Pokémon Go (our tips) isn’t just a game. For a select few, it’s the realization of a dream. Since its inception, fans have craved a Pokémon massively-multiplayer game (MMO) that allows players to compete with one another like real Pokémon trainers.
Unfortunately, interest in the game’s inventive mechanics and augmented reality has dwindled since its release. While Pokémon Go is still wildly popular, the dream of its potential — to ingrain the world of Pokémon on a sincere multiplayer stage — has somewhat faded. Just when all seems lost, however, the community bands together and becomes the change they want to see.
Pokémon fans are definitely such a community. The following are the absolute best fan-made MMO Pokémon games available online. They integrate all the familiar aspects of the Pokémon games in an accessible, multiplayer fashion — for free!
Disclaimer: The following games, while the products of monumental effort, are not official and are liable to shut down at Nintendo’s discretion.
1. Pokémon Revolution Online
When it comes to fan-made games, Pokémon Revolution Online is at the top of the heap. From the sprite detail to the soundtrack, everything about this game is tailored to feel like an actual Pokémon game. The game also incorporates excellent ambient graphics which change with the time and weather.
The base game is fantastic in itself, but Pokémon Revolution Online also continually adds new features every month. For free, of course. As its website states:
“The goal of PRO [Pokémon Revolution Online] is to overlap a balance between the features of the main-series Pokémon games, and translating it well to an MMO environment. It strives to maintain the beloved features of the handheld games, while also making changes that are needed to acclimate to the continuity and player-interaction balance that is only healthy for an MMO environment.”
Aesthetics aside, this game absolutely promises hours of entertainment. The map is huge, and the game is truly massively multiplayer. Not only that, you can join guilds and partake in player-versus-player (PvP) battles just like an actual MMO. Pokémon Revolution is definitely one of the best — if not the best — fan-made Pokémon creations ever.
Another top contender for best fan-made Pokémon MMO out there, the aptly named PokeMMO brings the Pokémon franchise into the modern era.
Of course, it has everything a Pokémon fan would want: a large Pokémon library, huge map, dynamic graphics, beautiful sprite animations, and so on. You can also build bases reminiscent of the secret base feature in Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. This is a facet I enjoyed in those Pokémon games and am glad to see in a Pokémon MMO. It’s much better than firing up an emulator when you want to work on a base.
It’s fun. Better yet, it’s truly massively popular and polished — along, of course, with being completely free. To install this game, you’ll need to access, download, and unzip a ROM of Pokémon FireRed. Other optional ROM installations will provide further graphic and visual content. Head to the developer’s instructions for a rundown of how to get PokeMMO working on your PC.
Once everything is in working order, get to playing!
3. Pokémon World Online
Pokémon World Online (PWO) is an old-timer as far as Pokémon MMOs are concerned. It’s also, in my opinion, one of the most in-depth in terms of Pokémon statistical information and feature availability.
PWO is a standalone installation, which makes it a bit more immersive than browser-based alternatives. That also allows for a particular smoothness and finish that makes it feel like a serious Pokémon MMO compared to the other, more popular versions of the same type.
As the website describes this game:
“New players begin with a tutorial map and are, like our favorite hand-held games, challenged to battle their way through a series of Gyms in order to be eligible to battle world-class trainers. On top of this, PWO provides unlimited access to player-versus-player (PvP) encounters . . . For those less inclined to battle, PWO offers a wide variety of Pokémon to hunt and evolve, some of which are easier to find depending on the time of day and location. Search in the grass and sea, be it by fishing, walking or surfing to find a prize Pokémon.”
It’s also interesting in that the UI is largely customizable. Instead of a dynamic environment, you can cater the game design to your needs and focus on the battle rather than the environment. It’s a familiar Pokémon feel with more calculated gameplay, likely to entertain both old-school and new Pokémon players for hours upon hours.
4. Pokémon Planet
Pokémon Planet is not only fun, but impressive. The play area and Pokémon library are massive, and the game is absolutely true to the Pokémon series. The added browser-based functionality also allows you to play without the need to download and install third-party software.
Pokémon Planet also hosts a multiplayer event called Clan Wars, wherein players of different clans — which you can start and join — battle each other at specific times throughout the week.
You can play with friends or go the solo route. While this game doesn’t provide much in the way of a single-player story mode, it’s a fantastic browser-based multiplayer experience and provides plenty of items and Pokémon to keep even the most hardcore Pokémon fans entertained.
5. Pokémon MMO 3D
While Pokémon MMO 3D can’t be considered polished — as most of the game’s focus concerns battle animation rather than environment modeling — I’m impressed by it every time I log in. Keep in mind, this isn’t some official endeavor on behalf of professional developers. It’s fans making dreams come to life.
Pokémon MMO 3D provides little in story. What is does offer, however, is exactly what users would want from a 3D version of Pokémon: you can summon and battle Pokémon in a 3D environment. Best of all, the developers are constantly working on both the user interface and Pokémon selection. You can follow their progress on Facebook.
For a completely fan-made alpha game to essentially invent a 3D environment and the 3D mechanics required to play Pokémon is impressive. That the developer keeps working on, and plans a future for, Pokémon MMO 3D deserves praise.
Catch ‘Em All, Together!
You’ve played all the Pokémon games (check our review of Sun and Moon if not), tried your hand at Pokémon Go, and you’re still asking for more. Why not try a multiplayer experience with the games listed above?
If you’re more of a Pokémon purist, you can also try a selection of fantastic, fan-made Pokémon games which — in my humble opinion — take the regular play style up a notch. Either way, you’ll have an awesome time celebrating Pokémon.
Like our list? Care to add any other Pokémon MMOs to the folds? Let us know in the comments below!