If you’re a gamer or avid TV watcher, you might have heard of a series called Pokemon. Well, as you probably know, Pokemon isn’t just a game—it’s essentially an entire universe of TV shows, fan tributes, and lore.
Founded in 1995, the franchise Pokemon has amassed total earnings exceeding an immense $90 billion dollars, which is more than some Fortune 500 companies! Crazy, right? Yes, but it’s actually not surprising—millions of people worldwide share a love for Pokemon that started in childhood.
No matter who you are, you have probably seen some of the Pokemon characters on a poster or television. Its cuddly-cute characters are irresistible and have garnered massive followings around the world.
So, it’s only natural that Pokemon’s massive fanbase has created a vast array of ROM hacks, otherwise known as fan-made games for you to play.
Today, I’m going to describe to you the 9 best Pokemon ROM hacks to play this year.
The Best Pokemon ROM Hacks and Fan-Made Games to Play in 2023
Before jumping into the list, I want to give a brief explanation for those who have never heard the term, “ROM hack.”
So, what are ROM hacks exactly?
The concept of ROM hacks is exactly the same as a fan-made game. The name isn’t super straightforward, so I’ll explain why a fan-made game is called a Pokemon ROM hack:
The code that makes a game unique is called its Read-Only Memory, or ROM. When a game designer or developer hacks into this code, they can alter the code to create an entirely new (but similar) game. Thus, the games are normally available for the public to play and sell at a lower price than original Pokemon games. A lot of the time, they’re free of cost!
So, it’s only natural that Pokémon’s massive fanbase has created a vast array of ROM hacks, otherwise known as fan-made games for you to play.
In this article, I’m going to describe to you the 14 of the best Pokémon ROM hacks and fan-made games to play in 2023.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Read on for more:
Pokemon Liquid Crystal
The first of the Pokemon ROM hacks that we recommend for 2021 is called Pokemon Liquid Crystal. This ROM hack is a great one for those that enjoy the more classic feel—Liquid Crystal is designed specifically for the Gameboy Advance.
This fan-made version of Pokemon pays tribute to some old regions, such as Johto and Kanto, which have not made appearances in the more recent games. Thus, you can explore them with the same adventurousness and curiosity you might have had playing older Pokemon games!
Overall, Liquid Crystal is a Pokemon ROM hack that will take you back to the past. If you want to download this one, you can check it out on the official website.
Pokémon Radical Red
Almost all Pokémons are catchable, and a lot of quality of life aspects from the latest games have been integrated. Moreover, they have added perks to make every Pokémon competitive.
Therefore, regardless of your desired style of play or favorite Pokémon, you will have a good time playing this game.
At its heart, Pokémon Radical Red is a challenging ROM hack. All in all, there are substantial enhancements that justify at least one replay of this game.
Pokemon Flora Sky
Coming in at the second spot on the list, we have the Pokemon Flora Sky edition of the original game. This is one of the best Pokemon ROM hacks, and we almost consider it one of the apps that pay you—in this case, the currency is boundless entertainment!
You can explore to your heart’s content in Pokemon Flora Sky, with over 350 pokemon to catch, excellent sprite animations, and items to collect and use. This is a great Pokemon ROM hack to download if you’re not a fan of the grind, as it has a well-paced natural progression.
The story aspect of this game is one of the best you can find in the realm of Pokemon fan-made games, so enjoy! If you like to explore, you’ll love the treasure hunt feature.
At number 3, we have the Pokemon Blazed Glazed ROM hack, which is a well-reviewed and popular edition. This Pokemon ROM hack is derived from the original Pokemon game, Pokemon Emerald. If you’re a lover of that game, you might especially enjoy this one!
Interestingly enough, this version is basically a ROM hack of a different ROM hack we haven’t included on this list, Pokemon Blazed.
Similar to Flora Sky, this ROM hack is one of my favorites because of all the new content it brings. By new content, I mean that there are more regions you can navigate, more starters to choose from, and more Pokemon moves to use in battle.
Pokémon Giratina Strikes Back
At number 5 in this list, we have Pokémon Giratina Strikes Back. This puts the gamer into a fake feeling of ease. This is because the first couple of hours of this game is free of any twists and turns.
Yeah, its protagonist’s past is unique when you compare it to other games. But, it all comes down to a little boy going on an epic journey to become a Pokémon Master.
This game becomes weirder as it rolls on which is a good thing. There are also Fakemons among the genuine ones, although the former doesn’t expose themselves before much later in the game.
Ultimately, Pokémon Giratina Strikes Back is a lot of fun and definitely among the top Pokémon ROM hacks currently available.
Pokemon Light Platinum
The next of the best Pokemon ROMs is the Pokemon Light Platinum game. This version of the game is one of the top Pokemon ROM hacks ever derived from Pokemon Ruby, the official version.
This is a great ROM hack because it adds some interesting content to the original Ruby game. You can compete in 2 extra leagues with your Pokemon and eventually advance to the world championship arena!
Pokemon Light Platinum equips you with everything you’ll need to create competition-ready Pokemon, such as elite gyms and 16 new badges.
This Pokemon ROM hack offers endless excitement and a great sense of competition. If you’re a more battle-oriented player rather than a story-based explorer, you’ll especially love Pokemon Light Platinum.
Pokemon Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma
Pokemon Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma, although a mouthful to say, is one of the best Pokemon ROM hacks to play going into 2021. A ROM hack of Pokemon FireRed brings extra content to the already well-developed original game.
