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The Pokemon fanbase is an insatiable crowd. Mostly due to the fact that the series sunk its hooks in over twenty-five years ago and since has never even looked like letting go. Fans simply can’t get enough of these vibrantly colored, multi-faceted, and nuanced little pocket monsters.
Which has led to the series spawning over eight fully-fledged main titles and countless spin-offs such as Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, Pokemon Unite, and Pokemon Go to name but a few. However, there are always some that will feel short-changed. Well, that’s where Pokemon ROM hacks come in.
These are fan-made titles that aim to offer something completely new to the Pokemon community, often offering features that the main titles could only dream of, content that is more mature, complex, and compelling than the formulaic Pokemon standard issue.
Plus, these games offer the retro feel with a more modern-day roster, or in some cases, a brand new one. So with that in mind, we have come up with a series of guides to help guide you through each one.
In this guide, we take a look specifically at the Pokemon ROM Hack, Pokemon Unbound. This game has 20 hours of dedicated story, up to 90 hours of added content, a dedicated difficulty setting, Pokemon up to generation seven, and interwoven cut scenes that help deliver the story to the player.
In short, it’s just about the most ambitious Pokemon project out there but the question is, is it worth your time. Well, let’s find out in our essential Pokemon Unbound guide.
What is a ROM Hack?
Firstly, we need to establish what a ROM Hack actually is. Well, a ROM hack is a game that takes the skeleton of a vanilla Pokemon game. Most commonly ones from the GBA era such as Pokemon Fire Red or Pokemon Emerald. Then tweaks the formula, adding and repurposing assets, changing functionality, and adding new features.
Until eventually, you have a game that is completely unrecognizable from the original design. It takes a very skilled developer to make a fan-made game such as the ROM’s out there and usually they are made by one person alone. Which is all the more impressive.
These games often modernize the Pokemon experience, adding new monsters from later generations, adding UI and functionality fixes for a smoother gaming experience.
Some will even up the graphical quality to be more in line with games like Diamond and Pearl, much like Unbound has. In short, this is the way to play Pokemon games as the fans wish they were made all those years ago.
What is Pokemon Unbound?
So now that you know what a hack is, what is Pokemon Unbound exactly? Well, this is a Pokemon game that is based on a Fire Red build rather surprisingly as it looks much more modern. This game is complete as of last year and provides players with a Pokemon title that plays much more like an RPG than the Pokemon series proper has ever managed.
This Pokemon game features a quest system, difficulty settings, Pokemon up to generation VII and mechanics that are featured in generation VIII such as mega evolutions and max raids. It’s a bold claim, but this may be the most comprehensive Pokemon adventure that players can access and it’s all available for free.
A Pokemon Unbound Story Synopsis
The game begins with a cutscene that gives players more than enough exposition to motivate them to play for hours. This cutscene details the war between the Kalos Region and the Borrius Region, the setting for this game.
There was a great war between these two lands and the Borrius region’s ruler called upon a dark force to turn the tides and win the battle. Then almost instantly, the dark force teleported the Kalos warriors back to their land, ending the war, or so you might have fought.
Instead, hungry for more power and enraged with the people of Kalos for killing his beloved Pokemon, the ruler of Borrius ordered his army through the portals after the Kalos warriors. This looked perilous for the Kalos Region until they used the power of the three legendary birds and Arceus to seal away the dark force and end the war victorious.
This would lead to the people of Borrius overthrowing the leadership of the region and forces within the said region would begin trying to call upon this dark force once again to restore power to their native land. This is where you come in. You must take down the evil group known as The Shadows, restore peace to the region and stop the dark force from laying waste the entire Pokemon Universe.
All the while collecting gym badges, training your Pokemon and catching them all as well. So pretty simple really. The story for the most part is well-paced, offers lots of lore and backstory that can be accessed as you work through each new area and the option for a dark or light story is very interesting.
Pokemon Unbound: A Walkthrough
So now that you know a little bit about this Pokemon ROM Hack, how about we give you the inside scoop on how to beat the game, one step at a time. Just for clarity, this guide is based on a casual difficulty playthrough with the grittier story settings enabled.
So players who seek more of a challenge will need to tweak this guide to overcome their much harder obstacles. However, this guide will keep you on the right track at least.
We must also state that this is a bare-bones guide that will only deal with progression through the main story. If you want a full guide explaining every aspect of this game front to back, you should check out Allen Cee’s walkthrough for this game. So without further delay, here is our guide.
