Best Pokémon ROM Hacks & Fan Games With New Regions

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Whenever a new Pokémon game looms on the horizon, fans start excitedly discussing new Pokémon, characters, and gameplay mechanics.


I’m in it for the exploration.

I was born too late to explore the Earth and too early to conquer space, but I can live out my dreams of discovery in Pokémon. Whether it’s reaching the highest peak, visiting the biggest city, or uncovering a secret underwater passage – I’ll savor every moment.

Still, there are only so many official Pokémon games.

Some of the most creative places to discover in the world of Pokémon exist outside Game Freak’s boundaries.

I’m talking about ROM hacks that take place in new custom-made regions. Let’s take a look!


15. Pokémon Clover

Pokémon Clover ROM Hack Screenshot

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The edgier adventurers among you might be willing to tackle Pokémon Clover – a FireRed ROM hack created by the Pokémon-centric /vp/ board of the infamous 4chan imageboard.

Clover takes you on a wacky adventure through the Fochun and Ebin regions, where a whopping 386 original Fakemon roam the land terrorizing snowflakes and preying on the easily offended.

If you take the time, you’ll discover countless secrets and exciting side-quests.

You’ll also fall in love with the game as you listen to its catchy soundtrack and laugh at the outrageous writing.


14. Pokémon Blazed Glazed

Pokémon Blazed Glazed Tunod Region ROM Hack

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Pokémon Blazed Glazed is an updated version of the fantastic Pokémon Glazed, introducing new moves while also rebalancing the game for a smoother learning curve.

Both games take place in the Tunod region.

Yes, the region’s name is “donuT” written backward.

It’s memorable, even if it doesn’t make much sense.

Some of my favorite landmarks are the Haunted Isle, housing Giratina, and Darkwood Town – which is reached by diving and following a secret passage, like Sootopolis in the original Pokémon Emerald.

In addition to Tunod, you’ll get a chance to visit a re-modeled Johto, which has been cut off from Kanto after the eruption of Mt. Silver.


13. Pokémon Light Platinum

Pokémon Light Platinum Lauren Region ROM Hack

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Pokémon Light Platinum is one of the most highly-regarded gen 3 ROM hacks, and the sheer amount of content to discover is a significant reason.

It’s an extensive game with tons of detailed cities, routes, caves, and landmarks where you’ll find Pokémon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova.

First, you’ll go around Zhery collecting its eight badges to challenge and beat the Elite Four.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll gain access to Lauren – a region to the west with its own Pokémon League to conquer.

If you’re looking for a well-rounded ROM hack with a good story, challenging gameplay, and lots of places to discover, Light Platinum is the way to go.


12. Pokémon Sienna

Pokémon Sienna Voultan Region ROM Hack

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You might be more a fan of decision-based storytelling where your actions can shape the outcome of the story.

If so, make sure to check out Pokémon Sienna.

This Pokémon FireRed hack takes place in the gorgeous region of Voultan – full of rugged but lush terrain inhabited by all sorts of Pokémon from gens 1 through 4, along with wonderful Fakemon.

The problem?

A new team of criminals is on the rise, threatening the peace and prosperity of the region. It’s up to you whether to stop them or join them in bringing chaos to Voultan.


11. Pokémon Brown (2014)

Pokémon Brown Rijon Region ROM Hack

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Next up, we have one of the most influential Pokémon Red ROM hacks ever:

Pokémon Brown, taking place in the region of Rijon.

Rijon is rich in natural resources, and the people are keen on exploiting them.

The process of industrialization changed the environment of Rijon forever, giving rise to all-new Pokémon types like Gas, Sound, Wood, Wind, and Abnormal.

Of course, there are tons of Fakemon belonging to these new types here too.

The original Pokémon Brown was one of the first large-scale hacks that dared to change stuff beyond some sprites and color palettes here and there.

And it remains one of the best.


10. Pokémon Prism

Pokémon Prism Naljo Region Map / ROM Hack Screenshot

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Just west of Rijon you’ll find the prosperous region of Naljo, which you can explore at length in Pokémon Prism.

Like Rijon, Naljo is full of natural resources – and the powers that be are hell-bent on massive industrialization.

Change is on the horizon, and you’re here just in time to make a difference.

This Pokémon Crystal ROM hack is the direct sequel to Pokémon Brown. And it supports transferring critters between both versions.

You can also visit Rijon and Johto once you’re done conquering Naljo.

Naljo houses Pokémon from generations 1 through 4, Sylveon (to complete the eeveelution set), and 25+ Fakemon you’ll only find in Pokémon Prism.


9. Pokémon Dreams

Pokémon Dreams Solda Region ROM Hack

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Pokémon Dreams is one of the most recently completed FireRed ROM hacks, and it has quickly made a name for itself thanks to solid storytelling and great characters.

But what sets Pokémon Dreams apart for me is the focus on world-building.

The Solda region isn’t so charming at first glance.

But every route, cave, and town is sprinkled with bits and pieces of lore and contextual storytelling that add a lot to the experience.