This Pokemon ROM hack is robust even from the start. Upon opening the game, you can choose from more than 800 Pokemon to help you start your playthrough! That’s immense compared to the original game and even other good Pokemon ROM hacks.
The best feature, though, I’d say is the UI. Instead of having to open up multiple menus to see Pokemons’ IVs and EVs, it’s all displayed for you beforehand. There are better trading interfaces as well.
Although a few enthusiasts might resort to fan games to revisit better iterations of their beloved games, others might go for them to find fresh and unique gameplay mechanics for enjoying these old games.
That is what Pokémon Vega has done by introducing up to 180 fresh and unique Pokémons in it. In addition, this game features Tohoak which is a new area and over 70 additional Pokémon moves.
Another thing to consider about this game is its difficulty which can be tricky for new gamers. This will be intriguing to gamers who consider mainstream Pokémon games very simple. However, those who are not ready can be annoyed by it.
Nonetheless, the plot is entertaining and features several familiar faces from previous games. It aims to introduce new stuff but it also keeps certain old features that players will admire.
Pokemon Ash Gray
Coming in at number 6 on this list is the Pokemon ROM hack called Pokemon Ash Gray. For convenience’s sake, we put the two best Pokemon ROM hacks for FireRed next to each other.
Pokemon Ash Gray is aptly named, as the main character you’ll play is the beloved Ash Ketchum. This means that you get to play through the whole game with Pikachu by your side!
This Pokemon ROM hack is more on the basic side when it comes to gameplay, but it draws from certain aspects of the TV series which I enjoyed. Although it lacks some key features, I’d still recommend it if you’ve played through the original FireRed game.
Pokemon Dark Cry
Although its name may seem ominous, Pokemon Dark Cry is one of the top Pokemon ROM hacks in my opinion. At number 7 on this list, it deserves its place due to its various new content features.
The storyline of this game is its most intricate part. Starting out in a dark, cavernous area, you face countless foes and work your way back to normalcy. This Pokemon ROM hack is one of the most exciting ones I’ve played to date.
If you value a good story, it would be super worth it to download this fan-made game.
Pokemon FireRed: Rocket Edition
At number 11 in this article, we have Pokemon FireRed: Rocket Edition. This places the user in the role of the Team Rocket’s Grunt. This is a frequent and famous squad in the Pokémon series.
As part of the iconic villainous squad, the player has to build their path doing felonies. The player also has the choice of stealing any trainers’ Pokémon and rising the levels of Team Rocket.
Although it follows the original Red plot, this game brings vibrant energy in it by concentrating on the people that surround the legacy of the renowned trainer.
Some of the individuals included are crooked gym leaders, despised trainers who Red beats, and also Professor Oak, the scientist who sent Red on his epic adventure.
Gamers can engage with a game they regard as valuable in such a manner they have never experienced before. This is because this classic game presents in a fresh way.
If you’re looking for the best Pokemon ROM hacks, we’d recommend Pokemon Prism, which takes the 8th spot on the list. This game is based on the original Pokemon Crystal.
This is another fan-made game that brings you back a few years and provides a nostalgic feel. However, the one drawback to this game is that it’s made for the GameBoy, just like Liquid Crystal! If you have a GameBoy still, or an emulator, this one’s for you.
In this game, you and your adopted Larvitar can explore the Naljo region, after you, playing as Lance, are cast off a traveling minecart. I love this one for its extensive array of minigames!
Pokémon Stadium Kaizo
Pokémon Stadium Kaizo has come with a somewhat distinct approach this time. They have provided highly commendable quality of life upgrades for this Nintendo 64’s game.
Understandably, Pokémon Stadium does not get nearly as many ROM hacks as the GBA releases. Thus, Kaizo covers a little overlooked category.
The primary intent of this ROM hack is to make Pokémon Stadium much more difficult. This as a result makes the game more satisfying.
It also significantly enhances the movesets and rankings of your rented Pokémons, both of which were quite weak in the original game.
Pokemon Mega Power
We’ve saved a great Pokemon ROM hack for last. At the last spot on the list, we have Pokemon Mega Power, which is undoubtedly one of the most popular Pokemon ROM hacks. And, it holds that prestige for a reason!
This isn’t the first hack of Emerald on this list, but it’s widely regarded as the best one. There’s a whole new story involved, with awesome new sprites and three extra regions to explore.
Throughout the story, build up your Pokemon to powerful new heights. Conduct experiments using your funds, and enjoy the neverending sense of adventure. If you like to explore and play around, this game lets you do all that and more.
Personal Favorite: Pokemon Light Platinum
If I had to pick the best Pokemon ROM hack on this list, in my opinion, Pokemon Prism is it. The game is big, which is ideal for my play style.
There’s just so much to do—2 new regions to explore, up-to-date graphics, and lots of content still once you complete the game. I’d recommend this for anyone looking for a long-term Pokemon ROM hack to play in 2021!
Of course, the best Pokemon ROM hack for you will depend on your own personal values in a game. If you prefer a storyline over the competition, you might enjoy a particular game more than someone who loves intense Pokemon battles and achievements.
So, that’s all for the list of the Best Pokemon ROM hacks to play in 2021. We hope you liked our recap! If you have any other Pokemon ROM hacks you adore playing, let us know and we’ll update the list!
Which Pokemon ROM hack is your favorite, and why?
Some other articles you might find of interest:
What Gaming PC should you get for under $1,000?
The Top 18 Best Prebuilt Gaming PCs Under $1000 Revealed & Reviewed
Have you ever wondered what the internet of the future looks like?
Can you have two phones with the same number?
Your Quick Guide on How to Use the Same Mobile Number on Two Phones