Best Pokemon ROM Hacks In 2023 + Full Walkthroughs

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Are you one of the many Pokemon fans that long for the days of the GBA and Nintendo DS? Well, then you might want to deep-dive right into the wonderful library of the Best Pokemon ROM Hacks which exist out in the tall grass as we speak. 

Pokemon ROM hacks are fanmade adaptions of Pokemon games of old, usually from the GBC, GBA, or Nintendo DS era, and use existing assets, some unique assets, and the existing game code to create a brand new Pokemon experience.

These can be QoL upgrades on old Pokemon relics, a more difficult version of an existing game, or these can be games that alter the world and storyline beyond recognition to provide a stellar experience that, in some cases, puts Game Freak’s efforts to shame.

ROMs are made for Pokemon fans who want something that moves away from the typical Pokemon format, and in my personal experience, these have always offered richer experiences than mainline titles, especially in the modern Pokemon era.

So, with this in mind, I thought it made a lot of sense to take a look at the Pokemon ROM landscape in 2023, and make a list of the best and brightest in the fanmade Pokemon game genre.

These developers have spent countless hours on these projects, and they deserve their moment in the spotlight, and more importantly, you deserve to play a Pokemon game that answers all those wishes you’ve been pushing out into the ether for the last decade. So, without further ado, here are the Best Pokemon ROMs In 2023. Enjoy!

Selection Criteria

Okay, so before we get into the action, a little bit of admin is needed, because I want to assure you that we are only selecting the best of the best here. So I have put together some criteria that should guarantee that all of these games are complete, of the highest quality, unique, and maintain their link to the Pokemon series. Check them out below:

  • All ROMS must be complete projects. We will not be listing abandoned ROMs or games still in production.
  • All ROMS must be related to the Pokemon series, so games that use Pokemon base ROMS but don’t offer Pokemon-esque gameplay won’t be considered.
  • All ROMS must provide a unique selling point that draws the player in, whether that be a narrative approach, new Pokemon, etc.
  • All ROMS must be appropriate and professionally put together, so ROMS like Pokemon Clover, for example, won’t feature here.

Okay, grab that potion from the PC, get a stack of Pokeballs and get ready, because a whole new world of adventures awaits!

TL;DR (Our List of Complete Walkthroughs)

For all you guys in a rush to get playing right away, here is a quick list of the best games up front and a link to a complete guide for each game: 

The Best Pokemon ROM Hacks To Play in 2023

#1 – Pokemon Empyrean

Image from Pokémon Empyrean Wiki

Want a Pokemon adventure that has espionage, mutant Pokemon called Beserks, and a runaway father that you will have to hunt down Fallout 3 style? Well, then Pokemon Emperyan might just be the game for you.

This game wrapped up production in 2018, and the final product is a game that is rich in narrative and full of exciting gameplay features like Mega Evolutions, all the starter Pokemon to choose from up to Gen-7, and new Pokemon types like Gold, Electrolight and Data Pokemon, and item crafting, to name but a few.

The game also has a unique visual overhaul to offer a more refined, cel-shaded look, and all these assets come together to provide a stellar Pokemon experience that is challenging, gripping, and full of unique charm, which makes it an absolute must-play for Pokemon fans that need a fresh new perspective on the series.

#2 – Pokemon Unbound

This is a Pokemon ROM that I personally covered for POKUniverse, and even years after release remains easily the most comprehensive and ambitious fanmade Pokemon adventure ever. Pokemon Unbound is a title that has all the bells and whistles that a Pokemon game should have, and then some.

It has gameplay features like Max Raids and Mega Evolutions; it has a dedicated difficulty setting, it has complex puzzles and side quests within the game, and improved functionality compared to the GBA titles this game is built from.

Then to top it off, it has a gritty and compelling story, complete with full cut scenes depicting the war between the Kalos region and the Borrius Region. It’s about as all-encompassing as a Pokemon ROM hack could ever hope to be, and if you are a Pokemon fan, this is an experience you can’t afford to pass on!

#3 – Pokemon Rejuvenation 

Image from Rejuvenation Wiki

Next, we have Pokemon Rejuvenation, a Pokemon ROM that really focuses on making adjustments to the overall gameplay, and really leans into the competitive tactics and strategy of Pokemon that casual players seldom have to utilize in mainline titles.

This game also has a built-in difficulty setting, offering ultra challenging gameplay on Intense mode; it features a Field Effect mechanic, which was borrowed from Pokemon Reborn and enhanced. It also has all the starters up to Gen VIII, ups the shiny encounter rate to one in one hundred, and uses crest items to make typically useless Pokemon viable party options.