Starting Out: Frozen Height, Bellerin Town and Icicle Cave
Here we go, so the game begins with a cut scene from 16 years prior where a man discards the Pokemon Hoopa (The Dark Force) while talking to the God Pokemon Arceus. Then later, we see a child wishing that the god’s award him a Pokemon. Then as luck would have it, Hoopa washes up on the beach and thus begins Hoopa’s rehabilitation.
You will then choose your preferences and create your character and the game begins. This then brings you to your present-day where you are transported by Hoopa, knocked out by a Scientist and placed in a holding cell. You gain control here and will need to escape somehow. First, find the red-haired character in the adjacent cell and wake them up. This is your rival so choose a humiliating name for them and move on.
He will accompany you and try to rush the guard. However, without a Pokemon, you stand no chance. Luckily, there is a fragile cage full of Pokemon who would love to join your party. Here are your choices of starter Pokemon for Pokemon Unbound:
- Larvitar: Lv.10
- Beldum: Lv.10
- Gilbe: Lv.10
Once you choose a monster, you then face off against the guard in a double battle, and then make your escape out of the facility and conveniently back to your hometown of Frozen Heights. This is where you meet Professor Log who will send you on an errand to retrieve his package from Bellerin town.
Not before your rival will battle you but this is a straightforward affair which doesn’t matter if you win or lose. So once that’s over with and after you check in with your Mum, head south to Bellerin town and pick up the package.
A Shadow member will steal this and you will have to chase them north, past the skinny tree north of Frozen Heights and you will receive what’s left of the package after the leader uses a master ball to catch Articuno. Return to Professor Log and he will give you your Pokedex and a handful of Pokeball’s thus beginning your Pokemon journey with the proverbial training wheels removed.
You’ll next want to make your way to Icicle cave and navigate through this area, battling your first few trainers in this adventure. You’ll also have to battle your rival again who now has a Swinub in his party. However, this is all rudimentary and you’ll breeze through.
When you emerge, you’ll find yourself on route 2, the Dresco Islets. Here you’ll find some items and battle a handful of trainers, but for those that are inpatient, you can talk to a psychic in a house up ahead that will transport you immediately to Dresco Town. Whatever you choose, you should now be in the city where you will face your first Gym leader.
Dresco City Gym
You are now in Dresco City, the home of Borrius’ first Pokemon Gym challenge. In this city there are a few side quests to complete, a Pokemon trainer house to help you grind if you need it but we are focusing on the Gym. So head on in and you’ll immediately be hit with a wave of fog.
Speak to the greeter and claim your bottle of fresh water and will tell you that Sandstorm will help you clear the fog. If you do this, navigating this gym is much easier. You can battle the two trainers or just one on your way to Mirskle.
When you engage him, he’ll ask you to let your Pokemon sniff some Oddish leaves. It’s an odd offer but take him up on it as your lead Pokemon will get an SP defence boost for the battle ahead.
The battle will also be a double battle so if you haven’t trained a second Pokemon, you might want to do that before this encounter. Here is what to expect from this Grass Pokemon-themed gym:
- Gloom (Grass/Poison)
- Floette (Fairy)
- Weedle (Bug/posion)
To win this battle, a fire type Pokemon would be ideal but there isn’t really any you can pick up right now. You can pick up a Psychic-type in the form of Slowpoke and there are several flying and bug Pokemon that you can get your hands on.
The main thing is don’t rely on rock and water types to get the job done and you’ll be fine, winning you your first gym badge in Pokemon Unbound. Now that you’ve done that, you can finally access Professor Log’s friend Arthur.
He will give you a history lesson on the Borrian War and will hatch a plan with his grandson Jax is stop The Shadows from taking Moltres at Cinder Volcano. He also asks you to tag along and see him in action. So this is where the player is off to next.
To reach here you will have to pass through the ‘volcano zone’ route and also pass through the Grimm Woods. Once you step out the other side and return to route 4, a cutscene will show Jax entering up ahead of you. You’ll have to follow him and climb up the five levels of the volcano until you reach the summit, triggering a cutscene.
You won’t get there in time and the Shadows escape with Moltres. Jax will feel bad and offer to accompany you back down the volcano but this is optional.
Either way, descend the volcano and upon reaching 1F another cutscene will play. This will show Ivory telling Jax that Moltres is sealed and there is no hope. Then Marlon decides to battle you. Jax will offer his services once again but you can approach this solo if you wish. Here is the team you will face:
- Duskull (Ghost)
- Swoobat (psychic/Flying)
- Cancea (Grass)
The best team for this fight is one made up of fire, ghost, psychic, steel, Ice or electric type Pokemon. As long as you don’t rely on bug, grass, water or normal types, you should be fine. Also note that if you do agree to the double battle, you will face a Shrifty as well.