The game features most Pokémon up to gen 7, along with 35 Fakemon that bump the total up to a whopping 844.


8. Pokémon Orange Islands

Pokémon Orange Islands ROM Hack

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As an all-time fan of the Pokémon anime, I love Pokémon Orange Islands – a FireRed ROM hack that lets you explore the Orange Archipelago just like Ash does in the series.

In fact, the game has you play as Ash through the events of the anime, which are gorgeously recreated in FireRed’s engine with custom-made sprites and fantastic scripted events.

Team Rocket’s introduction is a prime example – and a definite highlight of my time in the Orange Islands.

Technically, the Orange Islands aren’t “new”.

But they’ve never been explored in an official Pokémon game – even though the Sevii Islands are essentially the same thing.

While the game sticks to the original 151 Pokémon for authenticity, it does feature the Physical/Special/Status split and an updated type chart.


7. Pokémon Gaia

Pokémon Gaia Orbtus Region ROM Hack

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I’m one of those kids who grew up watching historical documentaries on The History Channel and Discovery Channel.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll love Pokémon Gaia’s Orbtus region – a place littered with echoes of the past in the form of ruins and ancient artifacts belonging to a long-gone advanced civilization.

Other than invaluable historical sites, the Orbtus region is home to Pokémon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos.

This FireRed hack features most modern commodities found in recent games and updated moves/stats matching Pokémon AlphaSapphire and OmeraRuby.

There’s even Mega Evolutions!


6. Pokémon Reborn

Pokémon Reborn Fangame Screenshot

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The regions we visit in Pokémon games always seem to be in some sort of Golden Age.

No matter where you go, you’ll hardly see anything but smiling faces.

Pokémon Reborn takes us to a very different region – one that’s been in decline for longer than its populace can remember.

Anywhere you look, there are ruins, waste, poverty, and crime.

Will you be the one to set things straight?

Despite its decaying state, the Reborn region has great biodiversity.

You’ll have access to 21 starters and almost all Pokémon up to gen 7.


5. Pokémon Rejuvenation

Pokémon Rejuvenation Aevium Region ROM Hack

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After the great success of Pokémon Reborn, the development team parted with the doom and gloom in favor of something more optimistic.

Pokémon Rejuvenation takes place in Aevium – a region brought back from the ashes after a natural disaster with the sweat and tears of Pokémon and people working toward a common cause.

Now you’ll travel this gorgeous region’s diverse environments collecting 18 badges and fighting Team Xen’s nefarious plan to plunge it back into chaos.

Much like Reborn, this fan game features a visual style similar to gen 3 while including Pokémon up to gen 7.


4. Pokémon Uranium

Pokémon Uranium Tandor Region ROM Hack

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Pokémon Uranium’s Tandor is one of the most geologically diverse regions I’ve ever visited in a Pokémon fan game.

The mainland of West Tandor covers a massive mountain range, thick rainforests, and lots of developed cities. Meanwhile, East Tandor consists of an archipelago of tiny inter-dependent islands.

Contrasting locales like tropical beaches and snowy mountain villages lie within arm’s reach of the major urban areas.

The region has everything from massive waterfalls deep within the jungle to damp coastal cave systems inhabited by a healthy mix of Fakemon and hand-picked official Pokémon from all gens.


3. Pokémon Insurgence

Pokémon Insurgence Torren Region ROM Hack

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Players looking for a more mature experience than the usual Game Freak fare should check out Pokémon Insurgence – a fan game with a dark and gritty style and tons of creativity.

It takes place in the Torren region, where different religious cults wrestle control of power and influence.

You’ll begin your adventure in the small town of Telnor, where you’ll get your first Pokémon after escaping a Darkrai-worshipping cult.

Get used to it because Torren is full of cultist psychos.

But it’s not all that bad.

Torren is also home to all-new Delta Pokémon, and people actually put armor on their pocket monster friends here.


2. Pokémon Saffron

Pokémon Saffron Azira Region ROM Hack

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Welcome to Azira – a region known for its warm people and outstanding bio-diversity.

The start of your Pokémon journey coincides with a region-wide event known as the Great Migration, when many of the world’s major Pokémon migration routes coincide over Azira.

To reflect this, the Aziran Pokédex includes every Pokémon up to gen 8, including all of their regional forms.

There are also Mega Evolutions and Gigantamax here too.

With tons of mini-games, updated mechanics, and renewed graphics, this is one of the most ambitious Emerald ROM hacks ever made.


1. Pokémon Phoenix Rising

Pokémon Phoenix Rising Hawthorne Region ROM hack

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Even though most people never think about it, Pokémon is a JRPG – so what if it had a more “traditional” JRPG story?

Phoenix Rising occurs in the Hawthorne region, a nation ravaged by civil war between the Council of the Oracles and a self-appointed “King” who wishes to overthrow their rule by force.

The Hawthorne region shines for being the only one where you can actually go to school.

Trinita University is a world-renowned education establishment and your new base of operations.

Something else you’ll only find in Hawthorne is Relic Pokémon – a new kind of pocket monster that’s basically Phoenix Rising’s version of regional varieties.

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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.