Pokémon fan games have been around since the beginning of time. A few weeks ago I wrote an article about some Pokémon fangames that came out this year and in that short amount of time at least two more were released! The creativity and imagination of the fanbase are astounding and every day it feels like they’re revealing more of that. Today’s article is about some of the best fangames I’ve had the pleasure of playing in my time as a Pokémon trainer.
Before I begin, I’d like to say that this is my own opinion and if you disagree (which you most likely will) then feel free to let me know in the comments section. Now without further ado, here are some of the best fangames available right now!
15: Pokémon Adventure – Red Chapter
Pokémon Adventure is the only game on the list that doesn’t take place in Kanto. Instead, you’re sent to adventure through the region of Tobari and its many cities, forests, routes, and caves trying to become a Pokémon Master. You also get to visit two classic areas (The Sevii Islands and Cinnabar Island) as well as go up against Team Rocket at both Viridian City and their new base on Asagi Mountain. The story is nothing mind-blowing but it’s still enjoyable with some very humorous moments along the way.
One thing I loved about this game was how long it felt despite being less than thirty minutes old when I played it for the first time. There are routes to take which lead to different cities with different trainers to fight, items to collect, and many NPCs to talk to. Pokémon Adventure – Red Chapter is a great game if you want an adventure that feels longer than its length.
14: Pokémon Clockwork
Pokémon Clockwork is a fan game that takes inspiration from the likes of Pokémon Rumble and Mega Man. Your main goal is to defeat eight bosses that each has their own gimmicks as well as all the trainers in their respective dungeons. The bosses can be quite difficult if you don’t pay attention to what they’re weak against and how they attack so it’s definitely a game that requires some skill and knowledge to beat.
Pokémon Clockwork is one of the best fangames out there when it comes to presentation and visuals. The sprites and tiles look great, the music really gets you pumped for battle and much like Mega Man, each Pokémon has its own unique ability which can be used in both boss battles and regular encounters. If you’re a fan of Mega Man or fangames in general, this is one to try!
13: Pokémon Dark Future
Pokémon Dark Future follows the story of Brendan who wakes up from a nightmare about being attacked by a mysterious creature called “HexF”. After waking up and going outside, he quickly learns that his hometown of Oak City has been taken over by HexF and it’s up to him to save the city. Something I really liked about this game was how casual it felt – there are no random battles, all attacks have their own animations that tell you what type they are, your Pokémon get healed after every battle, etc. It feels like an actual RPG rather than a fangame.
Pokémon Dark Future has a nice story to it as well, with many humorous moments and references to other games/movies/books. There is a handful of Pokémon that you can catch which you need a fishing rod for but besides that, the game is very easy to follow and beat. It’s definitely a game I recommend to RPG fans or anyone who feels like relaxing while making their way through an adventure.
12: Pokémon Rising Shadows
Pokémon Rising Shadows is dark. Really, really dark. If you’ve ever played Gray out then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about but for those of you that haven’t, here’s a brief summary. You play as a character called Satoshi who is permanently bound to a wheelchair and has lost his memory – all he knows is that he’s supposedly in love with a woman called Kasumi but thanks to his condition, he can’t remember anything about her so your goal is to find out more about her and what happened in the past.
Pokémon Rising Shadows is a fantastic example of what fangames can do when they put their heart and soul into them. The mapping is great, the story is very engaging and despite all of that, there’s plenty of humor and light-hearted moments in between so you never get overloaded with depression. If you’re someone who isn’t afraid to take on a challenge and wants to play something that isn’t just another Pokémon clone, you should check this out.
11: Pokémon Reborn
Pokémon Reborn is a fangame that actually manages to be scarier than Pokémon Dark Future, which is quite a feat. The story starts off with your character living a normal life at home but their dreams keep getting invaded by an entity called “Reborn” who keeps attempting to take over their body. As you progress through the game, you discover why Reborn wants to destroy humanity and eventually have to fight him which doesn’t go as smoothly as you’d hope.
When playing Pokémon Reborn, the first thing I noticed was how great the mapping looks – it’s practically flawless in every area and both day and night transitions look great. There are also some fantastic-looking custom sprites for things like PC boxes and characters that make the game stand out visually. Besides that, the story is incredibly engaging – it’s very dark and holds nothing back in terms of horror which makes it one of the best fangames out there.
10: Pokémon PC Master
Pokémon PC Master is definitely one of the most unique fangames I’ve ever played. The game starts off with you waking up inside your PC and upon realizing you can’t get out, you go talk to Professor Oak about getting a Pokémon so you can escape the PC. However, on your way to his lab, a trainer challenges you and in order to fight them properly, you need a party of 6 Pokémon – this is where the catch comes in.
To recruit new Pokémon, you need to battle with them and if they faint then they’re gone for good – you can’t catch them again. This means that the only way to get a party of six is by risking your companions so this creates some incredibly intense moments as you try and figure out which Pokémon you should use and where. It’s an incredibly fun concept with a lot of replay value and when it comes to being unique, Pokémon PC Master is in a league of its own.
9: Pokémon Rejuvenation
Pokémon Rejuvenation is a fangame that has taken the concept of Pokémon and turned it upside down – here, you play as a young boy looking to save his sister who can’t die due to an illness. The only way he can do this is by finding cursed Pokémon which have the ability to absorb life force so he can transfer them to her. The story starts very lighthearted but gets darker the further you progress and what makes it unique is how much freedom you have.
The world of Pokémon Rejuvenation is open-ended – there’s no linear path to take so you can explore every area in any order you wish which means that there are plenty of secrets to uncover if you look hard enough. You can also befriend most Pokémon instead of just catching them which is unique for a Pokémon game – they can even evolve too if you have the right items! This makes it one of the deepest fangames I’ve played and one that every fan should try out.
