Pokémon ROM hacks come in various shapes and forms. Some games choose to increase the difficulty, while others choose to create entire Pokédexes of new “Fakemon.” Regardless, one thing about Pokémon ROM hacks is for certain.
Nearly all of them are based on Pokémon Fire Red!
Pokémon games have been criticized over the years due to the easy difficulty, removal of Pokémon, and poor quality graphics. Thankfully, the Pokémon community is not one to let their beloved games go down in infamy! Months, years, sometimes even decades are dedicated to producing these Pokémon ROM hacks and, today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best of them!
To play these Pokémon ROM hacks you will need an emulator to open the ROM on either a PC, Mac, or mobile device.
So, without further ado, let’s check out some of the best Pokémon ROM hacks of all time!
40. Digimon Nova Red
Let’s kick things off with a Pokémon ROM hack that is blatantly NOT a Pokémon ROM hack! Digimon Nova Red is a hack of Fire Red in which the entire Pokédex has been replaced with Digimon!
Long has the war raged as to which franchise is better, but now, you can experience the best of both worlds! Not much is done to enhance storylines of gameplay elements here. However, the difficulty has increased drastically, and it’s exciting to see all the new inclusions added to the Digidex!
39. Pokémon Radical Red
Pokémon Radical Red, at its core, is a difficult hack. However, there are noticeable improvements that net at least a single playthrough throughout the game.
Nearly all Pokémon are available to catch, several quality of life features from modern-day games have been implemented, and buffs have been added to make all Pokémon viable! Because of this, no matter your preferred playstyle or preferred Pokémon, you can have a fun time!
38. Pokémon Pink
There isn’t much to say about Pokémon Pink. However, it is interesting enough that we still think it deserves a playthrough.
In this Pokémon ROM hack of Blue, you can play through the original Kanto game as Kris from Pokémon Crystal. The starter Pokémon are also replaced with Jigglypuff, Vulpix, and Pikachu, providing more variety and keeping with the cute aesthetic of Pokémon Pink!
37. Pokémon Battle Arena / Pokémon Crater
Crater isn’t exactly a ROM hack, but the legacy it left behind cannot be overlooked. This browser MMO inspired many future Pokémon MMOs thanks to its intriguing concept and unique features.
Crater featured standard MMO elements and unique Pokémon forms to keep things interesting! Pokémon Battle Arena is the game’s spiritual successor.
36. Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee GBA
Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee GBA is, you guessed it, a Pokémon ROM hack of the original Switch titles.
Utilizing the Fire Red engine, you will journey through the Kanto region with your partner Pokémon by your side. Pikachu has always been a starter Pokémon in Kanto from as early as Pokémon Yellow. However, this time you can be joined by the charming cat Pokémon Eevee from the start of your adventure!
Despite Fire Red and the Let’s Go games being based in the same region, Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee GBA incorporate many modern features found in the updated Switch titles!
35. Pokémon Sword and Shield GBA
However, for those out there that did enjoy Sword and Shield, this GBA ROM hack brings everything you loved about the Switch titles to a handheld! Every Generation VIII Pokémon has been reimagined in the Fire Red style.
Furthermore, both the Crown Tundra and Isle of Armor DLC are available to play through too! It’s incredible how these dedicated developers can take AAA Nintendo Switch titles and repurpose them for outdated consoles. Sword and Shield GBA is worth checking out for that reason alone!
34. Pokémon SkyTemple
Pokémon SkyTemple isn’t inherently a Pokémon ROM hack. However, we felt it deserved inclusion for the possible future Pokémon ROM hacks it may inspire.
SkyTemple allows users to create their own Mystery Dungeon levels, including enemy placements and species, floors, and items! SkyTemple will likely bring us several Pokémon ROM hacks based on the Mystery Dungeon franchise in the near future!
33. Pokémon Stadium Kaizo
Pokémon Stadium Kaizo is an enhanced version of the original N64 titles, meant to ramp up the difficulty exponentially. Like with other Kaizo titles, Pokémon Stadium Kaizo has made this as challenging as possible.
