Pokémon is one of the franchises with the largest and most prolific fandoms. There have been many original games released by Nintendo, but still, for some fans, it is not enough – they want to experience more adventures in the world of the “pocket monsters.”
For this reason, more and more Pokémon ROM hacks appear – they are the video games that have been altered by skillful fans and, as a result, achieved a totally new story and appearance with different regions to explore. As more and more modifications appear, you are provided with almost endless possibilities, characters, and storylines.
However, with so many games to choose from, you may find it hard to find the ones that are most worth your attention. To help you with the selection, we have prepared a list of the best Pokémon ROM hacks ever made. So, just prepare your Pokéballs and get ready for catching them all!
Pokémon Dark Rising
If you like incredibly long sagas, such as One Piece, you will likely get sucked into Pokémon Dark Rising games immediately. They are very narrative-driven ROM hacks, and they can get you deep into the story. It is now famous as the most extensive Pokémon saga made entirely by fans. It has three games so far:
Dark Rising 2
Dark Rising: Order Destroyed
It is not only the story that is excellent here – but the gameplay is absolutely fantastic, too. What is more, there is a wide range of Pokémon for you to catch and train – you can see creatures from almost every generation in this ROM hack. Apart from that, adding the “Dream World” abilities is definitely a fantastic icing on the cake.
Pokémon Gaia is one of the most famous Pokémon ROM hacks based on the Fire Red version and developed by Spherical Ice. It strongly resembles an original game – it provides the players with a full Pokémon experience, including an exciting new story and engaging gameplay.
There are some excellent extras in this ROM hack worth mentioning. First, the soundtrack – even though most of the music is taken from the original games (Fire Red and Ruby), some new outstanding tracks have been added as well. For example, the Elder Knights’ battle theme, the region’s evil team, sounds better than most officially made songs for the Third Generation.
Apart from that, the game features a lot of entirely new sprites for characters and a well-developed storyline. For a ROM hack, it is really great content that every true fan can enjoy.
Pokémon Glazed is one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks based on the Emerald version of the game. It starts when your character has just turned twelve and is allowed to choose their Pokémon companion. However, the Tunod region situation is challenging – there is a mysterious power sending the real world and the Pokémon world on a collision course.
During the game, you will meet strange teams with a mysterious purpose, make friends and allies, and cooperate with other trainers to make the world peaceful again.
Also, in this ROM hack, you will have the chance to meet your favorite legendary Pokémon again and play the refreshed version of the Emerald game with new skills and items, and see the magnificently designed maps, buildings, and the whole environment.
Importantly, you have access to five Starters instead of three to select from. What is more, you can explore different regions than in the Emerald Pokémon game.
Pokémon Blazed Glazed
It happens that the best Pokémon ROM hacks are not only frequently updated, but also thoroughly improved and released by fans as a totally new version of the game.
Pokémon Blazed Glazed is an excellent example of that – it is actually an enhanced version of Pokémon Glazed. The story in this ROM hack is basically the same – the world is in chaos, and your character picks their first Pokémon and tries to save both worlds. You still have five Starters to choose from and the Dream World Pokémon.
Nevertheless, there are many new features added to this game. For instance, you can find Pokémon Generation IV to VI and discover some new moves. What is more, different Pokémon are added to various locations of this ROM hack.
Also, there are some Pokémon move updates, which means they do not learn their default moves in this game.
Pokémon Brown is one of the ROM hacks based on the original Pokémon Red. In this game, we can visit the industrialized region of Rijon. As a result of the industrialization process, five new elemental types of Pokémon emerged: Wood, Wind, Sound, Gas, and Abnormal. Moreover, you can encounter 73 new Fakemon (new Pokémon created by fans) living in the area on top of Kanto’s 151.
Interestingly, this game was one of the first-ever made Pokémon ROM hacks. If you are interested in the history of this franchise’s fan-made games, it is still worth playing.
Keep in mind when you finish Pokémon Brown, you can proceed to its sequel called Pokémon Prism.
In 2014, there was a significant update to Pokémon Brown to make it compatible with this ROM hack’s sequel. The story of this game is consistent with its predecessor and picks up where it left off. You start the game in the new region of Naljo. However, after battling all the gym leaders and clearing the Pokémon League, you can go back to Rijon as well.
One of the most exciting features of this Pokémon ROM hack is the fact that there are some areas added that can be explored by Pokémon only. In this way, you can control your team like in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games.
Also, apart from the previous 225 Pokémon, you can find 28 new ones present in Naljo only. Pokémon Prism is definitely one of the best ROM hacks, packed with new content, so every fan of this franchise should enjoy it!
Pokémon Light Platinum
Pokémon Light Platinum is an excellent ROM hack of Pokémon Ruby. What makes it distinct from the original game even at first glance is edited graphics, but that is not the only change. You can visit the Zhery Region there and battle many new rivals.
