Pokemon games are massively popular. Ever since the 1990s, this IP has continued to thrive in so many different ways. We have merch, trading cards, anime, and of course video games. Over the years, we’ve seen new mainline installments released that have players going through a new region, collecting Pokemon and battling against nefarious organizations while collecting different gym leader badges. For those of you looking for something a bit different, there are fan-created Pokemon games out there. You’ll find plenty of options and new games are constantly being released online. In this list, we’re going to highlight some fan games that we think you should check into this year. With that said, these are just a collection of games and not necessarily ranked. With Pokemon fan games constantly getting taken down and with new updates hitting these titles, you might find the games will continue to improve.
#10 Pokemon Crystal Clear
Those of you wanting more of a traditional Pokemon game experience but with something just a tad different might want to look at Pokemon Crystal Clear. It’s a ROM hack of Pokemon Crystal and it offers players an open-world experience between Johto and Kanto. When players start the game, there is the ability to get a starter Pokemon out of a wider collection and from there you’re free to start your journey. All of the obstacles that would prevent players from heading further than what the game is planned have been removed. This means you’ll be able to face any gym leader in any order. While this game may be a ROM hack from an older title, it’s a solid one and a nice fan game to enjoy for those that want to relive the more original Pokemon video game experience.
A game we’re sure you’ve already seen around the web for a good while now is PokeMMO. With Pokemon games, players are typically just playing alone with the ability to usually connect to friends for battling or in-game trading. With PokeMMO, players are given a game where they can play together. It’s just like any typical MMO game where you’ll see other players, can interact, battle, and trade freely. However, there’s still plenty of content added in with multiple regions, and typical Pokemon attributes that you’re likely already well accustomed to in the mainline Pokemon video games. Surprisingly this game has been stable and available for players to enjoy on multiple platforms such as a smartphone or computer.
#8 Pokemon Snakewood
A ROM hack for Pokemon Ruby we have Pokemon Snakewood. This is a game set after the events of Pokemon Ruby where you’re taking the role of a sibling based on the original Pokemon Ruby protagonist. Waking up with no memories of what happened, you stumble upon a destroyed Professor Birch laboratory where you pick a starter Pokemon and begin your investigation. Players quickly find that the world is in a zombie pandemic with the undead rising and infecting the rest of the world.
With this newfound knowledge, players will be going throughout the Hoenn region to restore order. Players can expect some new scripts, sprites, areas, along with zombie versions of Pokemon. This is the first Pokemon ROM hack from the creator and so far there’s been a bit of a split on player’s reception to it. Being a fan game, it’s not like you’ll need to spend any money to get into this game so you can be the judge but this is one ROM hack that typically pops up online quite a bit for players looking for recommendations.
#7 Pokemon Prism
Pokemon Prism is a sequel to Pokemon Brown, another fan game that has been around since 2004 so players will be able to visit the region if Rijon if you’re familiar with the ROM hack. However, the main storyline in this title is set in a new region of Naljo. Here players are taking the role of Lance’s son or daughter, the same Lance that’s a member of the Elite Four. While playing in a minecart, the player ends up traveling to the region of Naljo which is striving to become a purist industrialization. Now players are exploring the area, gathering twenty badges and attempting to rid the region from its corruption. In terms of the actual Pokemon, you’ll find the first four generations represented along with some new evolutions. With that said, this might be a game best played after going through Pokemon Brown first and it’s worth mentioning that Pokemon Prism is a ROM hack from Pokemon Crystal. Again, like other fan games, this is one title that got killed off initially by the IP owners but a leaked build has since been released with other fans contributing updates to the game.
#6 Pokemon Reborn
A good amount of Pokemon games created by fans are aimed more at bleak narratives. It makes sense because Pokemon games in general are pretty lighthearted. As a result, going in the opposite direction and giving a darker tone is a bit more attractive to fans that seeking something new. With Pokemon Reborn, players are tossed into Reborn City, which is a metropolis that is full of crime. The game paints a picture of a region in a disaster with nothing more than a shell of a previously vibrant world. Now, a young hero steps up to clean the region free from crime. Along the way, players will be able to take on different gym leaders while collecting Pokemon that are featured from the first generation to the seventh generation. What makes things a bit different here outside of the narrative is the fact that there are terrain-focused field effects to further help gain a victory over a battle.
Minecraft has brought out so many iconic mod creations for fans to partake in. Outside of being a solid game to just let your creativity go wild, those on PC can buff up the experience with an assortment of downloads. Some mods add new content into the mix, tools, to even map creations. While the game may always be based around blocks, it will still provide plenty of reasons to continue logging back into the game regularly. As you can imagine, there’s been plenty of different Pokemon mods brought out into the mix with one of the more popular mods being Pixelmon.
