Top 10 Most Unique Pokémon ROM Hacks & Fan Games

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After clearing all the mainline Pokémon titles (some of which you’ve probably played through twice or more), you might start craving a little novelty.

Sure, there are new Pokémon and vast new regions to explore with each installment.

But a franchise as large and profitable can’t really take the kind of risk that could fundamentally change the Pokémon experience.

Luckily for us, tons of skilled fans create their own fan games based on the Pokémon formula or straight-up hack official Pokémon games to take them in a new direction.

If you’re looking for something truly novel and unusual, you’ll find it among this list of truly unique ROM hacks and fan games for Pokémon lovers.


10. Pokémon Adventures Red

Pokémon Adventure Red ROM Hack Screenshot

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There’s nothing quite like the Pokémon anime.

But in Japan, it’s not the only Pokémon story that’s garnered popularity.

The Pokémon Adventure manga started out as a re-telling of Red’s journey after leaving Pallet Town in the original games but has since grown into its own thing.

Pokémon Adventure Red is a FireRed ROM hack that recreates the events of this popular manga in game form.

That’s right, it’s a game based on a manga that was based on a game!

It features several playable characters with customizable outfits, overhauled visuals, and many QoL improvements that make Pokémon Adventure Red so good, it’s hard to believe.


9. Pokémon Godra: Remastered

Pokémon Godra: Remastered Screenshot

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Pokémon Godra is one of the most ambitious Pokémon fan games, aiming to change the flow of a regular Pokémon journey into a multi-path choose-your-own-adventure experience.

In other words, it’s The Elder Scrolls: Pokémon.

In this game, your adventure is shaped by the jobs you take on.

You can join the military, become a Safari Zone warden, or even train to join the Elite IV someday.

You also get to pick a starter out of 216 options – one of the larger rosters for sure.

It recently got a “Remastered” update that upgraded the graphics to look like Pokémon Diamond & Pearl along with fixing a ton of bugs found since the last release, so it’s the best time to jump in.


8. Pokémon FireRed: Rocket Edition

Pokémon FireRed: Rocket Edition Screenshot

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Let’s face it:

Whether it was an accident, a test of the game’s rules, or a genuine attempt at stealing, we’ve all tried to throw a Pokéball at a weakened trainer Pokémon.

Of course, no trainer would let you do something so crass – so they block the Pokéball, and that’s that.

But what if you could actually steal Pokémon?

Pokémon FireRed: Rocket Edition lets you do just that as a member of Team Rocket, going on your own dark Pokémon adventure in parallel to Red’s.

Not only will you steal tons of critters, but you’ll find out just how corrupt the Kanto region is.


7. Pokémon CAWPS

Pokémon CAWPS ROM Hack Screenshot

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If you’d rather fight to protect the peace rather than join a criminal organization, Pokémon CAWPS is the game for you.

This unusual FireRed ROM hack follows a young man or woman on their quest to become the best Pokémon police officer Hoenn has ever seen.

As you can guess from the author’s other projects – Pokémon Outlaw and Pokémon Korosu – this hack is not for the faint of heart.

It’s not quite as profane as Outlaw, but you’ll see some bizarre and disturbing stuff in your time as Hoenn Police.

It would get an M rating from the ESRB for sure.


6. Pokémon 3D

Pokémon 3D Fangame by Nilllzz / Screenshot

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Next up, we’ve got a fantastic fan game that’s a bit like a 3D remake of the GBC classics Pokémon Gold & Silver – complete with all 251 Pokémon to be found throughout Kanto and Johto.

What’s interesting and unique about Pokémon 3D is that it isn’t really 3D – or at least, it isn’t 3D in the way that you’d picture from the name.

Rather than fully 3D models as seen on Pokémon Sword & Shield, this game uses 2D sprites on blocky 3D environments reminiscent of Minecraft.

This approach gives it a unique visual personality, and it preserves the intense nostalgia most of us feel toward Pokémon Gold & Silver while giving us a new perspective.


5. Pokémon Creepy Black

Pokémon Creepy Black ROM Hack / Creepasta Game

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Pokémon Black is a different kind of ROM hack.

Rather than a whole new Pokémon adventure, this game offers a narrative experience based on the widely known Pokémon Black creepypasta – which tells of a haunted cartridge that curses the player.

The events of Pokémon Black occur just as described in the creepypasta, which was enough to send a chill down my spine despite knowing the story beforehand.

If you manage to find someone who’s never heard the horror story and get them to play this, they’ll experience a waking nightmare for a while – and they’ll remember you as a master of the macabre.


4. Pokémon Clover

Pokémon Clover ROM Hack Game Screenshot

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If you’re looking for a truly different kind of monster-catching adventure, I can’t recommend Pokémon Clover enough.

But there’s a catch.

The game was created by some users from /vp/, the 4chan imageboard dedicated to Pokémon.

As such, the game is full of profanity, memes, and all sorts of dark humor that’s not afraid to “cross the line”.

If it takes a bit more than an edgy joke to offend you, then you’ll find a fantastic FireRed ROM hack here that’s made extremely unique by its wacky storyline, Internet culture, and 386 crazy Fakemon.


3. Pokémon Black & Blue

Pokémon Black & Blue PETA Game Preview

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I remember hearing some stuff about PETA not liking Pokémon games as a teenager – but I never expected them to make their own game to show their disapproval.

Pokémon Black & Blue joins the ranks of Super Tofu Boy, Super Tanooki Skin 2D, and the subtly-named Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals.

The game’s combat system and visuals are actually pretty solid, and the story about Pikachu leading the charge to free all Pokémon from human domination is kind of inspiring.

If you somehow like it, make sure to check out the sequel: Pokémon Red, White & Blue.

That’s where Pikachu takes the fight to McDonalds and promotes veganism.


2. MegaMoemon FireRed

MegaMoemon FireRed / Pokemon Moe Anime Version Screenshot

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We’ve all seen many pictures of humanized Pokémon “gijinka” on Twitter, Tumblr, DeviantArt, and other sites where people post their art.

Most fans don’t know that it’s possible to play a Pokémon game where all critters have been replaced by these humanized versions.

Pokémon MegaMoemon Red is a FireRed ROM hack where every Pokémon looks like an adorable anime girl.

The quality of these sprites is surprisingly good, so it’s a fantastic way to re-experience your favorite Pokémon adventures.

And it’s also available for Platinum and HeartGold.


1. Pokémon HarvestCraft

Pokémon HarvestCraft ROM Hack / Planting Apricorn Screenshot

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I can’t get enough of peaceful farming games like Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley.

So when I saw a Pokémon Ruby ROM hack incorporating some farming goodness, I was instantly sold.

Pokémon HarvestCraft gives the player their own farm to grow apricots and ranch critters like Torchic, Skiddo, and Gogoat.

There’s also crafting, cooking, and you can even get married after wooing an eligible bachelor/bachelorette.

But it’s still a Pokémon game at its core.

You can go around challenging shop owners to Pokémon battles for badges – and eventually you’ll fight the powerful ancient Trevenant guarding the local forest.

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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.