The Easiest Pokémon ROM Hacks For Beginners

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Most people start considering Pokémon ROM hacks after completing their fair share of official games and getting tired of blazing through them with tried-and-true strategies.

But plenty of ROM hack enthusiasts got into playing them right away, even after playing just one Pokémon title.

These days there’s no reason why you couldn’t just play a ROM hack without trying the original first.

Still, it can be difficult to tell the easy hacks from the kaizo-like ones.

For those of you who find yourselves in that situation, I’ve put together a list of entry-level hacks you’ll be able to clear without touching a walkthrough or strategy guide.


10. Pokémon Flora Sky

Pokémon Flora Sky Screenshot / Pokemon ROM Hack

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Pokémon Flora Sky is an oldie but goodie ROM hack of Pokémon Emerald, which brings Pokémon from Sinnoh and Unova into the Pokédex, including the main Legendary for this hack: Shaymin.

The storyline is somewhat familiar, as it involves stopping Team Magma and Aqua from capturing Groudon and Kyogre just like the original Gen 3 games.

The main difference is the involvement of Giratina, who’s breaking out of the Torn World and bringing destruction with it.

This hack is unique and changes a lot without making the game too hard.

If anything, it’s easier thanks to the broader Pokémon variety, so it’s a great place to start.


9. Pokémon Black Hack

Pokémon Black Screenshot / ROM Hack

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Some games focus on the narrative rather than the gameplay, and Pokémon Black is a prime example.

This hack of Pokémon Red follows the story of the famous creepypasta about some guy who buys a mysterious “Pokémon Black” cartridge from a garage sale.

In it, you get an overpowered critter by the name of “Ghost” who’s able to curse Pokémon and even trainers out of existence.

The game actually becomes remarkably easy once you can just poof your foes away. You can even use it to bypass trainer gauntlets or get both fossils at Mt. Moon by erasing the guy who makes you choose.

Just be careful…

As William Shakespeare would put it, “these violent delights have violent ends.”


8. Pokémon Orange Islands

Pokémon Orange Islands ROM Hack Screenshot

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Another narrative hack that takes its gameplay a lil’ bit more seriously is Pokémon Orange Islands, a FireRed modification that follows Ash Ketchum during his adventures in the Orange Archipelago.

It’s a short and sweet self-contained adventure closely following the events of the Pokémon anime.

Upon arriving at the Orange Islands, you’ll get a chance to catch every Pokémon in Ash’s team before you go on to explore the islands, sabotage Team Rocket, and conquer the region’s four gyms.

While this campaign isn’t exactly hard, it’s made easier by small changes like reusable Pokéballs and replacing several HMs with items.


7. Pokémon Blazed Glazed

Pokémon Blazed Glazed  ROM Hack Screenshot

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Pokémon Blazed Glazed is a widely beloved hack spanning the regions of Tunod, Rankor, and the classic Johto.

While this Emerald ROM hack advertises better enemy AI and overhauled rival trainer teams that would make the game more challenging, it also gives you access to a wider variety of Pokémon, including several from Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos.

Being able to pick from a varied pool of hand-picked Pokémon means you’ll get the chance to craft a mighty Pokémon team early on in the game.

This balances any extra difficulty – as long as you’re willing to put some thought into your roster.

Stopping Team Fusion should be a piece of cake.


6. Pokémon Light Platinum

Pokémon Light Platinum  ROM Hack Screenshot

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Much like the easy playthrough you can get with Blazed Glazed, the same happens with Pokémon Light Platinum.

Once again, this Ruby ROM hack advertises new gym leaders, rivals, and a new Elite IV – but gives you access to Pokémon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova to face the challenge.

The regions of Zhery and Lauren are a blast to explore, and with these powerful Pokémon, you can focus on taking in the scenery while they do all the work.

You’ll likewise have chances to catch almost every Legendary from the first five generations before making it to the Pokémon World Championship event.

If all else fails, you can get an overpowered team and blaze through with ease.


5. Pokémon Red ++

Pokémon Red++ ROM Hack Screenshot

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While hacks with all-new regions are super fun, I love it when creators show their respect for their original material and try to perfect it rather than change it.

Pokémon Red++ is an overhaul of the original Red that fixes silly bugs (like MissingNo) and brings in many modern commodities such as full-color graphics, choosing your gender at the start of the game, and the chance to catch ‘em all in a single run without trading.

While the game dramatically improves the AI of boss trainers – or all trainers, depending on which version you choose – it also gives you access to Gen 6 EXP share, making it much easier to level up your team.

If it’s getting too hard, just grind a tiny bit, and your whole team will benefit.


4. Pokémon Polished Crystal

Pokémon Polished Crystal ROM Hack Screenshot

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In the same vein as Pokémon Red++ comes Polished Crystal, which aims to do the same for the second generation of games.

This Pokémon Crystal improvement keeps the same story and setting but updates everything to match Gen 6. Pokémon have natures, TMs are reusable, and you’ll gain experience from catching ‘mons.

The game also replaces some lackluster Pokémon like Spearow and Skiploom for newer critters like Togekiss, Weavile, and all the new Eeveelutions.

If you eventually stop feeling like a beginner and want a bigger challenge, make sure to check out its built-in nuzlocke mode.


3. Pokémon Crystal Clear

Pokémon Crystal Clear ROM Hack Screenshot

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Another Pokémon Crystal hack you can’t skip as a beginner is Pokémon Crystal Clear.

This transforms the classic Gen 2 adventure into an open-world experience.

You get to pick your character’s gender, customize them to fit your tastes, and even choose where in Johto or Kanto you want to start your adventure. Once you hit the ground, nothing stops you from walking to the other end of the map if that’s what you want.

Without the pressure of beating gyms to move forward, you can take your time to craft a perfect team and explore Kanto and Johto at your leisure.

And when you do decide to tackle the Pokémon League, you’ll be ready for it.


2. Pokémon Gaia

Pokémon Gaia ROM Hack Screenshot

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A lot of ROM hack enthusiasts feel disappointed when a great-looking title doesn’t challenge them enough.

On the other hand, it’s a pleasure to be able to recommend these hacks to beginners.

Pokémon Gaia is one of those hacks that focus on making the game fun and exciting rather than turning the entire game into Victory Road.

It takes place in the Orbtus region, filled with hidden caves and secret temples left behind by an ancient civilization.

It has a great story and a broad selection of Pokémon from the first five generations.

This FireRed hack truly has excellent balance throughout.

It almost feels like an official game – and might even be better in some respects.


1. Pokémon Dreams

Pokémon Dreams ROM Hack Screenshot

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I’m giving the top spot to a FireRed hack that doesn’t get talked about enough.

Pokémon Dreams has you play as a mysterious traveling trainer who’s just arrived in the region of Solda to tackle the local Pokémon League and lend a hand against any baddies operating in the area.

To achieve this, you’ll get access to every single Pokémon up to Gen 7, along with 35 top-quality Fakemon for a total of 844 critters.

And this hack uses the Complete FireRed Upgrade as a base, meaning it features Gen 6 EXP Share, reusable TMs, Dexnav, and a long list of QoL improvements to make your adventure extra smooth.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.