Top 5 Pokemon ROM Hacks You Should Play in 2023

Pokemon is a franchise that has many worshipers. I personally started playing in the nostalgic Game Boy Color, with the versions Gold, Silver, and Crystal. From then on I became a fan of the little monsters.

An excellent cure for the nostalgia from the Golden Ages of Pokemon, is being able to play again is the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, but this time with some changes to each game.

In addition to ROMs of the original Pokemon games, there were games created or edited digitally by the fans themselves called ROM Hacks. Some of them stood out quite a bit, others were not so much. I’ll rank a list, made with a lot of criteria and evaluation, about the best ROM Hacks I had the pleasure of playing. Let’s go!

Pokemon Crystal Clear

Imagine yourself playing a second-generation Game Boy version. But having the choice of starting your adventure in Kanto or Johto. Beyond that, you can freely transition between them from the beginning of the game. You can also do any of the 16 gyms in any order you like. And you’re able to choose between 28 possible initial Pokemons. Crystal Clear is the closest thing to an open-world-style hack that exists for Pokemon.

All possible Pokemons to start this adventure

They’ve improved a lot in character customization. Allowing color changes, various male and female sprite options, and additions such as the run button that would only be introduced in the next generation.

The best thing about the game is to be able to literally choose EVERYTHING from the path you want to do and still be able to capture all 251 Pokemon available, from Bulbasaur to Celebi, without having to make an exchange via Link Trade.

Ironically, this hack allows the trainer to go to Mt.Silver as soon as the journey begins… well I don’t recommend it.

Pokemon Prism

Set in the fictional region of Naljo, the game has a Pokedex of 253 Pokemon, including some Fakemons and third/fourth generation Pokemon. Two new types (Gas and Sound) have also been added to the list.

In this game, the protagonist is none other than the son of champion Lance, Prism, who ends up in the Naljo region thanks to an accident that occurred after he played with his uncle’s mine cart and lost control. Naljo is a region that is still being built and that is why it is going through many processes of bureaucratization and industrial corruption. It’s up to Prism to collect all 20 badges and save the region from its evils.

In addition to having Larvitar as our starter, Pokemon Prism adds new minigames and story points where you can even control your Pokemon across the open world. It’s a simply fantastic story that will delight all fans of the franchise.

On December 21, 2016, Nintendo submitted a cease and desist request that ended the development of the game. However, an anonymous user on 4chan leaked v0.91 of the game. The leaked version is from December 19, 2016.

Pokemon Hyper Emerald 807

Pokemon Hyper Emerald 807 is one of the best unofficial reboots of the GBA games. Made by a group of Chinese devs, the game follows the original Emerald story with some extra plot additions. The icing on the cake for sure is being able to capture all the Pokemon available so far, from the first to the seventh generation, within the game. Also, Gym leaders’ difficulties have skyrocketed.

It’s a hack that, in addition to being neat, animated moves and moves that didn’t exist in the third generation were added and updated all character sprites to look like their versions of Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby.

The biggest downside of the game is that it is only partially translated into English (Only the moves and items). Despite the language barrier, checking out Pokemon Hyper Emerald is a strong recommendation to Hoenn fans. A love letter to Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald.

Pokemon Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma

Similar to Hyper Emerald style, Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma is basically a re-release of the old Pokemon Shiny Gold hack (the GSC story revisited in the third generation) with all 807 Pokemon available to be captured between Johto and Kanto. Gym Leaders had their difficulty increased and were added lots of extra content.

Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma also has an item called Link Cable, which allows the evolution of Pokemons that need to be traded to evolve simply by giving this item to them, similar to an evolutionary stone.

There is not much to talk about about the game, as it is an experience that is already known, but outstanding in this edition for the new possibilities it allows. An example of this would be fighting the Dragon Trainer Zinnia as soon as you get an initial Pokemon from her.

Pokemon Insurgence

Definitely my favorite ROM Hack. Pokemon Insurgence brings a much more serious and adult story that takes place in the Torren Region. There, cults (YES, CULTS) dedicated to legendary Pokemon fight each other to make their ideal worlds come true – a cult dedicated to Darkrai, a Nightmare Pokemon, sacrifices people on an altar of thorns to summon the creature, for example – No amidst this dispute, the protagonist is rescued from a sacrifice of this cult by none other than Mew, arriving at an initial city and randomly starting his adventure.

In addition to presenting Pokemon up to the sixth generation, Insurgence brings something interesting: the so-called Delta Species of Pokemon. Basically, they are Pokemons that had their DNA mutated by cults and ended up spreading by the nature of Torren. They can be characterized as being extremely rare and of different types than their original versions. The biggest examples of this are the initials that the game lets you choose.

The freedom that the game gives you is pretty cool, in addition to being able to choose the character’s gender, you can customize your clothes, hair, backpack, and even buy decorative items for your appearance, such as a medieval sword.

Difficulty and challenge are not lacking in Insurgence. The level limit is 120, and believe me, the game will push you there if you want to reach the end of it. My only recommendation is not to play on a laptop as the game tends to run slower on them.

And with that, we come to the end of the list! I hope you liked and caught some interest in any of these versions, any questions just leave them in the comments.