After the battle concludes, you’ll be transported back to Dresco for more narrative exposition but you can request to be transported back to Cinder Volcano and continue along Route 5 and after you make it through, you’ll be in Crater Town, the home of gym number two.
Crater Town Gym
In this town, you will go up against Vega, the dark type Pokemon trainer. The gimmick of this gym is that Pokemon that are not dark or ghost types will be affected by the negative emotions that the gym setting brings. Essentially it’s like environmental damage unless you bring the right Pokemon for the task at hand.
The place is also pitch black as well, kind of like the Dewford Town Gym in Pokemon Emerald. However, you can gradually make the space brighter by beating the trainers inside. It’s also worth noting that those who aren’t trainers are guards who you must avoid or they will send you back to the start. If you are aware of Palka Tower in Pokemon Clover, you’ll know all about this gimmick.
It’s all about timing, so if you are playing on 2x speed, we would advise against it. Eventually, you will reach Vega and here is the team that you will be up against:
- Liepard (Dark)
- Sneasel (Dark/Ice)
- Absol (Dark)
The best options for this battle are other dark Pokemon to avoid the gyms emotional damage. However, fighting and fairy Pokemon will get the job done fast enough that the damage won’t be an issue.
When you beat this Gym, you’ll earn her second badge. After this, you’ll want to head to the place where the Shadow Grunts were standing in town. They are aware of your whereabouts and when you go to this area to progress onward, you are captured.
You are brought back to Cinder Volcano and as Team Shadow have learned why Hoopa brought you to the facility, in the beginning, they feel like you know too much. This inevitably leads to a boss fight, this time with Ivory. This is what you are up against:
- Misdreavous (Ghost)
- Kadabra (Psychic)
- Alolan Persian
To beat this selection, you need to have your own dark, psychic and dark Pokemon, plus maybe a steel type for good measure. However, the battle shouldn’t be too much of a test. If you beat Ivory, Boss Zeph steps in and this will see you battle against his Mega Houndoom.
If you have a psychic or water type on hand, this will be a breeze but this Pokemon packs a punch so do have some potions handy. After beating this boss, Hoopa will transport you away to safety, transporting you to the KBT Expressway.
Here you will find a hiker that will offer you the HM cut, allowing you to progress and will also tell you that a friend of his in Blizzard city has the HM Rock Smash should you need it. So that is where you are headed for next. You’ll need to head through Valley Cave, using cut to make your way past the previously inaccessible areas.
Then you can head through Potato Fields, then through Island’s End and then into Frost Mountain where you will meet your rival once again. Which means, you guessed it, another battle. Here is the lineup:
- Trumbeak (Normal/Flying)
- Swinub (Ice)
- Starter Pokemon
Bring along a dark Pokemon, an electric Pokemon and a counter for his starter and you’ll be in the clear. You then proceed and make it out of Frost Mountain and then along Route 8 as well. You’ll have to battle more than a handful of trainers and then before long, you’ll find yourself in Blizzard City.
Blizzard City Gym
There are several fun quests that you can take part in within Blizzard City but let’s focus on the Gym challenge. In this gym, you will face off against Alice who is a flying Pokemon trainer in spite of the adverse climate of Blizzard City.
The gimmick of this gym involves the player ascending to high platforms with the use of fans and then dropping back down through holes in the floor. Navigate this area and battle the trainers as they come, then take on this gym leader. Here is the team you will come up against:
- Dodrio (Normal/Flying)
- Crobat (Poison/Flying)
- Pinsir (Bug)
- Gliscor (Ground/Flying)
Having some electric Pokemon can be helpful here but the ground typing of Gliscor and the Bug Pokemon Pinsir will throw you off. So bring along either some fire, ground, water, grass or bug type Pokemon to cover the type disadvantages. This is probably the hardest battle you will have faced so far but prepare well and you will win.
After this, you’ll need to take the KBT Expressway which was frozen by Ivory of Team Shadow. Luckily Alice will show you how to use Rock Smash, opening up your path forward toward Fallshore City.
Go down to the KBT Expressway and to the junction where there is a Shadow roadblock, which is your cue to head east. You will eventually meet another roadblock, boulders this time.
