If you’re reading this we’re guessing you’re a big fan of Pokémon games. Unfortunately, there are long gaps between official releases, but don’t despair, as there are a number of fan-made Pokémon games you can play in the meantime.
The Pokémon community has produced loads of fan-made games, which are packed with new adventures, features, and characters. Here are the best free fan-made Pokémon games you can play right now.
Play Pokémon Games Using an Emulator
Some of the fan-made Pokémon games on this list require you to use an emulator. An emulator being a computer program that emulates old games consoles on another device. For more context, learn what emulation is and how it works.
Emulators can play ROMs, which are computer images of games taken from a read-only memory chip (like a Game Boy cartridge). You can install an emulator on your computer or mobile device.
For the avid gamer who enjoys classic gaming as much as modern, AAA-rated games, an emulator is a must. There are a lot of different emulators available for every conceivable system.
Many of the games on this list require a Game Boy Advance emulator (some are desktop games). we opted to use the Visual Boy Advance emulator for Windows. However, you can grab an emulator for your system from one of these links.
Download: Visual Boy Advance for Windows (Free)
Download: Open Emu for macOS (Free)
Download: Mednafen for Linux (Free) | Higan for Linux (Free)
Download: John GBA for Android (Free, with ads) | Android ($2.99)
Download: GBA4iOS for iOS (Free)
If you’re not interested in using an emulator then check out our list of official Pokémon games instead.
We start with a formidable fan-made Pokémon game called Pokémon Insurgence. Insurgence boasts thousands of players. Furthermore, Insurgence shakes the traditional Pokémon adventure up with a gritty storyline filled with cultist leaders and Pokémon experimentation. All of this in an entirely new region too.
The sprite collection and general gameplay give an official feeling to the game. Add in mega evolutions and creative delta species, where a player can mix the DNA of two Pokémon to create a third, and there’s no way you can pass up the experience.
There’s nothing quite like pitting old-gen Pokémon vs. new-gen Pokémon. Pokémon Light Platinum is touted as one of the most complete Pokémon ROMs to date.
Based off of the popular Pokémon Ruby version, Pokémon Light Platinum features impressive graphics and a wide array of Pokémon along with new regions and gyms to keep any Pokémon fan occupied for hours.
With 16 gym badges, two Pokémon leagues, and a world championship, Pokémon Light Platinum has a lot to offer. If you’re looking for a familiar alternative to the official Pokémon games, Light Platinum is it.
Pokémon Ash Gray is a fan-made Pokémon game based off Fire-Red which simulates Ash’s journey in the original Pokémon animated series.
I was a huge fan of the animated series growing up, so Pokémon Ash Gray is a pleasant trip down memory lane. Train Pikachu and ward off mean sparrows yourself with this fan-made game.
Pokémon Dark Rising feels like the Dark Souls of Pokémon. With the difficulty level bumped up to 11, it’s typical to wipe out multiple times before getting to the first gym leader. The beginning of the storyline is enticing in itself:
“You are a young Pokémon Trainer in Core Region. The game plot starts when you sleep and have a strange dream. You see a strange Pokémon that appears incidentally in your dream but you don’t know or meet it before. This Pokémon says it chooses you to be its owner and wants you to save it and the world.”
From the rival battles to the random encounters, this game will leave you hanging on by a thread. Your starters are all Dragon-types for a refreshing early game experience as well, while the game itself spans the first five generations of Pokémon.
While most fan-made ROMs attempt to make the most out of Pokémon characters rather than trainer development, Pokémon Godra tries to make that leap. In this popular fan-made ROM, you can lead a life outside the gym.
With a series of career paths set up for your trainer, you can be a War Party Leader, a Military General, a Safari Zone Warden, and more.
Besides being a quality game that spans generations of Pokémon, there are also Western and Eastern halves of Godra which include different storylines and quests for you to enjoy.
Pokémon Reborn is the first game on this list that isn’t a ROM. Unlike the other games, which are ROM hacks, Pokémon Reborn is an entirely new game created in RPG Maker.
The result is much higher resolution sprites, a plethora of vibrant colors, custom Pokémon, an enormous world to explore, and around 55 hours of gameplay. Pokémon Reborn is a desktop game, rather than a Game Boy Advance ROM.
You enter a world filled with black smog and acidic water. There is crime everywhere, and the world around you is crumbling. Luckily, you are the hero.
Pokémon Uranium is one of the few RPG Maker-based fan-made Pokémon games to receive cease-and-desist letters during development. By the time the cease-and-desist hit the desk of director and programmer “~JV~,” Pokémon Uranium had already hit 1.5 million downloads.
While the development team complied with the letter, the Pokémon Uranium fanbase picked up the mantle, releasing several patches and bug fixes for the game.
Pokémon Uranium focuses on the tale of a young Pokémon trainer attempting to uncover the secrets of a nuclear explosion in the Tandor region. On the way, strange occurrences surround the player, and the specter of an irradiated Pokémon looms large.
Like Pokémon Reborn, Pokémon Uranium is a desktop game.
8. Pokémon 3D
Pokémon 3D is a surprisingly refreshing fan-made project. A remake of Pokémon Gold and Silver, Pokémon 3D simulates the world of Pokémon in a popup 3D environment.
Although Pokémon 3D follows the typical Pokémon adventure format, the impressive popup effect gives the original game new life. Which makes it well worth playing.
Gotta Try ‘Em All!
There are a serious number of fan-made Pokémon games in development. The cycle of updates and new releases is nearly constant. Taking the time to develop, rearrange, and craft the world of Pokémon is painstaking. Yet thousands of artists and developers continue out of love for the games.
In addition to fan games, have you considered trying some Pokémon challenges to test your skills?