Pokémon is an unstoppable force in gaming… and the fans eat it up. So much so that the official releases from Game Freak are just not enough.
Some fans of the series have gone so far as to release their very own Pokémon stories to fill the gap where they feel the mainline games are lacking. And there are a TON of them.
Let’s take a look at some of the very best Pokémon fan games of the year.
(Keep in mind these are original fan games, not ROM hacks.)
15. Pokémon Karma
Pokémon Karma creator Vendily said that the game was “made as an excuse to code something cool”.
Where this short but sweet experience lacks in features, it makes up for creativity and fun.
You won’t be battling Pokémon, but it has some Zelda-like puzzle elements, which is right up my alley.
14. Pokémon Fairies
You love the color pink? You ever crave a cutesy and sweet Pokémon experience (more so than the originals were)? Then Pokemon Fairies fan game is for you!
This one hour story-focused experience has all the lollipops and cake frosting one can handle.
No battles, just a cute story and puzzles. This one is for casual players who are looking for a different experience in an alternate Pokémon universe.
13. Pokemon Sage
Pokémon Sage takes the 13th spot in our list of the best Pokémon fan games of all time!
This fan game is pretty special as it uses wholly original and new Pokemon that don’t exist in the franchise.
That’s right – we’re talking artists getting together to make new Pokemon and then making a game out of them. How cool is that!
The game feels like a portable Pokemon adventure, but the design concept and towns have an exciting new vibe.
The game is still being worked on and the Pokémon fan community helps to decide its path as the devs continue to work their magic. With 200 new Pokemon to catch, it’s sure to be a winner!
12. Pokémon Psyduck Version
A totally unique Pokémon experience developed by a member of the Game Boy community.
Imagine starting a gen 1 Pokémon game, and nobody is home… except Psyduck. Imagine how chaotic that would be. Well… this fan game is exactly that.
How many problems can one duck cause in 10-20 minutes? Turns out, quite a lot.
This Pokémon fan game can only be experienced by purchasing an actual Game Boy cartridge from the creator. Experience the joy of opening up a brand new Game Boy game today. In a beautiful package, designed by Conditionok.
This is a very unique collectors item for fans of the Pokémon series. Unlike anything else on this list, and well deserving of your attention.
11. Pokemon Clockwork
Pokémon Clockwork takes the 11th spot in our best Pokémon fan made games list, bringing some slick new features that you certainly won’t find in the main canon.
So we’ve got a day and night cycle; that’s appeared in some other Pokemon games for sure, but it’s a nice feature and attention to detail in a fan made game.
How about time travel? Yeah, that’s a new one alright!
It also has a compelling storyline too. Now, I know you’re all going to say that I’m ‘dissing’ the previous games by saying that, but this storyline really grips you from the start, and it’s different to the linear story structure that we know from the main series.
So, all in all, with new skills to pick up and lots of other secrets to uncover that will blow your mind, Clockwork is real treat for the senses and a title that mixes up the formula for the better!
Pokémon Clockwork is a prime choice if you’re looking for features that you won’t find in other Pokémon games (official or created by fans). Not only does the game have a day/night cycle and quests that can help boost your Pokémon’s level, but you can take advantage of new skills to up your experience.
With time-travel, dynamic Pokémon evolutions, and an edge-of-your-seat storyline, this game is a breath of fresh air. You’ll get plenty of it on the road to the next city. Be sure to check this one out if you want one of the best storylines in the history of fan-made Pokémon games.
10. Pokémon Bushido
Developed using RPG Maker by a team of four, this well polished experience offers 10-15 hours worth of gameplay!
Makers of this fan game say it “utilizes Gen 4-styled graphics, and includes Pokémon from up to Gen 8!”
“Bushido” brings our list back to a more traditional Pokémon experience, full of lore, monster battles and fun characters. This fan game is very well written and offers players a very diverse experience.
Utilizing a traditional Japanese theme, which tugs at my heart strings. An absolute must on our list of 10 best Pokémon fan games.
9. Pokémon Wilds
You ever want to mashup Pokémon and Minecraft?
Pokémon Wilds is a randomly generated open world, giving each player a totally unique experience.
Full of monster collecting, crafting and open world exploration.. this has a lot of familiar elements while also being totally unlike any other Pokémon game.
8. Pokemon Phoenix Rising
Step into the never-before explored region of Hawthorne in the next out our best Pokémon fan made games!