So you’ll need to head south now and you’ll approach the exit which triggers a cutscene. Jax is attempting to lift the barrier over route nine but sadly fails. However, now the route is clear to head to Fallshore City.
Tehl Town & Fallshore City Gym
The goal here is to take on Mel the normal type gym leader of this city. However, he is initially not around and you will need to complete a mission to help Jax with his Route 9 issue first. You’ll need to head through the city, out toward Epidemy Town, through route 10, then 9 and then finally you will be in Tehl Town.
Here you will find an underground passage that will allow you to bypass the psychic barrier on route 9 and now you can deal with Team Shadow.
You’ll have to battle your way through the area, defeating grunts as you go. Like Cinder Volcano, you have the option to team up with Jax but it is not mandatory.
You will eventually reach the end of the area where you encounter Ivory, Marlon Zeph and Dr Harth. Harth has a prison stone and the group kill him and his wife to retrieve it. Then you have to take on Ivory either alone or as a duo with Jax. Here is what you are up against:
- Alakazam (psychic)
- Mismagius (Ghost)
- Incineroar (Dark/Fire)
Fellow psychic and ghost Pokemon make for the best battle companions here. You can also make good use of dark, steel and water Pokemon.
This battle isn’t that much of a challenge. Predictably after this battle, Houndoom is set upon you but Hoopa once again teleports you to safety on Route 9. Jax will tell you that the Gym leader for Fallshore is in Tehl Town. So head back there, speak to him and make your way back to Fallshore to take on the gym.
The gimmick of this gym is that type advantages are completely reversed in this gym. You will also have to traverse a water-filled area and ride on the back of Lapras and across paths of lily pads to reach the gym leader.
However, Mel has a team made up of normal types despite this formerly being a water type gym. Here is the team that you will face in this battle:
- Bewear (Normal/Fighting)
- Diggersby (Normal/Ground)
- Miltank (Normal)
- Mega Lopunny (Normal/Fighting)
To win this inverse battle you will want to bring along some electric Pokemon ice, rock, steel and dark Pokemon. If you do, you’ll make light work of Mel, have the ability to use the HM strength outside of battle and you will be halfway to the Pokemon league with your fourth gym badge.
After this win, you want to make your way to route 11, use strength to access cliff cave and then you’ll make it to Tarmigan Town which is on your way to your next location, Mt Thundercap.
In Tarmigan Town you will have to work your way through Tarmigan Mansion. This is a quest that will push along the story and will also give you access to a mega bracelet and the ability to use Mega Evolutions. Maxima will give you this bracelet and Altarianite, then once you leave the mansion Mel will be waiting on you.
He informs you that the people of Epidemy Town are being stopped from entering Thundercap Mt. So he will transport you back, clear a path with his Miltank and hey presto, you are in Thundercap Mountain.
Once in thundercap Mountain, you’ll have a series of Shadow Grunts to deal with and some boulder puzzles to solve in order to progress. You will also have to find a key from a Shadow Grunt that will free the trapped Pokemon, although you should do this naturally through exploring.
On 5F this will reach a crescendo when Marlon finds Zapdos, weakens it and then captures it right before your eyes. It means that they have all three of the legendary birds and also means it’s time for a battle with one. Here is the team you’ll face:
- Zapdos (Flying/Electric)
- Krookodile (Dark/Ground)
- Dusclops (Ghost)
- Swoobat (Psychic/Flying)
- Cacturne (Grass/Dark)
This is a team that has a good bit of coverage and offers a decent challenge. You’ll want to bring along some Psychic Pokemon, a fire Pokemon and then bring along a Pokemon that is equipped to deal with Zapdos, such as a rock or steel type Pokemon.
Incredibly in a turn of events, Marlon after the loss releases the Zapdos and this is the last we see of him for a while. You should make your way back to Epidemy town to plan your next move.
After informing Jax, he suggests that you make your way to Dehara City. So make your way along west Thundercap Descent and just seconds along the path, you’ll be confronted by your rival who predictably demands a battle. So here is what he/she has to offer this time around:
- Toucannon (Normal/Flying)
- Piloswine (Ice/Ground)
- Starter (Mega Evolution)
- Vaporeon (Water)
The best Pokemon for the job here is electric and fire types. You also need a counter for the starter Pokemon as well. However, after the tough battle against Marlon, this is a piece of cake.
He will give you a mega evolution item for your starter and then he’s off again. Along the route you will witness a shadow grunt track down and capture the Zapdos, so you’ll have to apprehend the Shadows in the Ruins of Void later. However, for now just make your way along the path and you’ll end up in Dehara City.