Examples include improved AI, improved stats, improved moves, and more! Luckily, the game has also buffed the rental Pokémon to give players a fighting chance!
32. Pokémon Adventures Red
For those unaware, the Pokémon manga has been a hidden gem usually overlooked by fans of the game or the anime. The manga has a lot of stark differences, including the partner Clefairy and several new characters.
Pokémon Adventure Red follows the journey of Red through the events experienced in the Pokémon Adventure manga (featuring scenes and battles taken directly from the source material)! This hack of Fire Red is a love letter to any fans of the original Pokémon manga.
31. Pokémon Fire Ash
Pokémon Fire Ash is a ROM hack that allows you to play as the titular anime protagonist, Ash Ketchum. Other Pokémon ROM hacks, like Ash Gray, allow you to experience a similar adventure in Ash’s shoes.
However, Fire Ash allows you to journey all the way from Kanto to Alola with your trusty Pikachu by your side! With more than 50 gyms to battle through and 800 Pokémon to fight, Fire Ash is a game that truly allows you to play through the entirety of the Pokémon anime.
30. Pokémon Clover
Continuing on our journey through unique Pokémon ROM hacks, Pokémon Clover is one of the most politically incorrect Pokémon ROM hacks of all time. This game’s jokes and references would land it with a much higher age rating than the average “3+” given to most mainline titles.
With over 386 newly designed Pokémon and dialogue that will keep you laughing or greatly offend you, this is a Pokémon ROM hack you’ll either love or hate!
29. Pokémon Snakewood
Pokémon Snakewood is the ROM hack for you if you enjoy horror games! In this Ruby hack, you will play through a zombie apocalypse several years after the events of the original GEN III games.
Starter Pokémon here include Paras, Koffing, and Baltoy, all lending themselves to the aesthetic of death and decay. Enemy trainers are called “ghosts,” and zombified Fakemon can also be caught!
28. Pokémon Rising Sun and Waning moon
Pokémon Rising Sun and Waning Moon are Pokémon ROM hacks of the original Generation VII games.
The game is a more challenging version of the original games, like Blaze Black, Volt White, and Renegade Platinum.
Trial Captains and Kahunas now have a full of six Pokémon each, Pokémon have access to hidden abilities, and the level curve has been dramatically changed. You can find many more changes in these Pokémon ROM hacks, so check them out for yourself!
27. Pokémon Little Cup Red
Little Cup Red is one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks, if not the only Pokémon ROM hack, for fans of the Little Cup! The Little Cup is a competitive tournament ruleset that strictly prohibits the use of fully evolved Pokémon or powerful single-form Pokémon.
When it comes to competitive battling, the Little Cup is supposed to be a casual way to make the game more interesting.
However, what if these restrictions permeated through an entire main series playthrough?! Little Cup Red reduces every Pokémon to its “infant” or “baby” form, forcing players to try new and unique strategies to turn the tide of battle!
26. Pokémon XG (Next Gen)
Most Pokémon ROM hacks seek to remake or reimagine the handheld titles. After all, these are the games that have been out the longest and are the easiest to access through emulation.
However, Pokémon XG decided to take a different route and create one of the only, if not the only, ROM hack of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.
Updated features for this ROM hack include:
- Physical/Special split
- Gen VII type matchup including Fairy type
- New Shadow Pokémon
- New Wild Pokémon
- More challenging opponents
These are but some of the additions added to Pokémon Next Gen, and we highly recommend checking it out to see the complete list of changes!
25. Pokémon Blaze Black and Volt White 2
If you loved what Pokémon Renegade Platinum did for the original title, Blaze Black and Volt White aim to do the same thing with the Generation V games!
Blaze Black and Volt White incorporate updated quality of life features, more challenging battles, and improved gym battles, bringing things up to a modern standard.
Blaze Black and Volt White 2 are sequels to the original BB and VW games that are just as excellent as their predecessors.
