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Best Unofficial Pokémon Fan Games & ROM Hacks


For fans looking for an experience with new creatures, a better story or a harder difficulty, these unofficial Pokémon games are worth checking out.

Fans looking for a new, mainline-style Pokémon experience don’t have to wait until the Diamond and Pearl remakes release later this year. Unofficial Pokémon games are plentifully available to download and play, many offering harder difficulties, new Pokémon and much more.

Some of these unofficial games are altered versions of older titles called ROM hacks, each of which keeps the mechanics and graphical style of a certain Pokémon generation and adds in new elements. Others are completely new experiences, letting players explore fan-made regions and encounter brand-new Pokémon.

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Unofficial Pokémon games have long been popular, and many have tried their hands at creating something special with the formula Game Freak established. Below are some of the best currently available.

Best Unofficial Pokémon Video Games: Radical Red

Best Unofficial Pokemon Fan Games Rom Hacks Radical Red

Pokémon Radical Red is ROM hack of FireRed with a modern twist. It has the same story and mechanics as FireRed, but it includes every Pokémon – even those added in Pokémon Sword and Shield. However, a big part of what makes Radical Red popular is its difficulty.

Recent Pokémon games have been mostly geared toward younger gamers, and their difficulty levels mirror those sensibilities. Radical Red turns this on its head, pitting players against revamped AI that tests their battling skills with each trainer sighting. AI trainers can predict players’ switches and implement strategies pro players might use, and Gym Leaders have revamped teams that make even the weakest of them a challenge.

Pokémon Radical Red also incorporates a level cap to prevent players from over-leveling, as well as modern mechanics such as Mega Evolution and even Raid Battles from Sword and Shield. Additionally, there are no new Pokémon designs in the hack, making it great for purist who only want to play with Game Freak’s official creatures. All of these improvements make Radical Red the best Pokémon ROM hack.

Best Unofficial Pokémon Video Games: Insurgence

Best Unofficial Pokemon Fan Games Rom Hacks Insurgence

Fans looking for an unofficial Pokémon game with a more mature story will want to try Pokémon Insurgence. This fan-made game was built from the ground up using Generation 5-like graphics and takes place in the brand-new region of Torren.

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The story of Pokémon Insurgence incorporates cults, Mythical Pokémon and new species called Delta Pokémon. Delta Pokémon are this Torren’s regional forms, changing a Pokémon’s typing to something completely different. Insurgence also adds new Mega Evolutions (Flygon fans, rejoice) and extensive postgame content to keep players engaged after the story ends.

Best Unofficial Pokémon Video Games: Xenoverse

Best Unofficial Pokemon Fan Games Rom Hacks Xenoverse

Xenoverse is another fan-made game that takes place in a different region with a lengthy story. Insurgence used Pokémon from Gens 1 through 6 and gave them different forms and typings, and Xenoverse does the same, but it also has completely new Pokémon to discover.

Xenoverse tests players’ abilities with a Hard difficulty setting and the inclusion of the brand-new Sound typing. Pokémon fans will need to adapt quickly to learn how this new typing interacts with the others as they make their way through the new region.

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