All of this, plus the game has an enthralling narrative with branching paths based on player decisions, boss battles, side quests galore, RPG-style progression in the form of AP points, and what I personally love most, a unique soundtrack full of chiptune bangers. The Aevium region has a lot to offer, so do yourself a favor and check it out!

#4 – Pokemon Renegade Platinum

Pokémon Renegade Platinum - SteamGridDB

With the abundance of Pokemon Fire Red inspired Pokemon ROMs court there, it can be a rarity to see a game take another generation of Pokemon titles as its source material. However, it’s even rarer to see the fourth generation serve as the foundation for a Pokemon ROM, perhaps because of the switch to the Nintendo DS.

However, Pokemon Renegade Platinum is a shining example of why the fourth generation deserves some love, and what you can do with the source material to spice things up.

Up until recently, with the release of Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, Pokemon Renegade Platinum served as the most comprehensive fourth gen experience out there, with Pokemon up to Gen VI and a much harder difficulty curve, while leaving the story as it was to give fans a refined Pokemon Platinum experience.

This is quite similar to the Pokemon Kaizo series in approach, and while Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl may have leapfrogged this game as the ideal fourth gen experience, it’s still worth a mention nonetheless.

#5 – Pokemon Ultra Violet

Pokémon Ultra Violet Version - SteamGridDB

Then Speaking of games that take the Pokemon Kaizo approach, what if a game did the exact opposite? Well, we have Pokemon Ultra Violet, which is a refined and more accessible version of Pokemon Fire Red, with a focus on letting players build a balanced team fast, see all the game has to offer without steep hurdles, and allows players to attain all Pokemon needed to complete their Pokedex.

This, as long-time players will know, is a rarity in mainline Pokemon games, and why I appreciated Pokemon ORAS so much.

The End game content that allows players to capture legendaries previously locked to special events and other Pokemon titles is much appreciated, and if you are looking to do a beginner nuzlocke, this game is a prime candidate for such a thing. Overall, Ultra Violet is Fire Red on super easy mode, with some added bells and whistles. It won’t be for everyone, but for those that find the Pokemon series a tough nut to crack, this is a great jumping-in point.

#6 – Pokemon Rocket Edition

When you were burning your way through the Kanto region in the mainline games and foiling Team Rocket’s schemes, did you ever stop to think about how the grunts you beat to a pulp must have felt having this mute ten-year-old cut them down mercilessly?

No, why would you, but Pokemon Rocket Edition leans on this idea and has you play as a Team Rocket Grunt and offers a different perspective on the original Pokemon adventure. As far as Pokemon ROM hack gimmicks go, this one is probably my personal favorite.

In this game, you get to peak behind the curtain, and this reveals the seedy underbelly of the Kanto region, and in this criminal underworld, it’s those you came to trust the most in the original game that are up to no good.

So inexplicably, you, a low-level grunt, will have to lie, cheat and steal your way through this adventure and uncover the true nature of the Kanto region. If you want a Pokemon game that marries humor, challenging gameplay, and a killer narrative, then this is a frontrunner for sure!

#7 – Pokemon Dark Rising

By Pokemon ROM standards in 2022, Dark Rising could arguably be omitted from this list as it feels a little dated due to only having Pokemon up to Gen V, and having fewer unique features by comparison. However, due to the incredible story, the challenging gameplay, the devastating difficulty spikes, and the abundance of sequels that await you when you complete this ROM, Dark Rising is still, in my eyes, a seminal Pokemon ROM experience.

In this title, you will encounter a dark and gritty world where extreme climate change is wreaking havoc on the land, and not so coincidentally, you will be chosen by Arceus themselves to restore balance to the world, alongside your friend/rival Pete.

Honestly, the gameplay might not grab you, but the story certainly will, so give this one a go and catch up on proceedings before the full release of Dark Rising III.

#8 – The Pokemon Kaizo Series

I created a GBA Cover for Pokemon Emerald Kaizo! : r/PokemonROMhacks

I’ve mentioned it enough, so it’s about time I included Pokemon Kaizo on this list. So to clarify, the Pokemon Kaizo series doesn’t relate to one single game, but instead a collection of ROM hacks that take the original source material and make tweaks to the game to offer harder gameplay, quality of life fixes, and minor tweaks to items, stats and other aspects of the core game.

So if you see a Pokemon game labeled ‘Kaizo,’ expect the same experience as the original, but more of a director’s cut.