All 659 Pokémon are available to capture, and the trainers have had their rosters changed to make things much more formidable. Check out both these titles for a challenging Pokémon experience.
24. Pokémon Unbound
Unbound is one of the more recent Pokémon ROM hacks but is making a name for itself as a title to look out for. Pokémon Unbound is a hack of Fire Red that incorporates new areas, side quests, and modern conveniences. Z moves, Mega Evolution, and more are all fully available here.
Furthermore, Unbound features a ton of post-game content for those who can’t get enough of the title! We recommend Nuzlocking your way through this title for the ultimate experience!
23. Pokémon Polished Crystal
Polished Crystal features Kris in this charming ROM hack of Pokémon Crystal. Pokémon Crystal is widely thought of as the pinnacle of Generation II and introduced many exciting features such as a female playable character and Pokémon sprite animations.
This ROM hack improves nearly everything about the base game, including more Pokémon to catch, improved quality of life features, and new “Eeveelutions!”
22. Pokémon Reborn
Pokémon Reborn offers a vastly different experience than other Pokémon ROM hacks. While other Pokémon ROM hacks like Flora Sky have moments of levity, everything about Pokémon Reborn feels dark and sinister.
The music is a strict departure from previous Pokémon ROM hacks, with tunes that range from eerily spooky to downright terrifying! GlitchxCity really knows how to create a post-apocalyptic atmosphere through music alone!
In Pokémon Reborn, crime is around every corner. Society has collapsed, and only you can restore peace to the land. There are a lot of strategies to be learned here concerning the AI and the unique Field Effects (a new mechanic added to the game).
21. Pokémon Rejuvenation
After the success of Pokémon Reborn, Pokémon Rejuvenation was born to add even more excitement to the world of Pokémon ROM hacks.
In this game, you will experience life after a natural disaster destroys most of a local town. Having to rebuild and help people get back on their feet, you must also defend the townsfolk from Team Xen’s criminal organization.
Pokémon Rejuvenation has such a unique premise, which warrants checking it out. However, there is also a lot to do in the game and a full Pokédex of Pokémon up to Generation VII to do it with!
20. Pokémon Prism
Pokémon Prism is the sequel to Pokémon Brown. Because of this, you already know the level of quality you’ll be getting with this Pokémon ROM hack.
Continuing after the events of Pokémon Brown, you will experience a new playthrough in the Naljo region. However, much like the original Gold and Silver titles, this Generation 2 ROM hack will allow you to return to the previous Generation’s region as well!
In Gold and Silver, the level curve was far too skewed, making it trivial to storm through the first set of gym battles. The Naljo region is much larger than the Johto region featuring over 250 Pokémon to collect (along with the new types added into Pokémon Brown)!
Additionally, certain areas throughout Pokémon Prism can only be explored by Pokémon. Because of this, you will take direct control of your party members (ala, Mystery Dungeon) to solve several puzzles!
19. Pokémon Flora Sky
Pokémon begin fighting, it is your job to join Shaymin on an adventure to save the world. Pokémon Flora Sky gives exclusive in-game events to Pokémon yet to play a vital role in a mainline story like Mew. Rest assured, several recognizable legendaries like Rayquaza and Kyogre are also featured heavily.
Additionally, Flora Sky has over 380 Pokémon for you to capture. While the main elements of the Pokémon franchise remain, new minigames, moves, items, and characters are introduced to keep things fresh! The story is easily digestible and a fun ride for those looking to enjoy one of the more casual Pokémon ROM hacks.
18. Pokémon Dark Rising
Pokémon Dark Rising is one of the most narrative-driven Pokémon ROM hacks ever made. The game is broken up into several titles, including Dark Rising, Dark Rising 2, and Dark Rising: Order Destroyed.
Utilizing dreams into the game’s narrative is an excellent choice and including Dream World abilities only adds to the overall aesthetic.
