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The Best Pokemon ROM hacks to play in 2020

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past three decades, you don’t need us to tell you what Pokemon is. It’s a simple idea to get behind. If you are looking for the best Pokemon ROM hacks, then you are in the right place.

So, stay tuned!

You try to capture different “Species” of Pokemon and then pit them against other players/Pokemon to see who is victorious. With each Pokemon having their unique element types and evolution charts.

The franchise originally started as a series of games released in 1996 in Japan. Since then, it has taken over the hearts of millions all around the globe.

Since the game gained traction, Nintendo has released a slew of Pokemon games. Each with their own set of Pokemon, Gym Battles, Location, etc.

However, after the initial few releases, many fans started to grow tired of the monotony of the game.

Sure each game had its subplot and set of Pokemon but at the end of the day, there was no variance in the gameplay. Every game pretty much had the same idea.

Get a starter, catch Pokemon, fill up your Pokedex, beat all the gyms, and finally defeat the elite four.

It became a grind.

So, a few talented individuals made it their duty to make sure to keep the games interesting, and an era of Pokemon ROM hacks had begun.

What are Hacked ROMs?

Hacked ROMS are games made completely by fans. Well not completely, most use pre-existing games as a base to work with and build up from there.

Even though most hacked ROMs are made using previous games, each game has its unique twist added in by the developer. From making the game harder, to completely flipping the story, each one has something special to offer.

So without further ado, here are the best Pokemon ROM hacks for you.

The Best Pokemon ROM hacks to play in 2020:

10. Pokemon Blue Kaizo

Fan made cover art for Blue Kaizo
Fan made cover art for Blue Kaizo
Original game:

Pokemon Blue

Developer:

Sinister Hooded Figure

The game:

One of the best ROM hacks we have for you is Pokemon Blue Kaizo. It is a remake of the original Pokemon blue and is the first ROM we would recommend in our list of best ROM hacks.

As the name suggests, this remake by “Sinister Hooded Figure” is based on the Platform Hell trope. Which just basically means the game is super difficult.

The opponents in this hacked Pokemon ROM are altered so that they’re nearly unbeatable.

The developer has achieved this effect by not only increasing the level of the Pokemon in each area but also by changing move sets of certain Pokemon to make them more formidable.

Gym leaders in this version are especially super tough. The Developer has given their Pokemon specific move sets, to make sure playing is as hellish as possible.

Although this game is extremely harder than its original counterpart, it becomes much more intriguing. The game even provides the opportunity to catch all the original 151 Pokemon.

Sure, grinding can be a bit draining, but if you’ve got some time on your hands and you love challenges, then this is one of the best Pokemon ROMs for you.

9. Pokemon Snakewood

Pokemon Rom hacks
Fan made cover art for SnakeWood
Original game:

Pokemon Ruby

Developer:

Cutlerine

The game:

Of course, while some ROM hacks focus on making gameplay more fulfilling, others completely change the story.

Welcome to the Pokemon ROM “Snakewood” where Pokemon meets zombies. A very odd idea, granted, but a very well executed one.

The game takes place in the “Hoenn” region, just after the events in Pokemon Ruby.

You play as the younger sibling of the current champion(and previous game’s protagonist). The game starts you off in a tattered version of your home town, leaving you with no memory.

You then save Professor Birch from a zombie who explains that the world has been overrun with the diseased.

This ROM is one of the best ROM hacks because it completely changes how the original one worked. It is not only a completely new storyline presented but new Pokemon are introduced as well.

Sure, the game has some of the original Pokemon included anyway, but a whole new line of “Zombie Pokemon” are also in the lineup.

As you can imagine, this game takes a much darker turn than your average Pokemon game. It’s filled to the brim with hard-hitting scenes and occasional gore.

However, the unrelenting dark humor in the game undercuts these scenes greatly. Making sure that the game itself is nicely balanced.

Read More: Minecraft Treasure Map [2020]: How to Use Treasure Map in Minecraft

8. Pokemon Ash Gray

Fan made cover art for Ash Grey
Fan made cover art for Ash Grey
Original game:

Pokemon FireRed

Developer:

Metapod23

The game:

Creative storytelling is nice and all, but if you came to Pokemon because of the T.V. show, you were probably disappointed to find that Ash isn’t a playable character in these games.

Well, despair no more, because this Pokemon ROM hack will satisfy what you are looking for.

As the name suggests, the game completely focuses itself on “Ash”, the main protagonist of the anime series. It is one of the most popular games in the Hacked ROM community, having thousands of downloads since its initial upload which is why we have included it in our best ROM hacks list.

The main plot of the game completely follows the events in the anime. Making it so that you are not only able to play like Ash, but live out the same adventure too. That is what distinguished it to be one of the best Pokemon ROMs.