Dehara City Gym
You will enter the Ruins of Void, battle three legendary Pokemon back to back, defeat Shadow Admins aplenty and you’ll also find out much more about the history of this region in the upcoming quest within the Ruins of Void.
After you visit the game corner and meet up with Jax, Hoopa transports you again and you’ll find yourself in the Ruins of Void. You’ll complete this area, travel to the Cinder Volcano again, complete this area and fight more legendary Pokemon, find the Light of Ruin admin Vega, fight them and then you’ll clear out a shadow base and defeat Boss Zeph.
Revealing that the Shadows aren’t the real bad guys after all. It’s all pretty intense but we are more concerned with getting those badges. So after all this, head to the Dehara Gym.
This gym has a steel/electric theme and a gimmick that uses electromagnets to keep the Pokemon off the ground, rendering all ground type moves useless, so you’ll need another strategy.
You’ll also need to solve a switch and gate style puzzle to navigate through the gym. However, this is all fairly straightforward and before long, you’ll be ready to face Galavan, the fifth gym leader challenge. Here is the lineup that he will lead with:
- Alohan Golem (Rock/Electric)
- Mega Ampharos (Electric/Dragon)
- Elektross (Electric)
- Togedemaru (Electric/Steel)
As bulking your team out with ground types isn’t an option, you’ll need to bring along dragon types, fire types, Ice types and grass types to win this battle comfortably. Also, watch out for the Mega Ampharos as this one can take a hit and deal a hefty one too. However, with the right team, you’ll have just inherited your fifth gym badge.
A win that will mean that you have access to the HM Surf. So after you are all done exploring the now open waterways, you’ll need to head out to the great desert and make your way along this route in search of Vivill Town.
Along the way, you will find Gurun Town, a town that Regirock built. This offers a few new side quests but if you are on the main mission path to success, you can just blast on through.
After this, it’s a trip through Vivill woods and you’ll finally reach Vilill Town. Here you will be tasked with clearing out a LoR Grunt Warehouse. Make your way through this area, battling and chowing down on narrative exposition and cut scenes.
Then you will eventually be face to face with the LoR admin. This means a battle and this is the team you’ll be up against:
- Klefki (Steel/Fairy)
- Florges (Fairy)
- Togekiss (Fairy/Flying)
- Primarina (water/Fairy)
- Unbound Hoopa (Phychic/Dark)
This is a fairly easy battle as basically all of the Pokemon on offer are fairy types except for Hoopa. So bring along some strong steel and poison type Pokemon, then a psychic Pokemon to counter Hoopa. This should be more than enough to take town this trainer as the coverage is pretty terrible.
After you finish this battle, you will be sent to Distortion World, where Jax was banished not too long ago by Hoopa. In this area, you will have to solve a series of boulder puzzles, fight the legendary Pokemon Giraltina. After you defeat them, they help you return to reality, putting you back in Rift Cave.
Head through Route 16 Desert’s End where you’ll make use of the Devon Scope and eventually, you will be in Antisis City.
Antisis City Gym
There are plenty of things to do here, such as solve a literal gang war but we have a job to do here and that’s in the city Gym. Here you will face Big Mo, who represents the fighting type Pokemon gym leader of this region.
The gimmick of this gym is that you are not allowed to use psychic, Fairy and Flying-type moves. Seems fair, right? Just beat the trainers in the Gym, revealing the way to Big Mo’s outdoor showgrounds and then it’s time to take on the main man himself. Here is the team you will face:
- Conkeldurr (Fighting)
- Machamp (Fighting)
- Mega Medicham (Fighting/Psychic)
- Hariyama (Fighting)
- Pangoro (Fighting/Dark)
This battle is tough due to the rather unfair scenario that Mo forces upon you. The best Pokemon to use which you are allowed are Poison, Bug and Ghost Pokemon to take on the fighting types. You can also bring along steel types to deal with Medicham. It’s a battle that will test your ability to win battles with no clear type advantages.
Simply make sure you aren’t at a direct disadvantage, use moves that will up your stats to create advantages for yourself and this will lead to your sixth gym badge. A win that will allow you to learn Rock Climb and use this out of battle. This will allow you to head down Eastern Bluffs and you’ll reach Seaport City.
There are a series of missions to complete here but the main thing that appeals about this City is that you can board a ship that will take you to East Borrius. Get on this ship and you’ll end up in Polder Town.
