With the release of the ninth generation of Pokémon games, like Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, there are quite a few stellar titles available. There have been nine mainline releases, which are often released as two or three different versions, and plenty of remakes. The Pokémon Company also recently delved even further with the release of Pokémon Legends Arceus.
However, these games have now spanned over 25 years. Pokémon Red released in 1996, so the games date very far back. It’s tough to find ways to play Red, X, Soul Silver and other older games.
That’s where ROM hacks come in. Pokémon ROM hacks are altered or totally edited versions of the games, which can lead to infinite possibilities. There are easily accessible but slightly different versions of Pokémon Blue or Emerald as well as totally unique versions of the games that haven’t been considered.
Whatever you’re looking for, the odds are good that something like it is out there. Here are a few examples of the best Pokémon ROM hacks.
Best Pokémon ROM Hacks
Given how prominent the Gameboy was for the Pokémon franchise, there are plenty of good Pokémon GBA ROM hacks.
Pokémon Gaia has got to be one of the most exciting and complex hacks for Pokemon FireRed. You’ll need to battle your way through your favorite regions including Kanto and Johto to save Orbetus. The game features a completely new story, new characters, and new Pokémon, as well as a number of quality-of-life improvements such as reusable TMs and the ability to run indoors. It’s certainly one for those fans of detailed world-building as well as an exciting storyline. If you’re out for something new instead of using any of the Pokémon LeafGreen cheats, this one might just be for you.
Pokémon Blazed Glazed
Pokémon Emerald fans should definitely check out Blazed Glazed as the number 1 Rom hack. New region? Check. New gym leaders? Check. An expanded story? Check. Mega Evolutions are a huge part of the game, which really adds to the experience. However, perhaps the biggest selling point for Blazed Glazed is that you can catch all Pokémon without any trading at all! Blazed Glazed is often cited as one of the best Pokemon rom hacks due to its well-written story and challenging gameplay.
Prism is a highly sought after hack for Pokémon Crystal that takes place in the region of Naljo. This hack expands the number of regions quite significantly and includes Pokémon you couldn’t catch in the base game. The brand new story revolves around the player character trying to stop a criminal organization from taking over the region, it’s an oldie but a goodie. Fans did have to wait a while for this one to be released but it was definitely worth the wait!
Pokémon Dark Rising
FireRed has yet another rom hack available in the form of Pokémon Dark Rising. You can expect a dark storyline and a higher difficulty level than most Pokémon games, which is perfect for fans that have been playing for some time and may be wanting something a little different. It’s worth noting that you won’t be able to use any HMs with this hack but that doesn’t take away from some great gameplay. Check out Dark Rising for the toughest of Pokémon challenges!
Pokémon Light Platinum
We couldn’t leave the Pokémon Ruby rom hacks off our list! Pokémon Light Platinum follows the classic OG Pokémon story of the player character trying to become the best trainer in the world. If you’re a fan of the anime and basically every Pokémon game, you can certainly live out those Pokémon master dreams. There is something a little different about the story though, it’s well written and much more engaging than many of the base games. Being able to use the Master Ball again and again also serves to sweeten the deal a little too!
Pokémon Light Crystal
There are a lot of good rom hacks for Pokémon FireRed out there and Liquid Crystal is another classic option. Liquid Crystal is probably the best recreation of the original games with a little bit of a tweak. Like a lot of the other rom hacks, you can use your TMs again and again but HMs aren’t present at all. As usual, you can find classic quality of life improvements to the original files that will make the game run as smoothly as possible.
Pokémon Flora Sky
If you’re a fan of the Hoenn region, you’ll be able to find a brand new story and new Pokémon in Flora Sky. This game is a rom hack for Pokémon Emerald and with 360 Pokémon ready and waiting to be caught, it has one of the bigger Pokédexes out there. There’s a good sense of progression without having to grind too hard, making it one of the most popular rom hacks out there.
There are plenty more rom hacks out there to check out but this is our list of the creme de la creme of Pokémon rom hacks. Downloading the hacks is pretty simple, most will come in .bps, .xdelta, .ups, or .ips formats and can be found on the rom hacks studio. You’ll need to uncompress any files that come in zip files before they can be installed.
