The GBA is the one console where the Pokemon formula finally felt complete, which makes listing the best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks even more exciting!
Out of all the best Pokemon ROM hacks, these adaptations of the titles that dropped on Nintendo’s portable purple powerhouse are some of our all time favourites.
They take us back down memory lane while offering something new and exciting to play through at the same time…
… and it’s all thanks to the epic retro gaming community!
Dont worry if you’re new to the confusing world of the best Pokemon emulators.
Just click the buttons under each ROM entry and port them onto your PC/Mac or even onto some of the best retro handhelds that we’ve covered over the years!
We have featured links to eBay where you can buy custom fan made carts with ROM hacks installed, we earn a small commission from these purchases. You can also find the files to these ROM hacks online for free.
1. Pokemon Flora Sky
Pokemon Flora Sky kickstarts our best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks list, bringing an epic showdown between Dialga and Palkia to the table.
The battle is so fierce that they actually tear a hole in reality, opening a portal that releases Giratina into the world.
Now’s the time where you are supposed to say ‘Uh oh!’.
As well as collecting and battling with Pokemon, it’s the players job to seal the rift and stop chaos from ensuing before it’s too late. Square off against Team Magma and Team Aqua and pull off epic moves with Mew, Shaymin, and more.
Flora Sky has a well executed day/night system too that allows for time-specific events.
It’s simple to use and doesn’t require lots of brain power to play, one for relaxing with once you get home from work!
2. Pokemon Mega Power
Everyone loves Pokemon Emerald, which instantly makes Pokemon Mega Power one of the best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks by default.
That game can do no wrong!
In a move away from tradition, Mega Power makes pocket monsters more powerful through experimenting on them.
Funding the character’s adventure is a mysterious figure with lots and lots of cash. It’s unclear whether they want to find out more about Pokemon or just make a roid-raged team of super fighters…
… probably the second one, in all honesty.
With three new regions to play through and Pokemon from generations four through to seven, there’s plenty of familiar faces to encounter as you battle new characters and uncover just what the heck is going on!
3. Pokemon Unbound
Pokemon Unbound takes the 3rd spot in our best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks list, and it’s one of the most customisable adventures yet!
We’re heading to a place called Borrius in this game. Yes, it sounds like the blanket-fort den that Boris Johnson probably makes in his garden where he goes to cry, but its actually the setting for a wholly original Pokemon adventure.
Based on FireRed, this ROM hack allows players to chose from a plethora (yes, a plethora) of different costumes and customisable options for their characters. If you like to spend hours on character creation before even starting an adventure, then look no further!
With a whopping 80 quests to conquer and revamped systems for everything from how you collect HMs through to post-game scenarios, this ROM really provides the perfect alternative Pokemon experience.
And it has a whole new soundtrack comprised of 180 songs too!
4. Pokemon GS Chronicles
Pokemon GS Chronicles is often considered to be the best of the best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks in existence. Based on Gold and Silver, this version is basically a more in-depth edition of the original adventures with exciting new features.
In short, it’s the same storyline but with more Pokemon, new locations, and Mega Evolutions.
Everything is better with Mega Evolutions!
Unlike some ROM hacks, GS Chronicles receives regular updates. We’re talking oodles of time spent sorting out bugs that might occur and producing new content.
Plus, there’s always help available from the team behind it and other users if you stumble upon a problem while playing.
If we had a Retro Dodo stamp of approval, I’d stick one on your screen right now!
5. Pokemon Dark Rising
Dark Rising could be one of the trippiest Pokemon GBA ROM hacks out there.
We’ve all had dreams about Pokemon (not like that; get your brain out of the gutter!), but Dark Rising takes things to a new level.
A Pokemon comes to you in a dream and asks you to help it save the world. If this kind of thing really happened, I’d be trying to sleep 24/7 in the off-chance that I got chosen!
Oh, and your in-game best friend had the same dream too… coincidence?
Dark Rising isn’t a massive ROM, but it’s still a big game that gamers can sink their teeth into without it being over too quickly. Play through classic regions from Kanto to Unova collecting 380 Pokemon.
Compete to become the best trainer by battling gyms, solving puzzles, and all the other usual Pokemon RPG trials and tribulations.