While Dark Rising doesn’t stray too far from the Pokémon formula, it incorporates modern gameplay elements into older games wrapped up in an expertly written story!
17. Pokémon Glazed
As children growing up playing Pokémon, we all wished that Pokémon would magically find their way into our mundane world one day.
Pokémon Glazed makes this concept a reality featuring a storyline based around the Pokémon world and our world colliding with one another.
However, this novelty soon wears off as the impending threat of a dimensional catastrophe looms on the horizon. Journey across the Rankor region featuring Pokémon from several different generations to halt the forthcoming disaster!
16. Pokémon Blazed Glazed
Did you enjoy Pokémon Glazed? Then, do we have good news for you! Blazed Glazed is a diverging path from the original Glazed featuring new moves, new trainer teams, and two new “Eeveelutions!”
Both Blazed Glazed and the original Glazed are still receiving updates, so check out both of these Pokémon ROM hacks for the full experience.
15. Pokémon Revolution Online
Pokémon Revolution Online has had so much time and care put into it. Everything about the illustrious MMO screams “passion project!” There is never a dull moment amongst friends with four regions to explore in one of the best MMO Pokémon ROM hacks available!
While the core Pokémon mechanics of battling and trading are present here, there are countless minigames and other things to do during downtime! The game is entirely free-to-play, and we recommend checking it out at your earliest convenience!
14. Pokémon Phoenix Rising
Pokémon Phoenix Rising is another entry into the genre of narrative-drive Pokémon ROM hacks.
It too features a branching path that varies depending on the actions taken by the player. Releasing episodically, Phoenix Rising has only unveiled Episode One as of now. However, we are looking forward to more of what the Hawthorne Region has in store for us.
Additionally, several updated forms of old Pokémon are included in Phoenix Rising, such as Mega Arcanine, Ho-Oh Arisen, Mega Flygon, and Relic Tyranitar! Keep your eyes peeled for new updates to one of the most varied Pokémon ROM hacks!
13. Pokémon GS Chronicles
Pokémon GS Chronicles is highly regarded as one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks on the internet! Generation II is a fan favorite among Pokémon veterans due to the nostalgia surrounding the Gold and Silver titles and the fact that it is essentially two games in one!
After defeating the Elite Four of the Johto region, you can experience an entirely new adventure in Kanto!
GS Chronicles adds even more content to the Gold and Silver games, including more Pokémon and Mega Evolutions, while removing outdated concepts like HMs. The game is continuously updated to fix bugs but also add new content. If you’re a fan of Generation II Pokémon games, GS Chronicles is the ROM hack for you!
12. Pokémon Showdown
Less of a ROM hack and more of a fan game, Pokémon Showdown is a browser-based battle simulator. Pokémon Showdown is the largest online Pokémon community, with millions of players constantly battling.
The appeal of Pokémon Showdown comes from its efficiency compared to the mainline games. Players must breed for perfect IVs, hidden abilities, egg moves, and more in console titles. Then, grind wild Pokémon to distribute EVs. While simple, this is incredibly tedious.
Pokémon Showdown allows you to not only select any Pokémon you want before adding them to your team but freely allocate EVs, IVs, and natures to anyone in your party! Furthermore, most standard competitive rulesets are playable in Pokémon Showdown, from the Little Cup to Ubers and even Anything Goes!
Pokémon Showdown is a competitive player’s haven. However, casual players can also enjoy the browser game thanks to the inclusion of random battles! Here, players will be matched up with opponents and given a team of six random Pokémon! In conclusion, Pokémon Showdown alleviates most of the tedium when it comes to competitive battling, and we are very thankful for its existence.
11. Pokémon Brown
One of the oldest Pokémon ROM hacks, Pokémon Brown takes place in the industrialized Rijon region. Here, players can interact with various new types, including Sound, Wood, Wind, Gas, and Abnormal. Furthermore, there are over twenty new routes to explore as you journey through an updated version of Pokémon Red and Blue’s Kanto region.