Of all the Pokemon Kaizo games, I believe that Pokemon Blue Kaizo and Pokemon Emerald Kaizo are the finest examples of what these types of ROMS have to offer, with Gym leaders with full parties and healing capabilities, trainers with team comps that make sense, and the ability to catch a wide variety of Pokemon from Route One and beyond, and that really only scratches the surface.

However, you do find the occasional ROM that has had the Kaizo treatment. In fact, the entry above, Dark Rising, also has a Kaizo version, so you might want to check that out!

#9 – Pokemon Orange

I have a lot of time for the second generation of Pokemon, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, as a kid, the second-gen of Pokemon passed me by completely. I guess I was a Playstation fanboy even then. However, my obsession with Pokemon ROMS opened up my eyes to the wonders of Johto and all it had to offer, and Pokemon Orange is one such game that does that expertly.

This game devised from the Pokemon Gold/Silver base game is one of the more traditional ROMs out there, staying true to the Game Freak formula. Here you will travel to the Orange Islands and Sevii Islands, fill your Pokedex with a mix of majority Gen I and II Pokemon but also some outliers, including Alolan forms.

You’ll also battle Gym leaders along the way. Oh, and of course, Team Rocket has managed to find their way over to these remote islands, too; go figure. In short, if you really have no issue with the regurgitated format Game Freak pushes out every year and just want another typical Pokemon adventure, Pokemon Orange is a great shout!

#10 – Pokemon Reborn

So if you liked Pokemon Rejuvenation, you would probably love Pokemon Reborn too. Up until recently, there were always questions surrounding whether Reborn and Rejuvenation were linked; however, in the final episode (nineteen), we found out that Reborn is a prequel to Rejuvenation, happening five years before the events of Rejuvenation. However, the two stories are diverse enough that you can play them in either order and still enjoy the standalone adventures.

Reborn is considered one of the hardest Pokemon ROMS ever created, with tonnes of cool features like Wonder Trading, eighteen Gym leaders to beat, a huge catalog of Pokemon, over 100+ hours of gameplay (honestly closer to 150 hours), and a familiar field effect system found in Rejuvenation.

The story is sublime, the gameplay is brutally hard, and best of all, it will keep you entertained at least five times as long as a mainline Pokemon game. Honestly, what’s not to love?

#11 – Pokemon Snakewood

Pokemon Snakewood in a nutshell . . . : r/gaming

You’ve seen the Marvel: What If? Episode where all your favorite Avengers were zombified, right? Well, what if the Pokemon series had the same treatment?

It would probably be a lot like Pokemon Snakewood; a Pokemon Ruby based ROM that offers a very gory, and zany take on the Pokemon universe with zombies. However, the story soon turns from a zombie apocalypse epic to one that becomes more about the supernatural beings that have risen to power in this new, dark and twisted world.

To be frank, this game borders on being a little too peculiar at times. The story can be hard to follow, the progression and puzzles can be a little obtuse, and the self-titled god of this world, the Cutlerine, who also developed this game, really does have his head firmly shoved up his own rear-end, which leads to lots of obnoxious 4th wall breaking and regular breaks from the action so he can pat himself on the back.

However, the concept, the very challenging gameplay, and the abundance of unsettling zombie Fakemon are enough reasons to give this one a blast. Just be warned; your mileage may vary.

#12 – Pokemon Sienna

Image from Pokémon Sienna Wiki

Another Pokemon Fire Red inspired Pokemon ROM? If that’s what the public demands, then I concede, but for a good reason, as Pokemon Sienna is a great twist on the originally established storyline.

The main plot point here is that instead of being given your trainer license at the age of ten, The Indigo Plateau rejects your application, and thus you aim to forge your way forward in the new Voultan Region, uncovering new and exciting Pokemon, building a team, and then eventually coming for the title of Pokemon Master, fuelled purely with spite. I’ve always said spite is one hell of a motivator.

This game is chocked full of cool Fakemon, one of the most beautifully mapped new regions ever to grace a ROM hack, and there is also a unique soundtrack which is always a plus. Much like Pokemon Orange, this is a game for fans that don’t want a lot of change or excessive difficulty, just access to new and exciting Pokemon content. So if that’s your bag, then Pokemon Sienna is a great ROM for you!

#13 – Pokemon Dreams

Speaking of games that keep things traditional, Pokemon Dreams is a game that does just that, but moves with the times, adding gameplay features from later generations. Pokemon Dreams sees you play as a young boy with aspirations to be just like his big brother and become a Pokemon trainer, and when you come of age, you set off into the Solda Region to do just that. From there, it’s your typical Pokemon adventure.

Beat the Gyms, fight the regional baddies, get to the league, fight the elite four, and oh my goodness, is that my brother, the Pokemon league Champion. You get the picture, predictable, cozy Pokemon gameplay.