Listen, if you like all the old Pokemon games but wish they had some modern features to spice them up a little bit, then Dark Rising is going to blow your mind. Download it now and get in on the action!
6. Pokemon Light Platinum
We’re keeping the best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks rolling with Pokemon Light Platinum Version, a spectacular reimagining of the original Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire games.
Normally, vanilla Pokemon games only let you move around one region. Light Platinum, however, lets you play through two regions: Zhery and Lauren.
There are so many different Pokemon from all the previous regions in the Pokemon series and the Elite Four Rivals to beat back, as well tough-as-nails gym leaders out to retain their positions.
Oh, and did I mention that you can travel between dimensions too?
Yeah, this is the ROM that keeps on giving! Plus, at the very end you take part in the Pokemon World Championship… pretty cool, huh?
7. Pokemon Dark Cry
Pokemon Dark Cry jumps into 7th position in our best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks list. Like Dark Rising, this ROM has a pretty in-depth storyline with some tricky, trippy twists.
After waking up in a strange cave, a shadow approaches you during a massive earthquake. You wake up again, realising that it was all a dream… but that dream is about to become more real than you could ever imagine.
Play through the brand new region of Trion, taking information on what to do at each stage from a publication called the PokePaper.
Take part in cool mini-games, delve into side-quests, and revel in a brand new Pokemon adventure! It’s one of our favourites and definitely one you should consider downloading!
8. Pokemon Gaia
Named after the Titaness of the Earth, Pokemon Gaia is one of the best Pokemon Fire Red hacks with a secret twist that we can’t get enough of.
I’m a huge fan of the fact that you can climb up walls and walk around underwater in this game. It’s almost like a very miniature, incredibly scaled down BOTW with Pokemon instead of Moblins.
Collect Pokemon from Kanto to Kalos creating the ultimate team of pocket fighters from across the years, going into battle with updated trainers in enhanced fights throughout fantastic locations.
Plus, you can teach all these old Pokemon new abilities and even have them Mega Evolve too!
9. Pokemon Liquid Crystal
A lot of the ROM hacks in this list are quite full on, but Liquid Crystal feels like a comfortable stroll down memory lane, accompanied by a hug from a warm marshmallow.
Rather than taking players on a story that requires maximum concentration, this feels more like an easy play, something that you can tackle while listening to the radio or watching your favourite show.
A brain calmer, as it were.
Explore the brand new area of the Orange Islands, play through the original Johto and Kanto regions, and discover new time-sensitive features and areas thanks to the day/night system.
If you loved the original Crystal version, then this should feel like a breath of crystal clear air!
10. Pokemon Glazed
Pokemon Glazed comes in at Number 10 in our list of the best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks of all time!
If you’re looking for a mysterious game where players have to explore ancient ruins and discover why the Pokemon world and real world are about to collide, then this is the game for you.
I realise that’s a very specific request to look for, but just roll with it.
Pick from one of five starter Pokemon as you collect and battle with monsters from the Rankor, Tunod, and Johto regions.
There’s also legendary rascals to capture from all the regions including eight from Unova.
Talk about making the ultimate team!
11. Pokemon Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma
Next up we have Pokemon Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma, a game based on not only Pokemon FireRed but also Gold, Silver, and Crystal.
Basically, all of the best ones!
There are over 800 Pokemon to collect in this game, with characters spanning from first generation to seventh gen.
It’s crammed full of modern feature such as Miracle Exchange and Mega Evolutions aswell.
With new sprites, new evolution stones, and new items to collect, this is a truly spectacular remake that pays homage to some of my favourite titles in the series while feeling utterly new at the same time.
Give this one a go; you won’t be disappointed!
12. Pokemon Sword & Shield GBA
What would it have been like if Pokemon Sword and Shield dropped onto the GBA?
Can you imagine playing under the covers with the annoying little worm light and seeing Zamazenta going up against Eternatus?
That’s what this hack recreates, turning the Switch hits into a GBA style game based on, you guessed it, Pokemon FireRed.
This is undoubtedly a brave and daring ROM hack to make, especially considering how much we loved Sword and Shield. Still, it works incredibly well, with trainers having the ability to Dynamax Pokemon, battle foes while defending Galar, and encounter 100 new Pokemon.