Aside from the change of story and characters, this game doesn’t introduce much change. Pokemon have all the same attributes and the game mechanics are pretty similar as well.

However, this Pokemon ROM does include completely new sprites and maps that emulate the anime series more closely. So if you’re a fan of the anime series, and want to live it out yourself, then this is the game for you.

best Pokemon ROM hacks Ash grey

Best Pokemon ROM hacks 2020: Tier 3

7. Pokemon Glazed

Pokemon Rom hacks
Fan made cover art for Glazed
Original game:

Pokemon Emerald

Developer:

Lucbui

The game:

Okay so maybe playing a game, of which you’ve already seen the anime, isn’t your style, and playing with zombie Pokemon might just be a bit too much.

You might be looking for fulfilling gameplay similar to previous installations, but want to be able to experience a new story-driven plot. Well then, we have the perfect hacked Pokemon ROM for you.

Pokemon Glazed version takes everything from the original series and mashes them all together to make something even greater.

This game includes all Pokemon (including legendaries) up till generation 6 of the Pokemon franchise. Placing them across various new regions made by the developer.

Along with these completely fleshed out regions, It also introduces a completely new dream world filled with “dream Pokemon”.

The game follows the adventure of a player, who is tasked with the duty of preventing the Pokemon world and the real World from colliding. With this duty at hand, the player goes on to travel these regions in search of Pokemon to help in his quest

Not the most original of ideas, but the game itself is extremely well made. Every Pokemon till generation 6 can be caught, and truthfully being able to experience that makes this hacked Pokemon ROM that much more desirable.

6. Pokemon Theta Emerald EX

Pokemon ROM hacks
Fan made cover art for Theta Emerald EX
Original game:

Pokemon Emerald

Developer:

LCCoolJ95

The game:

The next Pokemon ROM on our agenda is Pokemon Theta Emerald, which is a remake of Pokemon Emerald (surprise surprise).

The game itself just builds upon its predecessor and adds more playable Pokemon to the game, along with 600+ new combat moves.

The game itself isn’t as much of a remake as it is more of an upgrade. But with around 721 new Pokemon available to have in your arsenal, this Pokemon ROM gives more fulfilling gameplay.

Filled to the brim with variety, this ROM also introduces the concept of mega-evolution to the player. A feature that was only made recently for generation 6.

This hack also amps up the difficulty so playing this game won’t be just a simple walk in the park for people who have already played it before. But rather it will serve as a far more challenging and accomplishing remaster.

Read More: Pokémon Duel comes full circle with a surprise end

Best Pokemon ROM hacks 2020: Tier 2

5. Pokemon Gaia

Pokemon Rom hacks
Fan made cover art for GAIA
Original game:

Pokemon FireRed

Developer:

Spherical Ice

The game:

Another game which introduces all the new Pokemon till generation 6, and the mega evolution feature, is this behemoth of a game Pokemon Gaia.

But that isn’t exactly what makes this game special. This Pokemon ROM introduces a completely new story for the player to experience, and it does it superbly.

The game is set in modern-day “Orbtus”, a place rich in history. Filled with temples and monuments of the old “Orbtus” era that was destroyed by a mighty earthquake.

However, recently professor Redwood has noticed a large increase in seismic activity. So, he has tasked you, a young adventurer, to take your first starter pokemon and get to the bottom of this mystery.

The game boasts a completely new “Orbtus” region made completely with unique never before seen maps, and a completely original storyline. Making this a very clear entry in our “best Pokemon ROM hacks” list.

4. Pokemon Liquid Crystal

Fan made cover art for Liquid Crystal
Fan made cover art for Liquid Crystal
Original game:

Pokemon FireRed

Developer:

Linkandzelda

The game:

The original Pokemon crystal, released for the original Gameboy is a fan favorite of many in the community. However, as time passed the graphics and overall gameplay weren’t considered up to par with the rest of the releases.

In steps in Linkandzelda, however, and using Pokemon FireRed as a base, completely Revamps and remasters the whole of Pokemon crystal.

This new Pokemon Hacked ROM includes many of the features included in the crystal version of the game. Including Day and Night cycles, which determine which Pokemon you encounter in certain areas.

It also borrows features from newer generation Pokemon games and integrates them into itself as well. These features include anywhere from specific seasons being displayed depending on the time and where you live, to have the ability to dive underwater.

Additionally, this Pokemon hacked ROM, includes a completely original, never before seen, orange island region. With the inspiration taken from the Orange Island series of the anime.

This Region not only has its own hashed out maps but also contains an extension to the main storyline, just to give you that little extra reason to play the game.