Polder Town Gym
Jax will run ahead after this and over the waterfalls but we will need to first get the seventh gym badge to learn the skill to follow him. The Gym Leader in this Town is Tessy, the water-type Pokemon and Mel’s Ex-Girlfriend. This Gym has a ‘Red Light, Green Light’ gimmick to it. You’ll have to surf to make your way along the interior of this gym.
However, there is a wave machine here that will wash you back to the start every time you stay in the water too long. So edge your way forward each time, battling the trainers as you go.
Then also, the battle gimmick of this gym is that your first two moves will dictate your pokemon’s primary and secondary typing. It can make for a very methodical battle and for that reason you should bring along Pokemon that are equipped for the challenge. Here is the team that you will face on this occasion:
- Toxapex (Water/Poison)
- Mega Gyarados (Water/Dark)
- Kingdra (Water/Dragon)
- Seismitoad (Water/Ground)
- Armaldo (Rock/Bug)
You’ll have to be very reactive in this battle as the typing can be changed on a dime and leave you at a disadvantage. So do your best to cover all bases. Bring along electric type Pokemon, dragon types, a water or fire type to deal with Armaldo and stock up on antidotes just in case Toxipex tries to get clever with status effects.
Winning will mean you only need one more gym badge and you will also be able to use waterfall outside of battle. After this, you will need to travel through Coote’s Bog, Crystal Peak, Magnolia Peak and then you will find yourself in Redwood Village, the home of the last Gym Challenge.
Redwood Village Gym
Now you have to take on Benjamin in the Redwood Village Gym. Benjamin is a primarily bug type Pokemon user but his gym has one of the strangest and toughest gimmicks of all that you have encountered until now.
You see, these are regression battles. This means that if you beat a fully evolved Pokemon, you’ll have to beat all of its previous evolutions until it is finally fully regressed. Here is the team you’ll have to face to earn your one-way ticket to the Pokemon League:
- Araquanid (Bug/Water)
- Forretress (Bug/Steel)
- Butterfree (Flying/Bug)
- Drapion (Poison/Dark)
- Mega Scizor (Bug/Steel)
While there are more Pokemon to beat thanks to the gimmick of this gym. However, if you bring along a strong selection of fire types you should be able to rush this gym pretty easily as the coverage is pretty poor.
This means you’ll have eight badges, be on the home straight to the Pokemon league and you’ll be able to use the HM Dive outside of battle.
From here, you need to travel along route 18 Victory Ascent, then through Victory Road and once you get through without even needing to smack down your rival as is custom usually, you’ll be before the Pokemon League.
The Borrius Pokemon League
Stock up for your first battle with Moleman, the first of the elite four. Moleman has a gimmick for his battle which whips up a never-ending sandstorm that does more damage than the typical one.
Plus it raises the power of ground type moves. So as you can imagine, this elite four member will have a set of ground and rock Pokemon at his disposal. Here is the team that you’ll be up against in your first match of the challenge:
- Excadrill (Ground/Steel)
- Flygon (Ground/Dragon)
- Gliscor (Ground/Flying)
- Sandslash (Ground)
- Quagsire (Ground/Water)
As all of these Pokemon are ground types, you would do well to have a strong water type to call upon. However, you will also benefit from having a grass type Pokemon to cover Quagsire.
This is a fairly simple one to navigate so get through it fast and get moving to your next challenge. Next up is Elias who is a stuffed corpse with the spirit of a Pokemon trainer hovering around to channel the power of Ghost Pokemon.
Which is not unsettling at all. This one doesn’t have any special gimmicks but you will have to tame his team of ghosts. Here is the lineup you will be up against:
- Mimikyu (Ghost)
- Mega Banette (Ghost)
- Aegislash (Steel/Ghost)
- Trevenant (Ghost/Grass)
- Chandelure (Ghost/Fire)
This one is slightly tougher than the fight with Moleman. This is down to the fact that Ghost Pokemon have more dastardly tricks up their sleeve like Curse or Destiny Bond. Plus, there is a lot more type coverage here. However, if you bring along some capable dark and psychic type Pokemon, you should get through just fine.
Bringing you on to your third challenge, Annabelle the Fairy type Pokemon trainer. Here is the lineup you’re going to face here:
- Carbink: (Rock/Fairy)
- Sylveon: (Fairy)
- Mega Mawile (Steel/Fairy)
- Azumarril (Water/Fairy)
- Togekiss (Fairy/Flying)
This can be a tough battle as you can only really pack steel and poison types to overcome this fairy flurry of foes. This is fine for the most part but as Mawille is a steel type, this won’t work and it’s a mega evolution to boot. So you’ll need to pack a fire type and perhaps an electric type to give yourself full coverage here.
