10 Best NDS Pokemon ROM Hacks

Recapture the NDS's Pokemon nostalgia!

Amirul Annuar
Amirul Annuar - Writer
13 Min Read

Despite their differences, every Pokemon game on the Nintendo DS (NDS) holds a genuinely dear place in the hearts of all Poke fans. Many yearn to revisit Kanto, Johto, and Unova under more modern, updated settings.

Thanks to the sheer determination and hard work of highly respectable Pokemon lovers, we can now do so by checking out ten of the most amazing NDS Pokemon ROM hacks ever created!


Pokemon Sacred Gold

Creator: Drayano
Base ROM: Pokemon HeartGold
Region: Johto, Kanto

We start things strongly by looking at Pokemon Sacred Gold, a hugely popular NDS ROM hack created by the impressive Drayano for 2009’s Pokemon HeartGold.

Depicting Ho-Oh – one of the coolest bird Pokemon ever – as the same game mascot, Pokemon Sacred Gold introduces tons of new content while changing other in-game elements to refresh the experience; all done while respecting the base game’s story, vibe, and atmosphere.

All catchable Pokemon up to Gen 4 (including Legendaries)
National Pokedex unlocked
Multiple storyline expansions
Replaced trade evolutions with item requirements
Enhanced selected Pokemon moves
Harder Gym Leaders and Elite Four (start with full teams of 6 Pokemon already)
Revised wild Pokemon spawn locations and catch rates


Pokemon Storm Silver

Creator: Drayano
Base ROM: Pokemon SoulSilver
Region: Johto, Kanto

Pokemon Storm Silver is Drayano’s NDS ROM hack for Pokemon SoulSilver, sharing the same changes made to Pokemon Sacred Gold. As far as anyone can tell, the only difference noticeable between the two is the game’s cover Pokemon, Lugia.

Everything else about Storm Silver is as Sacred Gold; the addition of new side stories, rejigged Pokemon encounters, and better NPC trainers for an increased challenge, all done in the essence of the original’s theme and concept.

Complete Pokemon roster up to Gen 4 (including Legendaries)
Unlocked National Pokedex
New intermittent storylines
Unique items replacing trade evolutions
Updates to non-competitive Pokemon moves
Tougher Gym Leaders and Elite Four (all teams consist of 6 Pokemon with different lineups from the beginning)
Changed wild Pokemon locations and catch chances


Pokemon Renegade Platinum

Creator: Drayano
Base ROM: Pokemon Platinum
Region: Sinnoh

Yet another Drayano masterpiece is Pokemon Renegade Platinum, a ROM hack for 2008’s Pokemon Platinum. Many heralded additions were retained from his other works, like all catchable Pokemon up to Gen 4, and easily obtainable Johto and Kanto starters in-game.

What’s different is that Renegade Platinum introduces Fairy-type Pokemon into the mix, alongside other incredible quality-of-life improvements, such as better Pokemon level scaling, and refinements to some attacking moves.

Entire Pokemon catalog up to Gen 4
Significantly cheaper Pokeballs (all types)
Introduction of the Fairy type
Revamped dual typings
Special in-game instances and narrative events
Quicker Pokemon evolutions
Altered NPC trainers’ AI, increasing difficulty
Near-perfect Pokemon stats and natures for Gym Leaders and the Elite Four


Pokemon Silver Yellow

Creator: brtatu
Base ROM: Pokemon SoulSilver
Region: Johto, Kanto

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver provided the perfect setting for you to role-play as one of the best trainers in Pokemon history; the iconic Red from Pallet Town. As such, dedicated Poke fan, brtatu, remade SoulSilver into a modernized version of the old-school Pokemon Yellow, resulting in today’s Pokemon Silver Yellow!

Silver Yellow isn’t exactly a complete rehash, though, because brtatu added some interesting events, Mega Evolutions, and noteworthy trainers, like Lucas (the protagonist of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum), to spice things up.

If you haven’t played the classic Pokemon Yellow on the original Game Boy before, you should definitely try Silver Yellow right now, especially when you get one of the cutest Pokemon ever, Pikachu, as your starter!

Mega Evolutions for the Kanto starters
Remixed battle music
Many capturable Legendaries
New storylines/ events unlocking fresh locations
Trade evolutions changed to standard leveling/ item holding
Slightly tricky installation/ patching process
Some specific Overworld actions may freeze the game (SAVE OFTEN!)


Pokemon Volt White 2 Redux

Creator: AphexCubed, Drayano
Base ROM: Pokemon White 2
Region: Unova

Fans of Pokemon White and White 2 should look forward to AphexCubed’s collab with Drayano (yes, him again!), leading to the birth of the now-celebrated Pokemon Volt White 2 Redux!

Initially a standalone project, AphexCubed’s ideas on improving Pokemon White 2 coincided with concepts implemented in Drayano’s finalized Pokemon Volt White 2 ROM hack. Intrigued by AphexCubed’s proposed changes, their combined efforts bore fruit in the Redux version by way of redesigned difficulty modes, more realistic Pokemon typings, and many more.

Inclusion of Gen 8 moves
More Pokemon encounters per area
All capturable Pokemon up to Gen 5
No more restrictive trade evolutions
Expanded storyline and Legendary events
Difficulty modes unlocked near the start
Almost all trainers have reshuffled Pokemon parties (including Gym Leaders and the Elite Four)
Item acquisitions are much different than the vanilla version


Pokemon Blaze Black 2 Redux

Creator: AphexCubed, Drayano
Base ROM: Pokemon Black 2
Region: Unova

Besides Pokemon Volt White 2 Redux, AphexCubed and Drayano created a Pokemon Black 2 rendition of the ROM hack as well; Pokemon Blaze Black 2 Redux.