What is more, you can check your skills while fighting the region’s great gym leaders and amazingly challenging Elite Four, as well as the Champion. Moreover, you can catch and train Pokémon from such areas as Hoenn, Kanto, Sinnoh, and Johto.
Also, remember that there are many items and moves you can assemble while playing this game. Apart from that, the player can participate in a few special events, including the Pokémon World Championship. This championship can be treated as the endgame content after dominating the Elite Four.
Pokémon Light Platinum is a well-developed ROM hack, and you can play it for like twenty-four hours or more.
Pokémon Dark Cry
One of the most characteristic things about Pokémon Dark Cry is that it is quite a complex story. In this Pokémon ROM hack, your character wakes up in a cavern with everything around being highly contrasted. There are two people, remaining by a shady special raised area who are talking about a “Shadow Plate.” You go after your Pokémon, but it turns out they are not there. Then, you notice a man with an “R” on his shirt. You try to stop him, but he just walks directly past you.
This guy plays out an unusual custom, followed by a huge quake and a goliath shadow getting nearer and nearer you. Suddenly, you wake up and realize that it was only a dream. You look at the clock, and you notice with horror that you are already late for getting your Pokémon. As time goes by, you realize that this weird dream is becoming real. Sounds like a creepy story!
In Pokémon Dark Cry, you can visit a brand new region called TrionPokePaper. What is more, this game features a daily news source and level cap increase.
Also, the gameplay is varied with a lot of side quests and mini-games. It is one of the best ROM hacks of the Pokémon Fire Red, which provides nearly perfect gameplay as many players claim. It is also highly appreciated for its excellent scripting and great mapping.
Pokémon Phoenix Rising
This game is considered to be one of the most relevant Pokémon ROM hacks by numerous fans. It is set in the Hawthorne region and provides you with a relatively standard Pokémon adventure with a story developing in accordance with your narrative decisions.
This game makes Pokémon more similar to a modern RPG, which can be really exciting for a fan of this genre. Apart from that, it is worth knowing that this ROM hack features new Mega Evolutions and also a new kind of creature – Relic Pokémon. One of the most impressive ones is definitely Relic Tyranitar!
Remember that this game is frequently updated, so if you want to know more about its development, you can follow its Twitter account.
Pokémon Omega Red
Pokémon Omega Red is another ROM hack of the original Pokémon Fire Red, but lots of new features were added to the game. For instance, you have here all 807 Pokémon (including the ones from newer areas) in the Kanto region when this story takes place.
What is more, there are Alolan forms, mega-evolutions, a Fairy type, and many new moves – wow, that sounds like an entirely different experience from the original game!.
One of the most distinct characteristics of Pokémon Omega Red is that it is much more difficult than Pokémon Fire Red, so it provides an experienced player with an exciting challenge. All the gym leaders are hard to beat, with their full team of Pokémon.
What is more, every trainer in this game has been significantly buffed. If the new Pokémon games are too easy for you and you are looking for something more demanding, you will undoubtedly like Pokémon Omega Red!
Pokémon Ash Gray
Again, this a famous ROM hack of Pokémon Fire Red. Its story directly follows the one you remember from the very first season of the anime. So, obviously, you play as Ash Ketchum!
Also, every big fan of the series will notice that this game’s opening is very similar to episode 1 – Ash is late to get his first Pokémon and ends up with Pikachu. Interestingly enough, there are even parts of some of the Pokémon movies in this ROM hack.
It is possible to get all the Pokémon Ash had during his journey in the anime, but you are not limited to use these creatures exclusively. After all, it is a ROM hack, so you can also catch some Pokémon of your choice, and you are not obliged to use the creatures you get as the story progresses.
However, bear in mind that to keep the consistency with the beginning of the series, such features like Mega Evolution or Pokémon from newer generations are not available. Also, there are no HMs, so to make HM moves, you need to use items.
All in all, Pokémon Ash Gray provides standard Pokémon gameplay, but a really decent one. If you really like the anime and you would like the story to reflect the one you already know, this is one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks for you.
Many fans have been waiting for a long time to get more “mature” Pokémon games from their favorite franchise, but so far, they did not get any from Nintendo/Game Freak.
No worries, though, because that is what ROM hacks are for – to fulfill those fan wishes that the original creators have not managed to fulfill in their games yet!
In Pokémon Insurgence, you will find a gritty storyline. We cannot tell you too much because it must not be spoilt, but you should know that it involves cults and cruel experiments on Pokémon, so you can expect a pretty dark narrative!
Moreover, this ROM hack provides you with some new features, including Armored Pokémon, Delta Pokémon, detailed character customization, and much more!
Pokémon TRE: Team Rocket Edition
TRE is not your typical Pokémon ROM hack of the Red version as it allows you to become one of the bad guys! Namely, the Team Rocket Leader, Giovanni, looking for a successor. There are only two competitors left to get this position – you and your sibling, two novice Team Rocket members.