When you make it through this battle, only one trainer stands in your way of facing the grand champion. That trainer is Penny, the Dragon Tamer. Here is the team she will use to take you down:
- Goodra (Dragon)
- Tyrantrum (Rock/Dragon)
- Hydreigon (Dark/Dragon)
- Kommo-o (Fighting/Dragon)
- Mega Sceptile (Grass/Dragon)
The best way to approach this battle is to go face to face with her dragon types with some of your own. The coverage here is good, so try to have some fire, psychic, water and ice type Pokemon available for good measure.
You’ll make it through and you’ll be one fight away from completion. So head on and face the grand champion, who surprise, surprise, turns out to be Jax of all people. His grandfather had been training him to become the champion all this time and it seems that it’s time to test his ability. Get ready for the final fight. Here is the lineup:
- Hitmontop (Fighting)
- Mega Salamence (Dragon/Flying)
- Staraptor (Flying/Normal)
- Pyroar (Fire/Normal)
- Magnezone (Electric/Steel)
- Gastrodon (Water/ Ground)
Do you want a test? Well, now you have one. You have type coverage, strong Pokemon aplenty and a mega evolution that will put you on your butt if you don’t give it the respect it deserves. To win this one, you’ll need grass types, ice types, water types, electric types, psychic types and electric types.
There are other options but we believe that a blend of these types will serve you best. Also, be aware that four of these Pokemon have Protect so buckle in for a long, tactical battle. If you win this battle, you have completed Pokemon Unbound’s main story, so all we have left to say is, congrats.
Is Pokemon Unbound Hard?
Well, this really depends on your difficulty setting. If you chose casual, then you will get a Pokemon experience that is very much in line with the standard-issue Pokemon series. Chances are you won’t ever blackout and will always be about ten levels ahead of the pack.
Then difficult mixes it up a little, the level gap is closed, the trainers you face are a lot smarter and use tactics such as held items to get one over on you and even the wild Pokemon behave differently. However, it’s a light challenge that will only keep you on your toes.
Expert is a mode that will test the player and will punish you for not being on top of your game. You’ll need to know your Pokemon, typing’s, move set’s and all other aspects of the series very well and even if you do, we would be surprised if you made it through on Expert without blacking out a few times.
Then lastly, you have insane which is exactly that. This is a rather sadistic mode that will require players to grind insane amounts just to keep up with the demands of the game. So if you choose Insane, just be warned that every encounter will be a hard fight and you’ll probably double your playtime through this one choice alone.
What Unique Features Does Pokemon Unbound Have?
You may still be on the fence about dedicating so much time to this Pokemon hack and we respected that cautious approach. You want to know what makes this game special and worth your time and we hear you loud and clear.
So with that in mind, here are some of the standout features of Pokemon Unbound, giving you a full picture of what to expect before jumping into this gargantuan adventure:
Varied Difficulty Settings
As we mentioned above, Pokemon Unbound offers something that the regular series has never managed to replicate, a varied difficulty setting.
This allows the player to enjoy a casual adventure, one that makes things challenging but fair, one that tests them to their limit and one that is just so damn punishing that it had to be called ‘insane’. It’s a great feature and one that promotes multiple playthroughs and accessibility for all.
Light Vs Gritty Story Setting
This is a rather subtle change in practice but one that we can only imagine took a long time to code into the fabric of this game. At the beginning of gameplay, Pokemon Unbound asks the player if they would prefer a grittier or lighter storyline.
Then upon your choice, the game will offer a storyline that has more death and mature themes, or one that is more in keeping with the vibes that Team Rocket put out. It’s a great choice to have and one that makes this game child friendly.
Incorporates In-World Pokemon
A cool feature that this game offers is that lots of in-game Pokemon serve an actual purpose. Chanseys can heal player’s Pokemon, Lapras can transport you over water and Porygon serves as a makeshift PC terminal. It’s a small feature but one that makes the world feel more cohesive and alive as a result.
Classy Functionality Changes
GBA games are old, meaning that the UI and functionality are going to feel clunky and dated. So this game tries to remedy this with polished mechanics and new features and this works beautifully.
Players can use exp shares for their whole party as standard. They run as default and can switch to a walking pace, you don’t need to teach HM moves to use them outside of battle. These are only a few changes in a myriad of updates to the tired formula and each one is very much appreciated.