8: Pokémon Quartz Version
Pokémon Quartz is another one of those fangames that have great mapping and mapping is incredibly important for Pokémon since they’re all about exploring. Quartz does the exploration part very well but what makes this game stick out is its unique story which starts off as a normal Pokémon adventure but then takes a turn into the bizarre.
The premise behind Pokémon Quartz is that legendary creatures known as the Oracles are real and they’re worshiped by people who believe them to bring fortune and misfortune. The protagonist in this game believes in the power of these creatures even though he’s ridiculed for it and his beliefs become reality when an Oracle named Kyogre appears in a legendary tornado. Quartz has two possible endings: one where Kyogre is defeated and civilization go back to normal or another where Kyogre succeeds in destroying the world. Both endings are fantastic and they make me want to play through the game again just to see what would happen if I made different decisions.
7: Pokémon Fangame – The Legend of Shiida
Like Quartz, The Legend of Shiida is another fangame that puts a great emphasis on mapping and exploration. The game starts off with the protagonist going to visit an old man in his hometown who gives him a small key – this unlocks a mysterious door that allows you to explore the Pokémon Fangame world.
The Legend of Shiida has some amazing boss fights and there’s plenty of content to unlock as well – if you manage to get through the entire game, you’ll be able to play a bonus area where all the Pokémon have 999 in their base stats. This is quite an impressive feat since Shiida is one of the newer fangames and it’s incredibly fun to explore with amazing boss fights that make use of all 649 Pokémon.
6: Pokémon Conquest
I actually just finished playing through all of the games in this subseries last week and it surprised me quite a bit – I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did! Pokémon Conquest was originally released on the DS back in 2012 so it’s about time that somebody remade it for PC.
Pokémon Conquest was made in collaboration with Koei Tecmo, the company that’s known for its action games like Dynasty Warriors which is one of the reasons why Conquest feels different from other Pokémon titles – controlling an entire army isn’t something you see every day. Luckily, this change in the formula works very well and it makes exploring each kingdom much more fun so if you want to try something new, I definitely recommend giving this one a shot.
5: Pokémon Prism
Pokémon Prism is a hack of Pokémon Gold made by Koolboyman and it’s probably one of the most impressive Game Boy Color ROM hacks out there. There are dozens upon dozens of changes in this game ranging from altered Pokémon sprites to new items and even completely different pathways to take which makes Prism feel fresh and exciting – it also helps that there are scripted events scattered throughout the game which make it feel like an actual Pokémon adventure.
If you don’t mind playing through a hack, I highly recommend trying out Prism – it’s one of the most polished fangames out there and it doesn’t even require an emulator since there are patches for both Pokemon Gold and Silver available! The only downside is that there’s a lot of backtracking involved but the ability to trade and battle with other players online makes this process much more bearable.
4: Pokémon Amber
Pokémon Amber re-imagines Red as being the final obstacle in the Ambera region – you play as a young boy named Vird who has to defeat him using a Pikachu and a Pichu. The hack starts out with Red kidnapping your mom and you have to fight through hordes of Pokémon to rescue her which makes for some intense battles that can be incredibly fun to play through – at the same time, it’s also scary considering how difficult some of these fights might become (Red is really tough).
The hack ends with an incredible fight against Mewtwo which is also fantastic – I just wish there were more postgame events that made it feel like the adventure was still going on since playing through the game once makes it feel repetitive. Regardless, I highly recommend checking out Pokémon Amber if you’re looking for something challenging and scary to play so give it a shot!
3: Pokémon Quartz
Pokémon Quartz was created by DrFuji and it’s probably one of the more professional fangames out there – it has a full region to explore along with around 40 hours worth of content to play through. The story is also pretty different from other games in the series which makes it fun to go through and experience.
There are a lot of visual changes as well like the ability to trade and battle with other players online since Quartz uses ROMs from Ruby and Emerald – it’s also worth noting that there are four separate versions of the hack which you can download depending on what difficulty level you’re looking for (the hardest one is called Zodiac). I highly recommend checking out the easy version first since it’s incredibly fun to play through and find different Pokémon!
2: Pokémon Dark Energy
If you’ve ever wanted to play as a villain in the Pokémon series, this is probably the closest you’ll get – in Dark Energy, you’re given an evil team at the start of your journey with no real motivation other than to take over the world (although you do get more story as you move along). There are tons of Pokémon up for grabs which makes it really easy to build yourself an unstoppable team and you can even enter colosseums for some challenging fights.
I think the only thing that feels like a downside is the fact that there aren’t really any NPCs to interact with outside of battle which makes the overall experience feel a bit lonely but it’s still incredibly fun to go through and collect all 151 Pokémon. There’s also a pretty tough champion at the end who can put up quite a fight so bring your best Pokémon into every fight!
PokéMMO was created by a Japanese developer and it’s probably one of the best fanmade Pokémon games out there today – not only can you play through the entire series as your favorite Pokémon, but there are also tons of mini-games to keep things fresh.
The entire point of PokéMMO is that you get to explore different areas of the Pokémon world – you can go to Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh for some challenging battles so there’s plenty of content for fans of the original games. There are also multiplayer options available where you can battle other players in real-time which is perfect if you’re looking for a challenge.
Unfortunately, playing through PokéMMO can be a bit difficult for non-Japanese speakers so unless you speak the language, you’re going to have some trouble downloading it. If that doesn’t sound like an issue for you, definitely check out PokéMMO – it’s one of the best fanmade Pokémon games on the internet!