The gameplay is about going through an evil Pokémon adventure, beating the gym leaders, and finally, the Elite IV, to show that you are worth becoming Giovanni’s successor. If you like to play games as a dastardly villain, you will like this Pokémon ROM hack for sure!
Pokémon Mega Emerald X and Y Edition
This game is an interesting ROM hack of Pokémon Emerald but with some essential elements taken from Pokémon X and Y. The story may not be that fascinating, but it is a decent Pokémon game with its twists and turns. At first glance, this ROM hack may appear just like the Emerald version, but there are some new Pokémon with sprites edited particularly for this game!
It is often appreciated that this game has Pokémon from Generations I to VI, but it does not mean there are all of them. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that you can find all the Legendary Pokémon from those six generations. You just need to explore many different areas from all the regions to catch them all!
Also, there are Primal Pokémon and the Mega Evolutions in this ROM hack, so you will not be bored for sure. If you liked Pokémon Emerald and would like to spend more time on this game’s variation, go for it!
Many fans consider this game to be one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks for Generation III, as it attempts to provide the classic critter-raising RPG and kind of MMO gameplay. Its huge advantage is high customization and an open world.
There are Pokémon from all generations added, and the battle system is updated so that it can resemble a modern one more accurately. You can find there Fairy types, Mega Evolutions, and a Physical/Special split!
What is more, one of the most significant features you may like about this ROM hack is the addition of daily quests and monthly rewards, like the ones you know from the mobile game. It is undoubtedly a good move, especially as many people play the best ROM hacks on their smartphones.
If you do not need to play with actual Pokémon, and you like to check out how creative the fans are with coming up with their Fakemon, then Pokémon Clover can be a good game for you. Although it is a ROM hack of Fire Red, it is an entirely new game with barely any elements of the original.
However, take into account that Pokémon Clover is based on the inside jokes and the overall phenomenon of the infamous imageboard 4chan (particularly the /vp/ Pokémon board).
It has actually been created as a collaborative project of active users of the /vp/ board who put their effort into designing each of the386 original Fakemon.
It sounds cool, but you need to be warned that many of those Fakemon are not politically correct and can be considered offensive, so discretion is recommended.
Pokémon Mega Power
It is a ROM hack of Pokémon Emerald, but with a new story and numerous distinct sprites. In this game, your mission is to make the most powerful Pokémon. To do this, you have performed many experiments, but you are running out of money. However, there is a mysterious financier who comes to the rescue. You decide to go on an adventure, but then you realize that this financier may use the money to manipulate the strongest Pokémon creation.
The gameplay in this ROM hack works like the one from the original game. However, in Pokémon Mega Power, there are also new areas, such as the Sevii Islands, Ivara, and Lander. What is more, the advantages of this game also include having all the Mega Evolutions and some of the Generation IV-VII Pokémon available.
It is one of the best ROM hacks when it comes to being up-to-date. Namely, it contains Pokémon from every generation, even Sword & Shield! This game’s story takes place deep within South America, in the Azira region, where several Pokémon species stop during their yearly migrations.
Once a decade, a crazy number of migratory patterns coincide there, and it becomes the most biodiverse place on the planet. Hence, the best spot to catch new Pokémon as well! You can find over 280 of the most popular Pokémon roaming around there.
An interesting feature in this game, not common in other ROM hacks, is that the first Pokémon a trainer catches always walks with them, even if they are just NPCs. That is so cute!
Pokémon Adventure Red
There are not only numerous Pokémon games and lots of seasons of the anime – a lot more media from this franchise come out every year. For instance, there is Pokémon Adventure manga, following the exploits of Red from Pallet Town. This is the protagonist you may remember from the first generation of the Pokémon games.
Pokémon Adventure Red is one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks that are associated with this manga – it basically re-tells its story in a game form. You can follow Red’s travel through many different regions, including Alola!
The main advantages of this game are:
255 level cap (yes, that is not a mistake!)
Sew types like Shadow or Fusion Pokémon
This ROM hack is so detailed that it could easily compete with the official games. If you like well-developed ROM hacks that provide many hours of fantastic gameplay, this game can be one of the best suggestions for you!
We have gathered some of the best Pokémon ROM hacks ever made, but there are many more of them available on the internet, as the fans of this franchise are outstandingly prolific and come up with more and more ideas for new games.
You do not have to wait for the next official game to be released – you can explore new areas and experience new adventures with fan-made ROM hacks!
Some of the most original ROM hacks provide you with, for example, the possibility to play as a villain, a creepy storyline, custom-made Fakemon, and many other features. It is an awesome solution, especially at the time when you have to stay home a lot.
You certainly will not be bored with that many excellent ROM hacks that are as good as the original games or even better.
Dane started off gaming at the tender age of 3 with the first Atari console. His favorite video game genres are turn-based RPGs (can I get a shout out for Tactics Ogre?) and fighting games. Read more...