On top of the original 151 Pokémon found in Kanto, 73 new Pokémon can be caught and added to your team. Pokémon Brown is not as grandiose as some other Pokémon ROM hacks on this list. However, its mission was to add more content to the Generation I masterpieces, and it succeeded in doing this expertly.
10. Pokémon Uranium
While some Pokémon ROM hacks focus more on the story instead while repurposing the existing Pokémon creatures, Pokémon Uranium has a new cast of creatures to join you on your journey!
Having been in development for nine years, Pokémon Uranium caught the attention of Nintendo, who made moves to erase it from the internet.
However, it is nearly impossible to erase something from the internet. Despite being much more challenging to get ahold of, Pokémon Uranium can still be played by those dedicated enough to search for it.
The game itself is relatively standard. Players will travel through the Tandor Region collecting badges before taking on the Elite Four. However, while the game is rather linear, thanks to the long development of this title, it is one of the most polished and complete Pokémon ROM hacks out there!
9. Pokémon Godra
Pokémon games have always been relatively linear in design. The player’s primary goal is to defeat the eight gym leaders before defeating the Elite Four and finally taking on the Champion.
The original Pokémon games had a little more variety in that, during the middle portion of the game, you could decide which gym to take on out of three choices. However, this has fallen by the wayside in recent memory.
Pokémon Godra delivers a vast story with multiple paths to follow and various playstyles to choose from. While, in most Pokémon games, you play as a child adventurer, in Pokémon Godra, you can enlist in the army, become a member of the Elite Four, or try your hand at Pokémon breeding! Moreover, you have a total of 128 starter Pokémon to choose from!
Your decisions in Pokémon Godra will directly affect the storyline you experience. Pokémon Godra cranks up the “RPG” classification of Pokémon games to eleven, making it one of the most free-roaming Pokémon ROM hacks of all time.
PokéMMO is, as the name would suggest, a Pokémon MMO in which you can travel through various regions and interact with real people in the game world! Live PVP allows you to battle fellow trainers you come across, and large degrees of customization for your player character is also available.
Furthermore, the game receives regular updates with brand new features added all the time! If you enjoy a more communal experience, PokéMMO is one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks for community gaming!
7. Pokémon Light Platinum
Utilizing the engine of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Pokémon Light Platinum is one of the broadest Pokémon ROM hacks you will play through! In this game, similar to the original Gold and Silver versions, you will travel across two regions, Zhery and Lauren. Accompanying you on your journey will be Pokémon from Kanto to Unova!
Furthermore, Light Platinum allows travel between different dimensions to catch every available legendary Pokémon!
Gyms and rival battles have been given a significant overhaul in this game, but you are sure to see some familiar faces. Round off your journey with the grandiose final event known as the Pokémon World Championship, and you have one of the most memorable Pokémon ROM hacks ever created!
6. Pokémon Gaia
Pokémon Gaia is a hack of Fire Red that introduces Pokémon from multiple regions, including Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos! All of the newer Pokémon have been given updated illustrations or texture tweaks to help them better acclimate to the Fire Red style!
Furthermore, despite being a Fire Red ROM hack, Pokémon Gaia includes modern abilities and Mega Evolutions! Journey through rocky mountains and underwater caverns on your Pokémon Gaia journey!
5. Pokémon Black
Not to be confused with the official mainline Pokémon Black title, Pokémon Black is a Gen I ROM hack that gained a lot of attention due to the surrounding creepypasta accompanying it. As the tale goes, a young gamer acquired this bootleg copy of Pokémon Red from a garage sale.
While playing through the game, the player would use their “Ghost” Pokémon to curse opponents, with the implication being that each Pokémon defeated died in battle.
The game itself was recreated after the creepypasta became popular and because the surrounding “Lavender Town” theme syndrome meme was also popular at the time. For those looking to play through one of the spookiest Pokémon ROM hacks of all time, Pokémon Black has got you covered.