Whether it was Pokemon roaming around, gyms, Pokemon Centers, along with of course catching and battling Pokemon, fans of the IP were quick to download this game. Of course, this is one of the games that got taken down because of The Pokemon Company. Regardless, it’s tough to take something down from the internet, and well as you can probably guess, Pixelmon and even newer installments of it like Pixelmon Generations have popped up all over the web. What I’m getting at here is that if you want to play Pokemon through the Minecraft PC client then it’s more than accessible online.
#4 Pokemon Phoenix Rising
Pokemon Phoenix Rising does something a bit interesting here and turns the standard Pokemon video game into a more fully RPG narrative-driven experience. Here we have a storyline based around a kingdom and the fight for power at the core of the narrative, but there are side quests players can partake in as well. Likewise, the development team building this game up is also centered around giving players choices. These choices are not clear on what is typically considered right or wrong which in return adapts the game towards the decisions you made. Again, there’s another bit of a twist here as well since this is not a full game, or at least not a full game yet. The team behind Pokemon Phoenix Rising is releasing this game episodically with the first episode being available right now.
We’re still waiting on the second episode and we’re not entirely sure just how many episodes this game will run. As for the Pokemon, you can expect a range of critters popping up in here along with some new Mega Evolutions, but there won’t be any brand new Pokemon outside of the new Mega Evolutions. Since the first episode was released back in 2018, players can jump into the game now but again there is no clear date on when the second episode will be available. Games in general take developers a long time when it’s their full-time job so it’s to be expected fan-created games will take even longer. Regardless, it’s really interesting where they are taking this fan game creation and it’s one we think you should keep on your radar.
#3 Pokemon Insurgence
A Pokemon fan game that might be a bit more appealing to older players is Pokemon Insurgence. This is a game that doesn’t pull any punches but the developers are pretty aware that the narrative created might be a bit too harsh for some player’s interests. That’s why they created two game modes which are darker along with a lighter option. Essentially, in the lighter option, the story is a bit dialed back such as having no character deaths, but the main storyline will be the same between both modes. Here in this game, players start in a new region with a customized character that is woken up with no memories.
Stuck at the headquarters of The Cult of Darkrai, players are fighting to get away, which is done through the help of Mew. Now free, we see that the world in this region is mainly run by cults and this is where you step in to free the region from their evil reigns. Of course, along the way are plenty of twists and turns which should hopefully entice you to continue playing through the game to see just what else pops up. As you can imagine, there are some features placed throughout for players to go through whether it’s uncovering secret bases or in-game challenges that can be selected giving players more restrictions or potential obstacles to go through the game.
#2 Pokemon Dark Rising
Pokemon Dark Rising is a ROM hack of Pokemon FireRed and it’s also just the first game of a line of Pokemon titles. This is a game that’s a bit more based around a narrative although it does bring in more Pokemon into the game than what FireRed originally offered. You can find Pokemon from Pokemon Black and White along with Pokemon Diamond and Pearl in this game. However, some of the features from these games are not present in Pokemon Dark Rising. At the core, you still have a region to explore, Pokemon to catch, and gym battles to complete. As mentioned, this is a Pokemon game mainly based around the storyline.
In Pokemon Dark Rising, players are following a protagonist that is told by Arceus that an ancient evil is getting ready to take over the Pokemon world and you’re The Chosen One. To save the world and defeat the ancient evil, players will need to train hard and prepare for a difficult contender. With that said, this is a more difficult game to complete and it can be a bit of a grind so that might steer players away. If you enjoy this game then there are other Dark Rising installments to go through.
#1 Pokemon Uranium
Pokemon games tend to have some standard components that make them more unified. For instance, the game is based around capturing and battling Pokemon. However, there are other aspects included in the mix such as competing in different gyms along with striving to become the Pokemon champion. Meanwhile, each installment brings in a few different attributes or gimmicks to appeal to veteran fans. This may be a new collection of Pokemon or some exclusive characters only found in specific versions of the game. When Pokemon Uranium came out, it was an instant hit and it kept quite a lot of what was already mentioned above. However, what was different is the fact that there were so many new Pokemon creations that were added to the game. Seriously, we had over 200 Pokemon species in this game and most of those were brand new Pokemon created by fans. Likewise, the storyline was quite a bit darker in tone and it gave a bit more of an emotional pull to see the protagonist come out on top.
Without spoiling too much here, players are taking the role of a young protagonist who starts their Pokemon journey, much like every Pokemon video game. However, living with their aunt, we find out that our protagonist’s mother perished in a strange nuclear explosion from a power plant. Struck with grief, the father buried himself in work leaving the child in the care of their aunt. However, much like a lot of different fan-created video games, there were several takedown notices made to the developers which they backed down from. After nearly ten years of work put into this game, the main website hosting the title was killed off. Although, when something is already available on the internet, it’s a bit tough to kill off completely and it didn’t take long before countless other hosts and websites were made by the community to continue hosting this game. We won’t directly link to you any of these games, but it’s not hard at all to find them online. With that all that said, Pokemon Uranium is still a fan favorite title and one that the community of players has continued supporting with new patches.