The Pokemon community is probably one of the best out there, and we have each other to thank for hundreds of fan-made games that keep us entertained between official releases. Pokemon Gaia is one such fan-made GBA ROM with an amazing story that you absolutely need to try out for yourself.
Pokemon Gaia ROM Overview
The Pokemon Gaia ROM hack is a game built on the framework of Pokemon Fire Red, but you’d probably never realize that if it didn’t give proper credit on the opening screen. Pokemon Gaia truly feels like its own game, complete with a brand new region, gripping story, and unique features.
There are a lot of different types of ROMs out there. Sometimes we see projects made to challenge more hardcore fans (like Pokemon Inclement Emerald, for example), and other times we see small teams create games that rival the ingenuity of the Pokemon Company. Pokemon Gaia is one of those times.
In Pokemon Gaia, you play a young trainer from Celanto Town who sets out on a mission to uncover the secret behind mysterious earthquakes occurring across the Orbtus Region. As an assistant of Professor Redwood, it’s also your job to catch pokemon, battle gym leaders, and fill out the Pokedex.
Pokemon Gaia does an excellent job of repackaging the classic pokemon experience while still making it feel like you’re engaging in a completely new game. It’s full of interesting characters, exciting locations to explore, and, most importantly, powerful pokemon to catch and train.
Unfortunately, this is what we call a “dead game.” The current version (3.0) was released all the way back in 2018 and while creator Spherical Ice intended on a 4.0 release, there hasn’t been any news on that in quite some time.
The game is still playable in its entirety, but there is none of the intended post-game content to explore once you take down the Elite Four and become the champion of the Orbtus Region.
Pokemon Gaia Features
Pokemon Gaia isn’t a feature-intensive ROM, but it does include several things that make it really stand out amongst the crowd. Here are some of its best features:
Pokemon Through Generation VI (Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos)
Updated Move Sets and Stats
There have been a lot of battle gimmicks over the years, but one that all pokemon trainers seem to love is Mega Evolution. While Pokemon Gaia doesn’t include any fakemon or fan-made mega evolutions, it does integrate mega evolutions incredibly well into not just its battles, but its story as well.
New Pokemon in Pokemon Gaia
While Pokemon Gaia is a hack of a Gen III pokemon game, the Pokedex and all pokemon in it are updated through Gen VI. It’s refreshing to see and just means the pokemon you can catch will have far better balance than they had back in the days of Fire Red.
There are also some quality-of-life improvements in the pokemon department. Trade evolutions are out the window, with many pokemon now evolving through either standard levelling or with the new Regal Stone.
All of these new evolutions can be found in the Readme document that comes with your download.
Hidden Grottos and Secret Temples in Pokemon Gaia
Lastly, we have one feature that is (almost) completely unique to this game. As you explore Orbtus, you’ll come across hidden caves and dark patches between trees. In here you’ll find powerful pokemon with great IVs or special movesets, special items, and maybe even a Mega Stone or two.
These hidden grottos and secret temples can be hard to miss, so be sure to keep an eye out and return to areas after you’ve gained access to new HMs like Rock Climb or Dive.
Pokemon Gaia Story
Now we get to the piece that makes Pokemon Gaia s0 special, the story. Rather than simply reusing an existing story and slapping some new names on characters, Pokemon Gaia has a new pokemon story that’s sure to pull you in.
Be Warned: Spoilers Ahead.
New Elders in the Pokemon Gaia ROM
No Pokemon game is complete without an evil team out to conquer the world. In Pokemon Gaia, that job belongs to a group called the New Elders. Their goal is to reawaken Regegigas and use it to reshape the world and bring it back to how it was when people and pokémon lived as equals.
Of course, much like Team Plasma, their leader is a bit more nefarious than the relatively altruistic goals of the team would suggest. We love getting to see a story where there is no true evil, but it’s refreshing that we can at least feel good about taking them down in their quest.
Your journey will have you and your rival traveling across the region, always just a bit too late to stop the evil team from capturing the Regi that they’re after. Honestly, though, it’s not surprising once you end up battling them.
The members of this team are actually competent, and even the grunts can give you a run for your money if you’re not really prepared for the fight.
This is one of the reasons the story feels so compelling we think. It’s not just the evil team. Every battle you face feels more difficult than we’ve come to experience in other Pokémon Games.
Be prepared to white out and run back to the Pokemon Center when you fight Morgana, the team’s leader. Your two battles against her are truly challenging.
Pokemon Gaia Gym Leaders
The intense difficulty curve continues with the Gym Leaders, so we’ll at least give you a breakdown of what types to expect and what their highest level is so you can prepare your team. Of course, you can totally go in blind if you want the full Pokemon Gaia experience.
Seros Village – Fairy-type Pokemon; Lvl 13
Nestpine Town – Flying-type Pokemon; Lvl 23
Windmist City – Fire-type Pokemon; Lvl 28
Valoon Town – Bug-type Pokemon; Lvl 36
Telmurk City – Poison-type Pokemon; Lvl 42
Precimos Island – Psychic-type Pokemon; Lvl 44
Atsail City – Water-type Pokemon; Lvl 48
Loamas Town – Ground-type Pokemon; Lvl 52
Pokemon Gaia is a ROM hack for those looking to immerse themselves in a classic pokemon story while still challenging themselves to grow as pokemon trainers. If you really want to prove your worth and become the champion of a new region, what are you waiting for? Download Pokemon Gaia today!
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...