However, the selling point of this game is the modern gameplay features. The game features Pokemon up to Gen VII, including a small cluster of regional Fakemon; the game includes the beloved Dexnav, Mega Evolutions, and, much to my delight, has an original soundtrack. All in all, it doesn’t set the world alight narratively, but for fans of traditional Pokemon adventures, they don’t come much more polished than this!

#14 – Pokemon Blazed Glazed

Image from FanMade_Pokemon_Glazed_version Wiki

I considered giving Glazed the spot seeing as it was the certified original, but Blazed Glazed is a much more refined and polished version of the same game, so that’s what we are rolling with here. Blazed Glazed sees the player travel through the Turnod region, where things aren’t quite as they should be.

There are familiar Johto residents floating around predicting an impending disaster, there are mysterious forces lurking in Turnod’s ancient ruins, and there is a vengeful Pikachu that pops up now and again. A lot going on, and that’s before you even factor in the swapping between Pokemon world’s and our reality.

The story is solid, if a little disjointed, and the end-game content is superb too. Then to put the cherry on the cake, the gameplay comes through with new Dream World Pokemon, a difficulty curve that is challenging but fair, and the game includes a Battle Tower, which is something that Pokemon ORAS couldn’t even boast. In short, Blazed Glazed is a super Pokemon adventure you should check out!

#15 – Pokemon Darkfire

Pokemon Darkfire - Mountain Peak by PokemonDarkFire on DeviantArt

Want something that’s hot off the presses? Well, Pokemon Darkfire just wrapped up production last year, and let me tell you, it was worth the wait. Pokemon Darkfire is a game centered around Pokemon that are no longer obeying their masters, or simply going missing altogether.

The party line is that an epidemic is causing this behavioral shift, but after digging around in the stunning Tenjo region, you discover that there is a bigger story here. I’m getting essences of Covid nay-sayers here, just me? Well, the story escalates, and you find that there is a widespread underground battling ring, and to put a stop to it, you’ll have to master the dark and sinister, no-holds-barred battle techniques.

This game’s story is captivatingly dark, the graphics are incredibly vibrant and picturesque, the game’s original soundtrack is a bop, and the new region is a joy to explore.

However, the star of the show here is the revised battle engine that will test your skills as a trainer and open your eyes to a new, brutal way of battling. Overall, a great new addition to the laundry list of Pokemon ROMs out there.

#16 – Pokemon Ash Grey

In the 1990’s Pokemon was simply unmissable. It was plastered over billboards, featured in every Mcdonald’s franchise across the country, and it was the game on everyone’s lips. However, Pokemon was smart and opened up multiple avenues to engage fans.

So if the games didn’t reach you, the TCG, the merchandise, or the anime almost certainly did. The anime was a lot of people’s gateway into the world of Pokemon, and Ash’s Indigo adventures are as vivid in my mind as they were decades ago. Yet, I always wished that I could have played a game that was more in line with the anime. Well, Ash Grey is a ROM that does just that.

This ROM takes the events of the Pokemon Indigo series and plays them out in chronological order, allowing you to be an active part in the key events of the anime. You’ll get to take on the Squirtle Squad, wish Butterfree a heartfelt goodbye, and you’ll even get to enjoy the events of the first Pokemon Movie.

The game is far from the most cohesive Pokemon game out there, and it can be a little obtuse in terms of how to progress at times. However, for the novelty alone, you have to try this ROM!

#17 – Pokemon Gaia

Next, we move on to a very popular Pokemon ROM hack, Pokemon Gaia. In this fanmade adventure, you set off to explore the Orbtus Region. A land that was formerly an incredibly popular destination, which due to a series of disastrous and devastating earthquakes, lies in ruins, a shadow of its former self.

You play as a surviving resident of Orbtus with a knack for Pokemon training, and after being scouted by local Archaeologist Professor Redwood, head out into the world to stop another round of tectonic shifts from leveling the region once and for all. 

Alongside this killer story, Gaia also has a modern battle system with lots of competitive support, stat changes, new moves, modern typings, mega evolutions, and HM support, allowing players to climb walls and dive underwater. Not to mention a Battle Maison for some end-game challenges. Overall, another unmissable fanmade Pokemon romp that you should try for yourself. 

#18 – Pokemon Insurgence

Next, we have Pokemon Insurgence, a game that is hand-made for the Pokemon player that loves to create hoops for themselves to jump through. One of the key selling points of this expansive ROM is the challenge modes built into the ROM.