4. Pokémon Orange
The Orange Islands was a great season of episodes in the Pokémon anime. We explored several new locations and were introduced to some new characters (namely, Tracy). However, we, unfortunately, never received an Orange Islands game.
Thankfully, Pokémon Orange is set in the Orange Archipelago and details the player’s—a child from Valencia City—journey. Playing through one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks of Pokémon Crystal, you will venture through the Orange Islands on your quest to deliver the mysterious GS Ball to Professor Samson Oak!
3. Pokémon Emerald Kaizo
A common complaint of Pokémon games nowadays is that they are far too easy. However, we would argue that Pokémon games have always been easy, but they only seemed difficult because we were children! Sure, beating some of the super bosses such as Red or Steven is tricky to this day. However, making one’s way through the base storyline is as straightforward now as it has always been (especially for Pokémon veterans).
“Kaizo” is a term used to define “ultra-hard” versions of original games. Pokémon Emerald Kaizo has stronger opponents, more tactical trainers, and more encounters with Team Aqua and Magma! Emerald Kaizo is one of the hardest Pokémon ROM hacks of all time that even veterans will struggle to complete. However, if you breeze through Emerald Kaizo without a second thought, we have only one thing to say to you… Try Nuzlocking it!
2. Pokémon TRE (Team Rocket Edition)
Do you remember when you reached the end of the Nugget Bridge in Pokémon Red and Blue? After doing so, the Team Rocket Grunt asked you if you wanted to join their gang. Naturally, all of us children pressed “yes” in an instant! However, unfortunately, this action sends you into an infinite loop until you refuse his generous offer.
Thankfully, Pokémon Team Rocket Edition is one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks for those who want to embrace their villainous side! You will lie, cheat, and steal your way to the top in this game! Playing through the game as a member of Team Rocket, you will uncover interesting information about the criminal organization you would otherwise never have been privy to. Furthermore, you’ll interact with recognizable characters from an alternative perspective. If you think you could do a better job than Jessie and James, give one of the evilest Pokémon ROM hacks a try!
1. Renegade (Mogul) Platinum
Pokémon Renegade Platinum is one of the hardest Pokémon ROM hacks out there. The base game isn’t too taxing for those wanting to experience a casual playthrough—however, this is not how the game was designed to be played. This is because Renegade Platinum was built to be Nuzlocked!
Trainers in Renegade Platinum are much tougher, with gym leaders usually having an entire team of Pokémon. Furthermore, each party member comes with a held item and move set with actual thought put behind it! For instance, the first gym leader, Roark, will have a Larvitar with the Guts ability (an ability that boosts damage if the user is inflicted with a status effect) but also holding a Flame Orb!
Fans of the popular Twitch Streamer, Ludwig, can also enjoy an alternate version of Renegade Platinum known as Mogul Platinum. Select battles have been tweaked in this version, and important NPCs are all members of Ludwig’s friend group!
How to Play Pokémon ROM hacks?
Pokémon ROM hacks can be played by first downloading a video game emulator and then downloading the Pokémon ROM you want to play. The emulator can be downloaded to either a mobile, PC, or Mac device. Check out this guide for more details on how to play ROMS in general!
How to Hack Rare Candies Into Pokemon ROMS?
Hacking rare candies into Pokémon ROMS can be done by going to the top of your emulator, clicking the “Cheats” tab and then inputting a Rare Candy cheat. Depending on the type of emulator you are using (GBA, GBC, Gamecube, etc) and the game you are playing, the cheat will vary. You will need to Google for the specific game and emulator you are using to find the specific cheat code.
How to Make a Pokémon ROM Hack 2021?
Making Pokémon ROM hacks is not an easy process. It involves knowledge of scripting, mapping, and more technical skills. Check out this comprehensive guide to get started!
Which Pokémon ROM Hack Has the Most Pokémon?
Pokémon Ultra Shiny Gold has the most Pokémon including Megas and Alolan forms however it is considered to be too buggy to play; therefore Pokémon Unbound has the most Pokémon.