplay and a 50,000 level limit. Forget being a Pokémon master—you’re a Pokémon god, now.
UnovaRPG Pokémon Online
UnovaRPG is a unique fan game in the family of Pokémon MMO games. It uses the former Pokémon Indigo platform and can be played online directly from your browser. What’s great about this is that it means you can play UnovaRPG, not just from your PC, but from a tablet or smartphone.
If you’re looking to get your Pokémon fix on the go, this is a great place to start. UnovaRPG has a friendly and active community, with over 10,000 players registered. You can team up or fight against other players, and you’ve got over 800 Pokémon to collect.
Pokémon MMO 3D
Most Pokémon games take place in a familiar 2D plane. As its name suggests, Pokémon MMO 3D takes place in 3D. You feel like you’re in the game as you explore familiar—and not so familiar—regions.
Even the battle screen is 3D, and combat has been adjusted accordingly. Instead of turn-based orders, you directly control your Pokémon. You can move and attack when and how you like. Abilities are on cooldown, and you need to keep your wits about you if you want to win.
Pokémon MMO is a massively multiplayer iteration of Pokémon. In addition to exploring a very familiar world, you get to battle alongside, or against, fellow trainers. Form teams and trade or share with other players or choose to challenge them to battle instead.
The game is still in active development, with new Pokémon and regions to explore being added all the time. Familiar regions like Kanto and Hoenn have been rescaled to fit the MMO playstyle that so many fans of PokéMMO know and love.
Can you play Pokémon fan games on Android?
It depends on what fan games you want to play. Many fan games are made with PC players in mind, and those won’t be accessible to Android users. However, there are also plenty of ROM hacks that rely on GBA emulators to work.
There are lots of GBA emulators available for Android. All you need to do is download the emulator, find a ROM hack of your choice, and start playing.
What are the best Pokémon ROM hacks?
The award for the best Pokémon ROM hacks depends on what you’re looking for. Some ROM hacks add extra Pokémon, while others completely remake the game.
We’ve listed some of the best Pokémon fan games, and some of these are ROM hacks, so give them a try and see which one you prefer.
Is Pokémon Insurgence a ROM hack?
No. Many fans have moved away from ROM hacks and have started creating games on the PC game engine RPG Maker. This gives them the freedom to design the game exactly as they want without the limitations of having to hack a ROM.
Insurgence was made on RPG Maker XP and can be run on PC without a GBA emulator.
Is Pokémon Phoenix Rising finished?
Nope. It’s still in development. However, the content that exists so far is definitely worth a look.
Start Your Pokémon Fan Journey!
That just about wraps up our review of what we think the best fan made Pokemon games are.
Everyone loves something different about Pokémon. Many live for combat and battling other trainers, while some just want to collect every Pokémon in existence. If you’re impatient for the next Pokémon official release, Rapidash to download the best Pokémon fan games while you wait!