There is a Randomizer mode, a Nuzlocke mode, a Solo mode, an ironman mode, and more. However, there are other excellent features, too, such as the built-in difficulty modes, character customization, Online Functionality, and Mega Evolutions, including ones for Pokemon who don’t naturally have a mega evolution. However, this all plays second fiddle to the story. 

Insurgence sees you travel across the Torren Region, a land plagued by the stranglehold of cults, including the Cult of Darkrai. At the beginning of the game, you find yourself at their mercy until Mew swoops in to rescue you.

Sadly, due to amnesia, you cannot recall who you are, and thus, the journey begins as you recover your memories, piece together the stories hidden within this new region, and hopefully rid Torren of the cults who call it home. This is another Pokemon ROM with a great story and all the bells and whistles, and if I can give my two cents, this only comes second to Pokemon Unbound in my eyes. 

#19 – Pokemon Radical Red

 Remember how Gaia was a Pokemon game I sold as a game perfect for Pokemon fans who love to create hoops to jump through? Well, Radical Red is much like that. However, in Radical Red, the hoops aren’t negotiable, and this serves as one of, if not the most notoriously hard Pokemon games out there.

The game has a built-in randomizer, alters the stats of most Pokemon, has insanely sharp difficulty spikes, and gives Gym Leaders stacked teams. However, the game does also give you a lot of tools to succeed, too, such as EV training areas, the ability to rematch with Gym Leaders, and you can catch new Ultra Beasts to help curb the difficulty just a smidge. 

This game is basically the antithesis of Ultra Violet. Picture it as a Pokemon Kaizo game, but dialed up to eleven. There are no off ramps on this adventure, no gimmicks, hacks, or exploits. It’s an unforgiving and brutal reimagining of the Kanto adventure.

Hence why this is one of the most popular modern Nuzlocke runs around. So if you feel up for the challenge, Radical Red is waiting for you! 

#20 – Pokemon Uranium

Image fromPokémon Uranium Wiki

Then last up, we have Pokemon Uranium, a game that is perhaps the best marriage between a traditional Pokemon game, and a ROM hack that aims to offer a more adult storyline.

Uranium occurs in the region of Tandor, an area that is powered by Nuclear Plants, and you play the role of a young Pokemon Trainer who has just lost their mother in a nuclear explosion. Pretty bleak opening. However, this sets the precedent that something isn’t quite right at these plants, and Nuclear-type Pokemon, irradiated by nuclear waste, show up around Tandor. 

So naturally, you being an inquisitive adolescent, set off to investigate what’s going on, only to discover that these nuclear mishaps have given birth to new a new Pokemon hellbent on causing devastation.

It’s a wonderful premise, the introduction of nuclear Pokemon is done seamlessly, and it also has built-in randomizers and nuzlocke modes for those that are so inclined. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up this list of fanmade Pokemon masterpieces. 

#21 – Pokemon Opalo


Pokemon Opalo is an adventure born out of tragedy. The game opens with some heavy exposition telling the player of the unfortunate events leading to a huge explosion at a Pokemon League event, killing spectators, competitors and Pokemon in the blast. Which sets the present day scene where Pokemon battles are all but extinct. 

So in steps you the player, along with your friend Apolo to chnage the world, and create strong bonds between humans and Pokemon once again. 

The game has a great setting, wonderful Fakemon, modern Pokemon mechanics, and a grpping story, making this one a hidden Pokemon gem you need to try out! 

#22 – Pokemon Run & Bun

Pokemon Run & Bun ROM Hack Download | PokemonCoders

Up until very recently, the Pokemon ROM community pretty much unianimously accpeted that Pokemon Radical Red was the undisputed hardest Pokemon game in existence. But then out of nowhere we got this new Hoeen challenger in the form of Pokemon Run & Bun. 

Pokemon Run & Bun is effectively an even harder version of Pokemon Emerald Kaizo, seeing players play through the same old song and dance that Gen-three fans will know like the back of their hand, but this time, every single battle has the potential to knock you on your ass. 

Alongside ridiculous difficulty settings, Run & Bun features modern mechanics like Field Effects, Mega Evolutions, Endless Repels and Rare Candies, and much more. 

If you thought Radical Red was a tough too simple, then this is the game for you, you sadistic crazy Pokemon master you. 

#23 – Pokemon Emerald Rogue

Pokemon Emerald Rogue | PokemonCoders

If you are someone that really got a kick out of the wave of Roguelike and Roguelite games from the past few years like Rogue Legacy, Hades, Returnal and more, then you’ll really like Pokemon Emerald Rogue. 