Adopting many of Drayano’s Blaze Black 2 changes, the redux version implements similar extras to Volt White 2 Redux, except for aesthetical differences and their Legendary mascots. So, feel free to jump to Blaze Black 2 Redux if you fancy getting Zekrom or Black Kyurem into your party instead!

Updated Pokemon moves (up to Gen 8)
Increased wild Pokemon varieties
Complete Pokemon list up to Gen 5
Items replacing trade evos
Addition of new events
Quick access to the different difficulty modes
Increased NPC trainers’ difficulty curve (especially Gym Leaders and the Elite Four)
Different methods of acquiring key items in-game


Pokemon Pure Crystal

Creator: suaqua
Base ROM: Pokemon HeartGold/ SoulSilver
Region: Johto, Kanto

Next, Pokemon Pure Crystal is a fun NDS ROM hack created by another devoted Pokemon fan, suaqua, who modeled its entire premise on Pokemon Crystal, a game released for the Game Boy Color back in 2000.

Essentially, Pure Crystal strives to maintain a coherent feel tying Pokemon HeartGold/ SoulSilver to the original Crystal version albeit enhanced for mainstream audiences. It isn’t a major overhaul per se, but expect smarter NPC trainers, powered-up moves, and altered Pokemon stats, among others.

Able to capture all Pokemon up to Gen 4
Many Pokemon are now more competitive
New wild Pokemon encounters
Certain special Pokemon moves added
Trade evos removed
Wild Pokemon are slightly stronger
Need to adapt to some of the Pokemon type changes
NPCs have harder Pokemon team comps (especially Gym Leaders and the Elite Four)


Pokemon MoonSilver

Creator: walnut3072
Base ROM: Pokemon SoulSilver
Region: Johto, Kanto

For those seeking an almost completely new experience, Pokemon MoonSilver is one of two NDS ROM hacks made by walnut3072 (a.k.a. Quan) that you might be interested in.

Although the game’s storyline is grounded in Pokemon SoulSilver‘s, many of its gameplay mechanics and systems are significantly overridden, such as new Pokemon types’ effectiveness, unique signature moves, and slower-paced progression.

It can be a bit overwhelming for new-generation players, but it’s a welcomed change of pace for veterans.

Every Pokemon up to Gen 4
Inclusion of the Fairy type
Realistic Pokemon typings
Many empowered Pokemon moves
Entirely new moves introduced
Extensive changes to type matchups
Relearning of affected Pokemon moves and best uses
Scarier Gym Leaders and Elite Four (with new Pokemon using special moves)
Slower evolutions for starter Pokemon


Pokemon SunGold

Creator: walnut3072
Base ROM: Pokemon HeartGold
Region: Johto, Kanto

Pokemon SunGold is the other ROM hack worked on by walnut3072 for Pokemon HeartGold, and this one mainly suits long-time Pokemon players who are looking for a more satisfying challenge.

Despite adopting many of the same features seen in MoonSilver, SunGold goes the extra mile by randomizing wild Pokemon spawn locations, varied Pokemon types for NPC teams, and more.

If MoonSilver isn’t testing you enough, then SunGold could be a better fit.

Obtainable Gen 1 – Gen 4 Pokemon
Sensible Pokemon typings, including Fairy
New exclusive moves
Improvements to underutilized Pokemon moves
Quality-of-life changes (instantaneous text dialogues, etc.)
Meta changes to type matchups
Adapting to new powerful moves
Beefier Pokemon lineups for Gym Leaders and the Elite Four
Tedious level grind for Pokemon starters’ evolutions
Randomized wild Pokemon encounters


Pokemon Moon Black 2

Creator: JrFort, Aster
Base ROM: Pokemon Black 2
Region: Unova

Lastly, Pokemon Moon Black 2 is a complete overhaul of Pokemon Black 2, co-created by JrFort and Aster. Using Pokemon Sun and Moon as their inspiration, both of them brought seventh-generation Pokemon into Unova, replacing many of the default ones to bring about a new storyline and experience for NDS players.

You’ll be seeing Alolan Pokemon from the very beginning, and important characters are changed to those from Alola, such as Professor Kukui acting as the game’s Pokemon researcher now. Much new content has been added too, including the legendary bat Pokemon, Lunala!

For Poke fans who have never played Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, or Ultra Moon before, Pokemon Moon Black 2 on the NDS is a good start albeit an unofficial one.

Selected Gen 6 and Gen 7 Pokemon present
Many Mega Evolutions available
Ingenius new Pokemon forms
Refreshed story arcs
Various famous trainers to battle
Certain in-game elements may be missing or buggy (mismatched Pokemon cries, missing Fairy-type labels, etc.)
May encounter freezes/ crashes due to the tremendous changes made (recommended saving before important events)


These are the ten best NDS Pokemon ROM hacks you should keep an eye out for. Expanding on their base games’ core designs and systems, you might be glued to the NDS console or emulator as you embark on a brand-new Pokemon adventure for hours on end now!

That being said, if you have other suggested Pokemon ROM hacks that deserve mention too, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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By Amirul Annuar Writer
Amirul is a proud gamer, always busy writing articles, scripts, and guides when he’s not with family or connected in-game.Extremely friendly, chill, and laid back, Amirul always looks towards the positive side of things when the going gets tough.
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