Ok, so it’ll never be as full-on as the Switch titles, but it’s a nice little hack to look at once you’ve taken Urshifu as far as you can on the Switch!
13. Pokemon Radical Red
Now, we might have written an article on the best Pokemon Radical Red cheats, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to cheat all the way through it while playing for the first time!
This ROM is incredible from start to finish, giving players a harder experience than other Pokemon games while simultaneously handing them improved tools to deal with the challenge.
One of those tools is the Pokenav, a sort of Sat Nav for finding the perfect Pokemon. I could have done with this in every Pokemon game going if I’m honest!
If you loved FireRed but wish that it could be even tougher and more advanced, then jump right into Radical Red. Change Pokemon natures, unlock secret abilities, and take part in raid battles!
14. Pokemon Ash Grey
If, like me, you were a humongous fan of the original Pokemon series starring Ash Ketchum, then the next entry in our best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks will be right up your street!
This game, as you might have already guessed, follows the exploits of Ash Ketchum, Misty, and Brock as gamers play through the events of the first series.
And it sticks insanely close to the plot too, throwing in elements of the Pokemon movies for good measure to create the ultimate fan-friendly title.
How you play is up to you – will you catch all of the Pokemon in the same order as Ash did and have the same team, or will you go off piste and make your own ultimate team?
There’s no extra Pokemon jumping in here or any fancy bells and whistles, just a perfectly recreated nostalgic adventure for you to enjoy!
15. Pokemon Emerald Rogue
It’s time to take a look at Pokemon Emerald Rogue, a roguelike ROM hack that should come with its own danger warning. Once you start playing, you’ll discover just how addictive it is, and then there’s no going back!
But what does roguelike mean?
Well, roguelike games are a type of RPG that are based around procedurally created levels. So, the levels change depending on your progress, meaning it’s hard to plan ahead because… well, you literally don’t know what’s around the next corner.
Rather than working through different towns and cities, there’s a main hub where players have the opportunity to catch Pokemon and stock up on goods before heading out on what is essentially a battle run. Get to the end and get a badge. Lose, and you’ll need to start again!
It’s tough, but if you love battling, then this is the ROM hack for you!
16. Pokemon Orange Islands
Let’s take a trip back to Pallet Town and rejoin Ash Ketchum as he heads out on a new mission from Professor Oak.
I know – I just threw so many nostalgia-inducing terms into that sentence that you’ll probably need to lay down now!
This time, Ash is heading to a place called Valencia Island, following the adventures of the Anime Series! If you followed the series closely, then nothing here will be much of a surprise, but for fans of this branch of the Pokemon story arc, it’ll be a sweet trip down memory lane!
Gamers can expect a brand new map to work through, all the original Gen 1 Pokemon, Pikachu as a Stater Pokemon, and new items to wield.
This is a short ROM hack with just 4 Gym leaders, but it’s a fun game for all the Anime fans out there!
17. Pokemon Ruby Destiny: Reign Of Legends
Last, but by no means least, is Pokemon Ruby Destiny: Reign Of Legends, a game that takes you into the brand new region of Gento.
Oh yeah, we’re island hopping in this game, exploring the islands of Lorina, Selaro, Retazo, and Borora while trying to stop Shadow Lugia from destroying the world.
Yep, you did just read that right! – if you thought Lugia was strong, then wait till you meet the Shadow variant!
The story has two factions of gangs to beat – one who wants to blind the world with light, the other who wants to cover it in darkness.
Come on guys, work together and find a happy medium!
The story in this ROM hack is incredibly clever and fun to play through. The gameplay is slick, it boasts all the legendary Pokemon up to Ruby, and there’s even a Baby Lugia!
- New region, Gento, consists of four main islands; Lorina, Selaro, Borora and Retazo
- New story, rivals and chain of events
- New tiles
- New evil gangs: Royal Darkness and Luminous Cenaries
- All legendaries obtainable (DP)
- Special Pokemon: Baby Lugia and Shadow Lugia
And that’s a wrap!
Thank you to all of the people involved with making the best Pokemon GBA ROM hacks listed above. We all appreciate the countless hours you put into bringing us these new adventures!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.