Once your files are downloaded, use a patching tool such as Rom Patcher JS to patch the download files straight into your game from a browser, certainly making them some of the best Pokémon games for PC gamers. That way, you can play any of the rom hacks listed above and all of the others.
Pokémon Team Rocket
Pokémon Team Rocket has to be one of the most fun Pokémon ROM hacks out there. While playing as a protagonist is fun, many have always wondered what it would be like to play as the antagonist. Pokémon Team Rocket answers that question and allows you to try out being the franchise’s most iconic villain. It’s essentially Pokémon Fire Red but in reverse, so it’s an excellent choice.
- The Pokémon GBA hack download can be found here.
- Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire, the Generation III release, was one of the most popular games in the entire franchise. It sold over 16 million copies. Pokémon Light Platinum is a remade ROM hack for that game. Naturally, it’s a very popular Pokémon ROM hack. Download it here.
Many trainers have wondered what it would be like to play a game with a full Pokédex. That isn’t what this ROM hack is, but it does a good job of bringing in a wide variety. Regions Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova and Kalos are all represented in Pokémon Gaia, another ROM of Fire Red. Download it here.
Read also: Pokémon NFTs – How to Get Involved
More entries added to Pokémon ROM Hacks 2023
Pokémon Glazed is in essence a mystery game. Most Pokémon franchise releases have some central mystery to solve, but this version leans into that fully. This game does a good job with Pokémon variety, too. Find it here.
For a game very similar to an actual Pokémon release, try out Pokémon Dark Rising. It has a complex and interesting storyline and mirrors the main games well. There are gyms to fight, bad guys to take down and puzzles to solve. You can download it here.
Pokémon Prism is a longtime ROM hack that much of the community has tried out. There’s a reason it’s so popular- it is of the utmost quality. This Pokémon GBA ROM hack allows trainers to accidentally uncover a brand new region, which is perhaps the dream of every young trainer. Download this excellent ROM hack for Pokémon here.
Pokémon GBA Hacks
This franchise has always been a bit of an RPG game, but one ROM hack in particular emphasizes that genre.
Pokémon Omega Paradox (SacredAlmighty/YT)
- Pokémon Phoenix Rising is an excellent ROM hack for those looking to change up the standard formula of classic games. You can find it here.
- For more uniqueness, try out Pokémon Revolution Online. This is essentially a Pokémon MMO. While Pokémon UNITE does exist, this is a fresh take on all of it. It is available for free here.
- Pokémon Crystal Clear is another really fun ROM hack. It’s one of the best Pokémon ROM hacks for a couple of reasons. It introduces the ability to spend money on things other than balls, heals and items (you can buy a house with the cash) and it gives 24 starter options. Download this excellent ROM here.
- Pokémon Omega Paradox is similar to Team Rocket in that it allows trainers to try a new role. Here, they can play as Cynthia or Drake and fight off Team Rocket and other evildoers. It also introduces an incredible new gimmick- Omega Evolution. Try it out here.
- Pokémon Storm Silver is another excellent choice. It is an incredibly challenging ROM hack. However, it doesn’t eschew the fun nature of the games in favor of that. Instead, it brings a tremendous balance. Fortunately, it can be downloaded here.
- Pokémon Sword and Shield GBA is a great ROM hack. Yes, those games are easily accessible as both their console, the Nintendo Switch, and the games are still available for wide purchase. However, they cannot be played on a Gameboy, which many trainers love. This ROM hack ports the game back in time and makes for a fun time. Get it here.
These are but a fraction of the Pokémon ROM hacks out there, but they are some of the best available.
Pokémon Game Hacks FAQ
Can I use hacks in Pokémon games?
If you’re the kind of player who likes to mix things up, you’ll be glad to hear that there are tons of hacks you can use in Pokémon games. You can use hacks to slightly alter or completely change the game depending on what you want to do.
Why do people want to hack Pokémon games?
Hacking might not be very common but lots of players like to do it. This is because they can fundamentally change the game, possibly for the better. If you’ve ever wanted to play as Team Rocket, you can. If you’ve ever wondered about a Pokémon MMO, you can play it! The possibilities are endless.
Is it easy to use Pokémon hacks?
The Pokémon games have been around for so long that there are a LOT of hacks for them. Choosing the right one for what you want to achieve is easier said than done but we’ve got a full list of verified links for easy installs ready to go.
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