Emerald Rogue is essentially plays out like map-based Roguelikes such as Slay the Spire and Inscryption, asking players to pick their path and stick to it, for better or for worse. 

You might find a useful item, a new Pokemon, or you might have to battle a tough Gym Leader who could kill your entire run. 

It’s the sheer randomness that makes this a super replay friendly Pokemon adventure, and it’s so unique when compared to practically ever other Pokemon ROM on this list. 

So Roguelike fans, this is the Pokemon game for you. 

#24 – Pokemon Crown

Pokemon Crown 👑 Part 1 A NEW KIND OF POKEMON ROM HACK Gameplay Walkthrough  - YouTube

Pokemon’s combat system has always been a pretty rigid turn-based system where you attack, then get attacked in return. It’s tried and tested, and it works. But what if the battles played out in real-time? Well, that’s a question that Pokemon Crown answers with apbomb. 

This Pokemon adventure sees you manage your entire party in a mob-based combat system, where you place them in the best position on the field with reference to the Pokemon’s resepctive skill set, and then watch the battle insue. 

Then outside of battle, this one plays out like a Pokemon-based medievil RPG with quests to complete, bosses to take down, and a fun story to engage with. 

Much like Emerald Rogue above, Pokemon Crown really shakes things up, and if that’s what you’re looking for, this is a must-play! 

#25 – Pokemon Halcyon

Completed - Pokémon Halcyon | Relic Castle

If you’re looking for a short but sweet Pokemon adventure that focuses on narrative rather than complex and difficult gameplay, then Pokemon Halcyon is the game you are looking for. 

Pokemon Halcyon places you in the shoes of Octavia, a seven-year-old with phychic abilities as she navigates the town where most of her family grew up as her mother tries to sell her recently deceased grandmother’s house.

It all seems pretty mundane, but thanks to the natural curiousity of Octavia, and great writing, this is a womderful story to unravel at your own pace. 

It’s a little light on Pokemon battles, or any form of challenge, but for a relaxing, cozy Pokemon adventure, Pokemon Halcyon is hard to beat. 

#26 – Pokemon Parallax

Pokemon Parallax Download, Informations & Media - Pokemon RMXP Hacks

This is one that will really appeal to Gen-4 fans, as this serves as a prequel of sorts detailling the early career of Looker, a key charcater in the Gen-4 storyline.

In this title, you play as the interpol agent as they travel to Kimlik Island, and work undercover as a member of the nefarious Team Masque to uncover secrets regarding a potential Ultra Beast threat. 

 This game introduces new Mega Evolutions, has a killer OST, and even throws in some Sun and Moon crossover moments for good measure. 

So if you feel like a little bit of espionage, Pokemon Parallax is the way to go. 

#27 – Pokemon Bushido

Pokémon Bushido - Glitchworlds

If you’re someone that really enjoys samurai-themed epics like Ghost of Tsushima or Trek to Yomi, then you need to play Pokemon Bushido, a creature-taming RPG that tries to emulate the samurai theme to great effect. 

In this game, you play as the Shogun’s son, and coincidntally the strongest warrior Aisho has to offer, and must work to drive the dominating clan out of Aisho and rid the world of darkness. 

This is a Pokemon game that definitely succeeds based on it’s story more than anything else, but it’s still a very fun and competently made Pokemon adventure which will offer just enough challenge to keep you engaged throughout. 

So grab your katana and bring your family honor in this great Pokemon ROM. 

#28 – Pokemon Techtonic

Pokémon Tectonic

Ever wondered what happens when the hero of each Pokemon game stops the evil team of the region and saves the world? Well, Pokemon Technonic follows on after the events of the evil Team Chasm, and has the player deal with the aftershocks caused by these near world endign events, and, the Avatar Pokemon. 

Alongside a great story and a cool region to explore, Tectonic has some really cool mechnaics that make the Pokemon experinece so much smoother, with the introduction of the Aid Kit to avoid constant PokeCenter trips, or the MasterDex which makes collecting Pokemon a breeze. 

It’s probably one of the lesser known ROMs on this list, but all the more reason to go and get aquainted with this fan-made gem! 

#29 – Pokemon Fire Ash

Pokemon Fire Ash (RPGXP) Download - PokéHarbor

While Pokemon Ash Grey and Pokemon Orange offer really good Ash Ketchum based ROM experiences, I would argue that Pokemon Fire Ash blows both of them out of the water. 

This ROM follows the events of the Pokemon Anime, starting with the Indigo series, but pressing on all the way to the Alola region, allowing fans to play a part in all the marquee moments in the Pokemon series to date. 