Dedicated Mission Log
This is a feature that makes this game feel like a genuine, multi-faceted RPG. Players can take on 75 missions in total within this game, which range from ‘Complete the game’ to smaller mini-quests that see the player complete tasks for NPC’s such as fetch quests, Pokemon capture quests and much more.
It’s a feature that adds longevity and emergent gameplay for every player’s Unbound experience and it’s truly wonderful to see such a complex system utilised in a Pokemon context.
Customisable Charcater Selection
Then lastly, you have a player customisation station that allows you to create a character that is more in line with how you see yourself. You can alter your skin tone, hair colour and outfit as well as your gender. It’s not AAA gaming levels of customisation but it’s a huge step up from ‘Are you a boy or a Girl’.
Are There Any Problems With Pokemon Unbound?
Despite all the great assets the game has in it’s arsenal listed above, there are some aspects of this game that don’t warrant heaps of praise. So to give you an all-encompassing view of Pokemon Unbound, here are the issues that we had with the game:
Story Can Be Hard To Get Into
While the story is creative, detailed and much more mature than the usual cookie-cutter Pokemon adventure. We have to admit, it can all get a little bit dense at times. There are periods in this game where things could be said in a sentence take a paragraph.
There are others where events drag on long past where they should and the content itself can be a little alienating at times, especially for someone not well versed in the world of Pokemon. It’s a small gripe but one that should be voiced nonetheless.
Arguably Too Much Content
Have you ever played a game that simply has so much to offer and so much to do that you just don’t know where to begin and end up doing nothing?
For me, the best example is The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Well, Pokemon Unbound can feel like this at times, especially with the variety of quests and expanded world that the players have to do and explore. It’s a nice problem to have but for some, can lead to the game simply not engaging them at all.
Unexpected Difficulty Spike
While the game is flawlessly paced for the most part, both in terms of narrative and gameplay, there is a moment where things take a turn for the worst. About 2/3’s into the game, the player will suddenly notice a spike in difficulty.
Now, for those on casual, this will hardly be an issue. However, all other players will notice this and it won’t be a welcome change. This can spoil Nuzlocke runs, lead to a long period of grinding and overall is an inconvenience that we could have done without.
Unbound and Untethered!
As you can see from the information above, Pokemon Unbound is arguably one of the most unique, comprehensive and complete ROM hacks that have ever been made. It offers everything that fans have urged Game Freak to add to the real games and then doubles down with much more content.
Does it have its flaws? Sure, but every game does, even award-winning ones. So with that in mind, we urge you to give Pokemon Unbound a try and experience retro Pokemon in its truest, most beautifully realised form.
Pokemon Unbound Game Guide: FAQs
Question: What Other Pokemon ROMs Should I Play?
Answer: If you have managed to plough your way through the 90+ hours of content that this gane has to offer. Firstly, we tip our hat to you. Then secondly, we want to help you will the void with another Pokemon ROM that is of a similar standard to this ROM Hack.
Pokemon Unbound is admittedly a tough act to follow. However, we believe that these games more than hold their own. Here is a list of the best ROM hacks below:
• Pokemon Dark Rising
• Pokemon Snakewood
• Pokemon Rocket Edition
• Pokemon Flora Sky
• Pokemon Glazed
• Pokemon Liquid Crystal
• Pokemon Gaia
Question: When Was Pokemon Unbound Completed?
Answer: Since the original source files that these ROM hacks are built with came out as long ago as the mid-2000’s, that you lead to the assumption that this game was made maybe a few years after. Well, this game was only finished back in 2017.
This later date allowed for seven generations of Pokemon to be added to this game, some incredibly deep functions to be incorporated into this game and some modern mechanics too. So we have to commend tube developers for their long term dedication to this project.
Question: Does Pokemon Unbound Have Gen VIII Pokemon?
Answer: Sadly, this game as you can read above was completed in 2017, meaning that this game did not have the capacity to include the monsters included in Pokemon Sword and Shield.
This is because the game was released after the competition of this ROM. However, considering that this game offers hundreds more Pokemon than the standard ROM including max raids, swarms and mega evolutions, we cannot for one second complain.
So that is our guide explaining all there is to know about the Pokemon ROM Hack, Pokemon Unbound. What did you make of this guide? Was this helpful and informative for you?
What other Pokemon ROM Hack guides would you like to see from us in the future? Let us know in the comments section below and as always, thank you for reading.