Pokemon Unbound: 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Playing

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This post was last updated on January 1, 2023

Pokemon rom hacks have been around for a while. As the community grows, our ability to create games improves, and that’s never been clearer than it is with Pokemon Unbound.

This popular rom hack is possibly one of the best Pokemon games around.

What is Pokemon Unbound?

Pokemon Unbound is an incredible fan made rom hack that pushes the limits of what’s possible in a Pokemon game. An amazing storyline, every pokemon from the first seven generations, and rich post game content don’t even begin to describe all the things creator Skreli gets right.

This GBA rom hack is built on the foundation of Fire Red version, although you can barely tell while playing. This game is chock-full of original sprites, beautiful and well-made locations, and new features that make you feel like you’re playing a genuine Nintendo release.

In fact, this game blows most Nintendo releases out of the water. While it uses a lot of Gen VIII game mechanics, it feels more cohesive than anything GameFreak has produced in years.

Pokemon Unbound Features

In a fan game like Pokemon Unbound, you can expect to see a lot of fresh takes on the pokemon formula. We definitely weren’t expecting as much as we encountered while playing the game, but boy are we glad we did.

Here are some features you’ll find as you battle your way through the game:

  • Character Customization
  • Difficulty Modes
  • Unique and Complex Puzzles
  • Mission Log
  • Quality of Life Improvements
  • Wild Pokemon from Gens 1-7
  • Exciting Battling Mechanics

Character Customization in Pokemon Unbound

When you fire up a new save file in Pokemon Unbound, you’ll have the opportunity to create your very own character. This isn’t just choosing a name and gender though.

Instead, you’ll select an appearance that includes skin tone, hair color, and multiple colors of your outfit.

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Later on, you’ll even receive a costume box that allows you to change your outfit into a few different options, such as Red’s outfit from Kanto.

Difficulty Modes in Pokemon Unbound

After you create a character, you’ll be walked through a series of prompts. Your answer to these questions, like “Do you forget to save often?”, will affect the settings of the game.

Naturally, part of the settings in a beautifully made rom hack like Pokemon Unbound is the challenge rating. Your answer to the questions will prompt the game to suggest one of three difficulties to you – Vanilla, Difficult, and Expert.

Of course, you can change the difficulty to your liking if the suggested option doesn’t seem like it will be enough of a challenge. In our experience, the names of these modes are accurate.

Expert mode shouldn’t be attempted unless you consider yourself an expert at training pokemon. That means you’ll be catching for IVs and Natures, EV training, balancing abilities with moves, and more. It’s not just knowing your basic type match-ups.

Challenging Puzzles In Pokemon Unbound

One of the settings decided when you answer the opening prompts is the challenge level of in-game puzzles. Pokemon Unbound boasts some incredibly complex puzzles littered around Borrius, although you can avoid them if they get too difficult.

To make your life easier at any point, go into settings, adjust the puzzle difficulty, then leave the area you’re in. When you return, the puzzle will be reset and simpler to overcome.

That being said, we recommend giving these puzzles your all. They’re certainly not so difficult you can’t solve them with a bit of effort, and the rewards are well worth the time spent.

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Pokemon Unbound Missions

One of the most exciting features introduced in the Pokemon Unbound rom hack is a unique mission system. As a spry young trainer, you’re given a number of missions throughout the main story, but you can also pick up 75 side quests to fill your time.

The mission log tracks these all, telling you how close you are to completing missions at any given time. It also tells you where to go with most main missions, marking them on the map for ease of access.

The introduction of side quests is a delight, and there are also very real benefits. If you go through every one of these, you’ll have the opportunity to play exciting mini games, catch rare wild pokémon, and even encounter some legendary pokemon like Zygarde.

Quality of Life Improvements In Pokemon Unbound

Perhaps some of the best pieces of this game are the quality of life improvements littered throughout the rom hack. Here’s what you can expect in Pokemon Unbound:

  • Auto-Run – Your character automatically runs. They now walk when you hold B. This setting can be toggled on or off.
  • Unlimited Bag Space – Never run out of bag space. The bag can also be organized in several different ways for ease of access.
  • PokeNav – The pokenav allows you to hunt for a specific pokemon, helping you fill out your pokedex and catch pokemon with great stats and natures.
  • New HM System – Carrying HM slaves is a thing of the past in Pokemon Unbound. Now, unlocking an HM allows you to use it in the overworld, so long as one of your pokemon can learn the move.
  • Useful Settings – Would you believe that the settings in this game are actually useful? That’s right, not only do you have all the normal settings, you can now adjust how the Exp. share works, how many items you can use in battle, and so much more.
  • Custom Soundtrack – The custom ost isn’t necessarily a QoL improvement, but we love that it’s here.
  • Helpful NPCs – Littered across Borrius are helpful NPCs that will give you what you need. Perhaps the best of these are the Porygons who allow you to access your PC without having to truck it back to a Pokemon Center.

Catching Every Pokemon in Pokemon Unbound

In Pokemon Unbound, you can catch every single pokemon from Gens 1-7. This is a huge undertaking, but Skreli has done an amazing job of balancing the spread of these pokemon throughout different areas.