The game is a pretty easy one in terms of difficulty, but that works in it’s favor as it allows players to sit back, relax and immerse themselves in Ash’s journey. 

The game boasts a whopping 150+ hours of content, meaning that if you want something to keep you busy for a while, Pokemon Fire Ash is undoubtedly the best option on this list. 

#30 – Pokemon SORS

Hack Series: Pokémon Sors - The VytroVerse Part 2 (Full Game, v1.3  Available Now!) - The PokéCommunity Forums

You can’t choose your family, and you just have to love them regardless. That’s pretty much the core theme of Pokemon SORS that sees you aim to become a powerful Pokemon trainer, all the while trying to maintain a relationship with your mother, who just so happens to be the leader of an evil organisation known as Siara. 

This friction leads to a wonderful story about the power of ‘eclipsing’ and sees you rush to become a pokemon master in time to stop Siara from bringing an end to the world as we know it. All a bit much for a teenager if you ask me, but hey, it makes for a great game. 

Couple this story with an overhauled Gym system, a powerful OST and smarter trainer AI and you have a game that is simply unmissable if you are craving a fully-realised Pokemon adventure. 

#31 – Pokemon Soulstones

Completed] Pokemon Soulstones [POSTGAME RELEASED] - The PokéCommunity Forums

If you’ve played Pokemon, then you know that Legendary Pokemon can be a little stubborn. I remember as a kid trying to catch Mewtwo in Cerulean Cave and he just did not want to stay in that Pokeball. 

Well, what if these Pokemon wouldn’t even consider you a master unless you could travel back in time and uncover ancient relics of the past. Seems a little diva-ish on their part, but that is pretty much the plot of Pokemon Soulstones. 

Soulstones not only offers a gripping ancient tale, but also ups the level cap to 175, adds 65+ new mega evolutions, has a mountain of side quests to complete and a built in randomizer if that’s your thing.

All in all, this is an example of time travel done right, and a wonderful Pokemon adventure. 

#32 – Pokemon Infinite Fusion

Pokemon Infinite Fusion Review

You’re probably familar with the Pokemon mash-up service Pokemon Fusion. Well, what if a ROM hack took this concept and created a game where splicing Pokemon into monsterous creations is common practice. Well, good news, it exists in the form of Pokemon Infinite Fusion. 

The game doesn’t really step too fair outside the general Kanto plot, instead making slight tweaks to give context to the fusion mechanic in this world, which truly is the star of the show here. 

Players can combine any Pokemon they like with over 200,000 potential sprites to generate. Plus, each splice will give Pokemon new typings, movesets, abilities and more, making this a mad Pokemon professor sandbox well worth checking out. 

#33 –Pokemon Exceeded

Pokemon Exceeded [v8.3] (GBA) Download - PokéHarbor

Pokemon Exceeded may not offer a compelling new story, but what it does to is provide the most refined third generation experience that you could ever ask for, with custom options galore. 

The game has a built in Nuzlocke feature, a wide range of Pokemon follower sprites, an Innate Ability system, Handicap settings, chaos mode, a built in randomizer, multiple challenge modes, and that’s not even an exhaustive list. 

If you’ve played Pokemon Emerald ROMs to death, this one may not be unique enough to grab your attention, and that’s fine. But if you’re in the mood to dive back into Hoeen, there is no better way to do that than by playing Pokemon Exceeded. 

#34 – Pokemon Nimbus

Pokemon Nimbus Download, Informations & Media - Pokemon RMXP Hacks

A lot of the Pokemon ROMS on this list try very hard to diversify themselves from the run-of-the-mill Pokemon adventure, but some of the ROMS out there are quite happy to maintain the status quo. Pokemon Nimbus is one such title. 

This game sees you take on a typical gym challenge within the Adyne region, which has a particualr love for Thundrous on account of them saving them from certain doom many moons ago. Well, in this one, Team Cyclone aim to take control of Thundrous and reign surpreme in this region.

It’s as simple as that. Beat all the Gyms, explore the world, defeat the baddies along the way. If you’re a real Pokemon traditionalist, then Nimbus is a must-play. 

#35 – Pokemon Void

Pokemon Void (RPGXP) Download - PokéHarbor

We love and dark, mature story in a ROM hack. After all, we have already had devastating explosions, a zombie apocolypse and a title that sees you play as Team Rocket to this point. Well, Pokemon Void keeps that train very much on the tracks. 

However, in this game, you can never really pin down who the real evil entity is, which leads you to ask, are you the bad guy all along throughout. All we know is that, you need to gather strong Pokemon, whether thats for the nefarious Odin Corporation, or for you and you alone. 