This game is the epitome of what ROM hacks try to do. Take an already existing game, and build upon it. Making sure that each new player has an unforgettable experience

Best Pokemon hacked ROMs: Tier 1

3. Pokemon Prism

Fan made cover art for Prism
Fan made cover art for Prism
Original game:

Pokemon Crystal

Developer:

Koolboyman

The game:

Of course, if you don’t mind outdated graphics, and are looking for an exceptional game to play, then we’d recommend Pokemon Prism.

In Pokemon Prism, you play as a child of Lance( one of the Elite Four of the Indigo league). After accidentally falling into a mineshaft, you find yourself transported to the nearby Naljo region, with no memory of how you got here.

You find a Larvitar nearby, and so, your journey begins. You’ll battle through 10+ unique towns (and many forests, dungeons, caves, etc) as you try and bring order to the corrupt system of the Naljo region.

This game not only has a killer story-driven plot but also has many features to enhance that experience.

There more than 254 Original Pokemon( and a few Fakemon Legendaries), and there are even special pokemon only areas, where your team works with you in areas humans can’t access.

Additionally, Players also have new moves, such as smelting, crafting, mining, etc, which makes the game just that much more interesting to play.

The game has been critically acclaimed by many, and for good reason. It manages to completely involve you in its plot and make sure not a moment of playing it feels like a drag

Nintendo themselves have issued a legal “cease and desist” to the developers because of the popularity it has gained. A true contender for our “best Pokemon hacked ROMs” list.

best Pokemon ROM hacks Prism

2. Pokemon Dark Rising

Fan made cover art for Dark Rising
Fan made cover art for Dark Rising
Original game:

Pokemon FireRed

Developer:

DarkRisingGirl

The game:

If you’ve never heard of the name Pokemon Dark Rising before, well you’re in for a treat.

The game literally starts with Arceus, appearing in your dream to tell you you’re the chosen one. Darugis, the ancient entity Arceus sealed away eons ago, has remerged and is trying to corrupt the world.

You, of course, set out to defeat Darugis, all the while managing your ambitions to beat the Elite Four, and become a Pokemon champion.

As the name would suggest, the game is of more the dark and gloomy kind, often putting the player in very bleak situations. The game isn’t afraid to throw difficult opponents at the player either, often catching the player completely off-guard with difficulty spikes.

Additionally, the available Pokemon in the game are taken mainly from the first 5 generations with a few Fakemons added here and there.

This game received an insane amount of downloads when it came out. So much so that it has its dedicated fanbase. Several Sequels are also on the way, due to popular demand. So there’s no wonder it ranks so highly in our “best Pokemon ROM hacks” list.

1. Pokemon Light Platinum

Fan made cover art for Light Platinum
Fan made cover art for Light Platinum
Original game:

Pokemon Ruby

Developer:

Wesley FG

The game:

And finally, the cream of the crop in our “Best Pokemon ROM hacks” list. It’s the Pokemon light platinum ROM hack. If the dark and gloomy aspect of Dark Rising doesn’t appeal to you, then we’re more than certain you’ll love this game.

On the surface, Light platinum behaves like any other Pokemon game, but that’s not why this game has made the top of our list. Sure the storyline isn’t too extraordinary, but it’s the production quality of the game that impresses.

The game allows you to visit all canon regions until the Sinnoh region, Including a non-canon Zehry region. This just means you have a whopping 6 maps to explore. Filled with every Pokemon that has ever been released up till generation 5.

The game follows the story of a player who needs to stop Team Steam(not the best name, we know) from capturing Arceus and ruling the world.

Now on the surface, this may not seem like much, but the game includes over 500 unique Pokemon, which can make for a very interesting game.

The layout is pretty much the same, you battle gyms to get a chance to battle the elite four. Sure that sounds swell, except the difficulty has been ramped up quite substantially, meaning that this won’t be a simple walk in the park.

You’ll be required to train your Pokemon diligently if you want to succeed. Moreover, this Hacked ROM includes many of the big names in the Pokemon world, such as Ash, Professor Oak, Red, Blue, etc.

You’ll even get the chance to battle Ash in the Pokemon World Championship, an event made exclusively for this game and one that is extremely difficult to reach.

The only way to unlock the Pokemon World Championship is to beat all previous regional champions in the game.

best Pokemon ROM hacks Light Platinum

Parting Words

We hope you’ve enjoyed our little list of “The best Pokemon ROM hacks” and that you give each of these games a try for yourself.

Some of them are challenging and are meant to make life difficult for you. While some of them are fun and are there to expand upon their predecessors. Some, however, are just straight out of the world.

Whatever type of gameplay you may enjoy, just please remember that these games are made by fans. These serve as tributes by the fans to keep the essence of the game alive, that’s why most of these hacks are almost always free.

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