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While not the first MonColle (Monster Collection) RPG game —that honour goes to Dragon Quest— Pokémon is still undoubtedly one of the most popular franchises in the world. It regularly brings in more cash for Nintendo, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company than mega-media brands Star Wars and Hello Kitty combined. It is no surprise to anyone then that the series has its fair share of fans, or that some of those fans might be game developers that want to have a go at making their own version.
In this article we’re going to tell you about our three favourite Pokémon fan games and then go on to tell you about three retail releases undoubtedly made by groups of Pokémon fans.
The Best Pokémon Fan Games
Pokémon Uranium Version
This is one of the go-to recommendations for Pokémon fan games within the wider community. It was developed in RPG Maker XP using the Pokémon Essentials sub-engine gameplay code as it’s code base.
Set in the made-up Tandor Region, the game has a heavy emphasis on storytelling and often focuses on a compelling mystery. You will find that the game’s narrative and mystery is threaded throughout its version of the standard ‘defeat the Gym Leaders’ game narrative. Uranium introduces 150 new Pokémon species, including Nuclear type Pokémon. Nuclear Pokémon can be considered similar to Shadow Pokémon from Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD, or the regional variants of creatures from Pokémon Sun & Moon and Pokémon Sword & Shield. They’re corrupted, altered versions of official monsters that everyone already knows and loves.
We recommend this one, although Nintendo had it taken down with a DMCA shortly after it’s release so it can be a bit hard to find sometimes.
This one is like Uranium, but it’s also edgy. It is similarly made in RPG Maker on the Pokémon Essentials code base and tells another story set in a non-official region of the Pokémon world called Torren. As well as Mega Evolutions, it introduces new “Delta” Pokemon that are like the regional variants again, with different typings and some spooky changes to their art designs.
Insurgence has a lot to like about it, with really nice pixel art and solid game design in several spots. Unfortunately it also has swearing in it and tells a dark story about cults and their behaviour, which means younger kids shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near it.
This is probably the most unique fan game there is, as it successfully turns Pokemon into a free-to-play MMORPG. You can play four regions in it, with gameplay taking place in Kanto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova — we’re not sure why they’ve left out the best region Johto, from Generation 2, but we know we don’t like it.
One of the strange things about PokéMMO is that each region is presented as it was in it’s original game release, which means art styles often clash or change from area to area. This is especially evident when a player goes to the 3D Unova region from DS games Black & White, as it is the only 3D place in the game. We know PokéMMO is a fan game, but it is jarring all the same. Still, it’s good fun going after the gym badges in a world where you can chat with your friends.
I Can’t Believe They’re Not Pokémon Fan Games
While some fans are content to just play in Nintendo’s sandbox and put their own spins on things for free, others have taken it a step further. Those fans have created their own competing products that are obviously inspired by and often build upon aspects of the MonColle genre games that they love. If you like Pokémon enough to want to play fan game releases, you’ll likely want to check at least one of these out games too.
PCube’s Nexomon tells the story of an orphan that saves the world from extinction with his monster friends and allies. With over 300 monsters to collect, and retro gameplay and battle mechanics that generally feel more like Pokémon Generations 1-4 than later entries in Game Freak’s franchise, there’s a lot here for Pokémon fans to enjoy.
Nexomon is available on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
This game is another take on the often asked for Pokémon MMO concept, this time from CremaGames. Players can travel across the six islands of the Airborne Archipelago, catching monsters and battling NPC Temtem tamers. The coolest thing about Temtem in general is that you get to customise your character and share a world with other players in real time. On top of that, the entire game can be played in co-op with a friend. Time to live out your Pokémon anime protagonist dreams.
Temtem is available on Steam and PlayStation 5.
Monster Crown comes from Studio Aurum. It promises a fully realised Game Boy Colour style world with over 200 base monsters to collect, trade and battle. What primarily sets Crown apart from the rest of the competition, is the systems it has in place to create what the developer refers to as ‘true’ crossbreeds. Monster breeding has been a large part of the competitive meta of game series like Pokémon since Generation 2, but the way it works has remained fairly rudimentary in comparison.
Set on Crown Island, the game’s story has the player make pacts with strange monsters to prevent the return of evil and tyranny. Studio Aurum also promises in-game decision making that will really matter and determine the direction in which your story and it’s post-game content will ultimately go. The creators seem like real fans of MonColle games, as they have also confirmed that they took some inspiration from other games in the same genre like Dragon Quest Monsters and Keitai Denjū Telefang. One of the coolest things about the game is that they have actually now hired a Telefang monster designer to work on creatures for the game. This is sort of big news for monster game fans, as the last entry in the Telefang series was released for Game Boy Advance back in 2002.
Monster Crown is available on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
What did you think of these Pokémon fan games and spiritual sequels? Are there any big ones out there that you think we’ve missed? We tried not to include Pokémon ROM hacks here because they’re a different thing. If you’d like to see us cover Pokémon hacks and how to apply .ips file mods in the future, then let us know in the comments below. Just like mods? Then why not check out our list of the Sonic fan games we’re excited about?