The great narrative, along with great level scaling, a tough difficulty setting, plenty of cool fakemon, and a status effect known as ‘Void’. The game has plenty to offer and serves as one of the more challenging Pokemon epics on this list. 

#36 – Pokemon Infinity

Pokemon Infinity V2.3.6 (Updated): RPG Maker XP Game Download |  PokemonCoders

As someone that loves Disco Elysium, I know the power of an amnesia-affeceted protaonist, and Pokemon Infinity uses this plot device to great effect. 

In this game you play as a trainer who has lost their memory, and with the help of magical Shards, you’ll gradually regain your memory. But all the while, you’ll be public enemy number one as far as Team Fate is concerned. They seem really keen to keep you oblivious, I wonder why. 

The game also has some wonderful Fakemon on offer, offers an in-game card game inspired by Final Fantasy’s Triple Triad, reworks the gym system to great effect, and also offers a wide range of new Pokemon attacks. 

It’s a no brainer, give Pokemon Infinity a go! 

#37 –Pokemon Wally Quest

wally qyest sootopolis city gym

Of all the side characters that appeared in the world of Pokemon, I always found Wally a very interesting character that really deserved to have his story fleshed out more. Well, what if, in a paralell universe, Wally was the hero of the Hoeen saga?

Well, that’s exacty what happens in Pokemon Wally Quest. Kicking off in Petalburg, you’ll catch your Ralts and set off on a familair adventure with a fun little twist, and no asthma holding you back from becoming champion this time. Rejoyce. 

I will concede that the content is a lot less Wally-centric as I would have liked, but it does serve as a nice QoL update on the vanilla emerald experince, and there is some fun end-game content which allows you to enjoy the Delta Episode, again, with a little twist. 

#38 – Pokemon Quetzal

Pokemon Quetzal Download [Updated 2023] - Pokemerald

Next we have Pokemon Quetzal, a Pokemon ROM that does the unthinkable. It allows players to enjoy a much-improved Emerald experience, with multiplayer functionality! 

Through an emulated Link Cable, up to four players can embark on this adventure together, battling, exploring and trading to their heart’s content. 

This is the big-ticket item for sure, but the game also boasts Mega Evolutions, a DevNav, Z-Moves, and individual teams for all players. 

It’s the best (and practically only) way to enjoy a retro Pokemon storyline with a friend, so that take opportunity and play Pokemon Quetzal soon! 

#39 – Pokemon Dark Cry

Pokemon Dark Cry: Legend Of Giratina | PokemonCoders

Then lastly for now we have Pokemon Darkcry, a game that will see you take on Giovanni’s Team Rocket in the brand new region of Trion.

Team Rocket have made their way to this new locale in sarch of Giratina, who they believe will help them enslave the planet and aid Team Rocket in becoming the most powerful organisation in the world. Oh Gio, when will you learn?

Naturally, that means that you’ll need to gather a powerful party of Pokemon and put a stop to all this nonsense. 

The game also boast cool new Fakemon, a very welcome adaptive difficulty system, and lots of Jessie and James encounters, which are always welcome. So what are you waiting for, Trion awaits! 


Question: Can You Get Mainline Pokemon Game ROMS?

Answer: Yes, you can download most GBC and GBA mainline ROMs, which allow you to play the original titles in all their glory for free through an emulator. In fact, these ROMs serve as the starting point for all of the fanmade projects you see above. Hard to believe in some cases, but it’s true. 

Answer: For the player who wishes to download them, yes, absolutely. However, for developers of these games, this is quite the opposite. Since they are working with a Nintendo-owned property without paying for the privilege, these developers tend to get sent cease and desist letters quite a lot hence why a lot of projects lie dormant or have been passed on to new devs to finish up. 

Question: Can I Play Pokemon ROMs On My Phone?

Answer: Yes, you can. There are lots of emulation apps that can be downloaded on your phone. Then all you have to do is manually add the ROM to your phone’s internal storage, allow the app to search and find the ROM, and hey presto, you have a GBA in your pocket, just like old times! 

A Cavalcade of new Poke-Adventures!

As you can see from this list above, there are so many fully finished Pokemon Fanmade projects that are of the utmost quality and provide gameplay and storylines that rival Nintendo’s near annual output. So much so that Nintendo has cracked down on a lot of ROMs, sending out cease and desist notifications to these developers.

Why, you ask? Well, usually because they are making better Pokemon games than the creators, and with much fewer resources too. These games are a brilliant way to jump back into the Pokemon series if you have exhausted the mainline options, or if you just want a breath of fresh air with regards to Game Freaks’ usual offerings.

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