There are also plenty of other ways to obtain pokemon, like meaningful trades, eggs, mining (once you access the KBT expressway through Crater Town), and completing side quests.

Some of our favorite moments playing through this rom hack were the exciting mini games that resulted in us catching rare pokemon, and even some shiny pokemon.

Pokemon Unbound Battling Mechanics

Pokemon Unbound hosts impressive battle mechanics on par with Generation 8. The truly impressive piece is that there are so many gimmicks scattered throughout the whole game.

The custom battle engine employed in Pokemon Unbound can handle mega evolution, dynamax, and z-moves. That means you’ll be able to participate in raid battles and search out plenty of mega stones to create the perfect team.

Of course, there are also custom gimmicks, which you’ll typically see employed in gyms and boss battles.

The first gym, for example, makes great use of fog. While this isn’t new and exciting, it showcases how important understanding your opponent is in a challenging game like Pokemon Unbound.

Perhaps the most interesting gimmick is in Redwood Village, where you’ll face the final gym leader, Benjamin. His battle gimmick is inspired by Benjamin Button. When a pokemon faints in his gym, it will be reduced to it’s next lowest evolution.

Essentially, this sort of battle gives pokemon extra lives, while also making the competition more challenging in the process.

This game will have you trying out all sorts of things, especially once you attempt New Game+ and try out the Insane difficulty mode.

Insane mode boasts several increased challenges. For example, the Blizzard City gym battle against Alice will see her team affected by Tailwind and Strong Winds as soon as the battle begins. Insane boosts like these will definitely give you a run for your money.

Pokemon Unbound Story

Pokémon Unbound is a story driven game that’s as gripping and involved as you would expect from a triple A title. Skreli created a region rich with history, lore, and plenty of secrets to discover.

Your adventure in the Borrius region begins somewhat unconventionally. You are teleported into the evil team’s layer by the mascot pokemon of Pokemon Unbound, Hoopa.

In an attempt to escape, you’ll choose your starter pokemon. The Pokemon Unbound starter pokemon are Gible, Beldum, and Larvitar.

You’ll learn a bit about the Shadows here, but you’ll quickly be on your way back to your hometown of Frozen Heights. Here, you’ll be invited to begin working with Professor Log, and be sent on your first mission.

As the story progresses, you’ll have more and more encounters with the Shadows. This organization seems bent on releasing the dark force summoned long ago to defeat the Kalos region in the great war.

If you know your pokemon history, you’ll know that AZ of Kalos created the ultimate weapon, and used it to end a war with another region.

In Pokemon Unbound, you learn about this war from the point of view of Borrius, and hear all about how a foreign land unleashed a devastating weapon.

Hoopa unbound was the Borrius region’s last hope against Kalos, but the dark force it controlled was too powerful, and it was sealed away after the war ended. Now, the Shadows, armed with their mysterious shadow warriors, are dead set on unleashing Hoopa’s full potential.

As you battle through the main game, you’ll discover plenty of secrets, learning more about the Shadows’ true motivations and why they are catching legendary pokemon left and right.

Pokemon Unbound Battle Frontier Demo

When you download Pokemon Unbound, you’ll notice a second UPS patch titled Pokemon Unbound Battle Frontier Demo. This alternate option presents a demo of the battle frontier from the base game, and serves as a display of Pokemon Unbound’s battle facilities and mechanics.

The BFD functions like a mobile game, even down to timed events and daily rewards. While it certainly showcases Unbound’s battle engine, it also goes above and beyond by providing some really exciting new features.

You’ll be given three random pokemon to start out with, which can include fully evolved pokemon, and then you can get right into battling.

When you win in the battle frontier, you’ll receive BP (battle points) that can be used to purchase new pokemon, new moves, shinies, and so much more.

The battle frontier spreads it’s excitement across a number of challenges, each of which we could play for days.

Battle Tower

The battle tower is perfect for your average pokemon battles with no extra gimmicks applied. Of course, these are competitive battles, so you can partake in battles that comply with a number of different tier lists and rule sets.

Whether you choose single or double battles, inverse battles, smogon tier rules, or anything else, you’ll be in for some challenging battles.

Battle Circus

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The circus takes the most exciting part of main campaign battling, gimmicks, and uses them in a fun new way. Each battle will have a new gimmick applied, from de-aging pokemon to trick rooms or special bonuses.

Battle Mine

The battle mine works like a dungeon that gets progressively more difficult. Each level you dig into the mine will face you against new challenges, changing the battle type several times over the course of your streak.

Battle Sands

The battle sand provides a complete twist on pokemon battling. Instead of actually battling, another trainer will use your pokemon. This might be a total shakeup, but it’s definitely fun.

In fact, we noticed that the sands were a great place to learn new strategies for our pokemon, especially since the random pokemon given to us weren’t part of our normal battle combinations.

Final Thoughts: Is Pokemon Unbound the Best GBA Rom Hack?

Pokemon Unbound is certainly one of the best pokemon games around. It surpasses many official releases, let alone other fan made games. With everything it includes, you’ll be sure to come back to the Borrius region time and time again.