Once again, the Pokemon essentials engine has come up trumps here, making a title that feels like a bona fide RPG game and adding so many more extras to the ‘normal’ Pokemon formula, supercharging it to 11!
Honestly, the combined brainpower the devs have used to make this game is phenomenal. It’s a work of art on the DS and could well be a main Pokemon title in the series.
Though I could say that about all of these games in this list!
Relic Forms and Mega Evolutions play a big part in this adventure, and the storyline is one you won’t want to miss out on. Nintendo need to recruit the team that made Phoenix Rising STAT!
7. Pokémon Reborn
This fan game is often characterized as more “grown up” than your typical Pokémon game.
Pokémon Reborn is packed full of content, with over 800 Pokémon, and developers say it features “all content through Generation 7.” You could easily spend over 60 hours in this world!
The game has a reputation of packing a punch, so if you crave a bit more of a challenge, this Pokémon fan game might be for you.
6. Pokemon Uranium
Pokémon Uranium takes the 6th spot in this list of the best Pokémon games of all time.
And you just know it’s a good one because the team behind it received a cease and desist letter from Ninty themselves!
Unfortunately for the Nintendo, the retro gaming community are quick off the mark when it comes to downloading epic games. Over 1.5 million downloads of Pokemon Uranium had already been clocked by the time the letter landed on the dev’s doorsteps, meaning that it’s essentially impossible for this game to not exist anymore.
In many ways, it looks a lot like a normal Pokemon game. It’s a nice title for those wanting an ‘old-school’ Pokemon title as opposed to the newer Pokemon Scarlet/Violet-vibes on the Switch, but it’s a shame this title never got all of the promised features the devs were hoping to deliver.
Talking to Pokemon would have been amazing!
5. Pokémon Infinity
From the makers of Pokémon Obsidian (another very popular fan game), “Infinity” is a very polished experience offering over twenty hours of game play.
This one is a visual feast with incredible design, dynamic weather effects, persistent day and night cycle (whether you play or not) and a ton of original art and animations.
This release is quickly on the rise, becoming many players new favorite Pokémon fan game. It was an easy decision to include it on our list of best Pokémon fan games.
4. Poke MMO
A full online multiplayer Pokémon experience, which started its development all the way back in 2012!
Their tagline is “stop playing with yourself and start playing with everyone else.” Jokes aside… it feels totally amazing to walk around this dense world and see usernames above the heads of other characters and know that there are hundreds of other players participating online.
Poke MMO has a large community keeping its world alive. You can chat, trade, battle or simply spectate.
With a giant world to explore, a ton of Pokémon to catch, plenty of players to interact with… Poke MMO gives fans something they have been asking for for a very long time… Pokémon… online… with friends.
3. Pokemon Insurgence
Pokemon Insurgence takes the bronze medal in our list of the best Pokémon fan made games, and its one that you don’t need an emulator to play on! Just install the .exe file on your PC and voila!
I really like Insurgence for the more mature feel to the storyline. I’m not talking about a Pokemon version Vice City, but it does deal with cults and Pokemon worshippers.
Apart from the theme, there’s also the fact that this fan made game has multiple difficulty levels, giving you more of a challenge after you’ve finished the main story. That always bothered me about the original games – there was never really anywhere to go after you’d completed them one time through!
Customise, mege evolve, and experience everything this epic, dark tale has to offer!
2. Pokémon Rejuvenation
Another Pokémon fan game from the same team that brought you Pokémon Reborn.
This game trades some of the maturity of “Reborn” for an anime/manga approach.
Another well polished, content-packed release… “Rejuvenation” offers over 100 hours of gameplay, 800+ Pokémon, and what many consider to be some of the best writing in a Pokémon fan game.
It is no surprise that this game has found its way so high on our list of best Pokémon fan games of the year.
1. Pokémon Xenoverse
Our number one pick for the best Pokémon fan game of the year is Pokémon Xenoverse.
Developed by a large team of fifteen from Italy. The original fan game’s language is Italian, but was translated into English as of 2021.
A beautiful and well polished game, offering hours of gameplay, “Xenoverse” has come to be a favorite of many.
“Xenoverse” is a totally unique Pokémon experience, with very great story writing and a wide variety of content.
WEEDle Team has launched three total DLC packs to date (the latest in December 2021), with many more planned for the future. They also hope to introduce online play soon.
There has never been a better time to jump into the story, and experience all of the fun that Pokémon Xenoverse has to offer.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.