8 Best Pokemon Nintendo 3DS ROM Hacks (2024)

Alola, Kalos, and Hoenn revamped with more exciting features!

Amirul Annuar
Amirul Annuar - Writer
13 Min Read

Boasting impressive 3D capabilities for a handheld console, the Nintendo 3DS (N3DS) was both transformative and unique during its run between 2011 and 2020. With over 75 million copies sold worldwide, Pokemon games were among its strongest catalog appeals leading to its success.

A few years after the end of its cycle, many dedicated Pokemon fans continue preserving the console’s Pokemon games by introducing splendid ROM hacks for everyone to play. If you’re itching for a new Pokemon playthrough, here are eight of the best Pokemon Nintendo 3DS ROM hacks playable today!


Pokemon Supernova Sun & Penumbra Moon

Creator: Dio Vento
Base ROM: Pokemon Ultra Sun, Pokemon Ultra Moon
Region: Alola

On the N3DS, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon offer the most extensive Pokemon experience, compared to the others released for the system. As such, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the first Pokemon ROM hack(s) deserving mentions pertains to these two games: Pokemon Supernova Sun and Pokemon Penumbra Moon.

Created by the seasoned Dio Vento, the base Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon adventure becomes even more challenging and unpredictable, making your new playthrough a lot more fun! You’ll be greeted by many Pokemon originating from previous generation games, besides alterations to their move sets and abilities to make them significantly more viable for battling.

Many other mechanics have also been changed to adjust to both ROM hacks’ difficulty curves, such as unrestricted Poke Mart items being sold very early on. Not to mention, Pokemon teams for priority battles have also been redesigned, like those of the Captains, Kahunas, and Pokemon League! Truly, Supernova Sun and Penumbra Moon make Alola feel like an entirely new region again.

Insane wild Pokemon variety
Different game builds to play according to preference (Legit, Leveled, Expanded)
Quicker access to powerful Pokemon moves
All Pokemon retouched for better battling use (stats, moves, typing, etc.)
Extremely competitive AI (strategies, counter-type moves, held items, etc.)
Inaccessible Revive and Full Restore during battle (including drastic price hikes)


Pokemon Rutile Ruby & Star Sapphire

Creator: Dio Vento
Base ROM: Pokemon Omega Ruby, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
Region: Hoenn

Dio Vento returns with another impressive N3DS Pokemon ROM hack(s) for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: Pokemon Rutile Ruby and Pokemon Star Sapphire!

Both ROM hacks are improved versions of the Hoenn-game remakes, boasting more value than the ultimate Pokemon Emerald package years ago. This time, you can capture even more Pokemon right from the start, with some edited to be feasible for battles (even up to the Pokemon League)!

Trainers are a lot more difficult to break down this time around, but that’s why numerous tweaks have been implemented to level things around, like competitive items being sold in Poke Marts now. If you haven’t explored Hoenn before, these ROM hacks should be a good place to begin with over the original experiences.

Welcomed improvements to underused Pokemon (moves, abilities, etc.)
More Mega Evolutions appear during battles
Increased wild Pokemon diversity
Extremely cheap priority items (Poke Balls, Repels, etc.)
Increasingly harder trainer battles (stronger Pokemon, better type coverage, etc.)
End-game items like Revive and Full Restore are significantly more expensive


Pokemon Rising Ruby & Sinking Sapphire

Creator: Drayano
Base ROM: Pokemon Omega Ruby, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
Region: Hoenn

Many long-time Pokemon fans – especially those familiar with Pokemon ROM hacks – will likely already know about the popular Drayano. He’s the creator of many previous years’ beloved Pokemon games, like Pokemon Renegade Platinum and Pokemon Blaze Black 2, among others.

Here, he’s back with a glorious ROM hack(s) for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire; the expansive Pokemon Rising Ruby and Pokemon Sinking Sapphire! Literally every Pokemon up to Gen 6 can be caught in Hoenn now, with almost all of them receiving boosts to their stats and abilities.

It’s a Poke maniac’s playground, particularly with all Mega Evolutions added in, including in opposing trainers’ parties during battles! In turn, this also means tougher Pokemon teams to overcome, but Drayano manages to nail the perfect balance between medium-difficult and impossibly hard.

All Gen 6 Pokemon catchable
Revisioned move sets for nearly every Pokemon (quicker to learn, egg moves available, etc.)
Buffed up weak Pokemon moves
Pokemon evolutions made easier
Quick to over-level (if grinding via EXP Share turned on)
Gym battles can be a pain (wider type-weakness coverages, Mega-Evolution Pokemon, etc.)


Pokemon Ancestral X

Creator: Axyn
Base ROM: Pokemon X
Region: Kalos

A list of the best Pokemon ROM hacks for the N3DS would be incomplete without one focusing on the Kalos region, and Axyn’s Pokemon Ancestral X jumps right into the fray. Exclusively for Pokemon X, Ancestral X is mainly a difficulty ROM hack catering to Nuzlocke masochists.

Admittedly, in Ancestral X, getting beaten by trainers and gym leaders eventually becomes normal considering the ROM hack’s improved AI and Pokemon team synergies. What you should get excited about is the chance to catch many legendary Pokemon in the wild, and not just the Fairy-type Pokemon, Xerneas!

Other noteworthy features of Ancestral X include increased shiny Pokemon odds, updated Mega Evolutions (even used by the AI), dual types introduced for almost all Pokemon, and so much more!

Gen 1 – Gen 6 Pokemon obtainable (catching, breeding, etc.)
Inclusion of Mega Evolutions from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
A portable PC for Pokemon storage management
Almost every item is purchasable from the Poke Mart early on
EVs have been removed
Some moves’ PPs have been reduced
Relearn Pokemon weaknesses due to dual-typing additions (particularly punishing during trainer battles, gyms, etc.)


Pokemon Eternal X & Wilting Y

Creator: Buffel Saft
Base ROM: Pokemon X, Pokemon Y
Region: Kalos

If your eyes are still fixed on the Kalos region, Pokemon Eternal X and Wilting Y are also splendid N3DS ROM hacks for Pokemon X and Pokemon Y respectively. At heart, they’re difficulty ROM hacks offering four distinct experiences depending on what you need, be it casual Nuzlocking (Legal build) or easier Pokemon farming for online PvP (Online build).

Both are 721-Pokemon games, meaning you can catch/ acquire all Kalos and previous-gen Pokemon in one playthrough! Furthermore, early-game leveling is facilitated, letting you grow your first-stage Pokemon rather quickly.

You might even get your starter’s hidden ability from the get-go, among other great things prepared by the creator, Buffel Saft.

Four installable versions/ builds according to preference (Legal, Rebalanced, Insanity, Online)
All Kalos’s National-Pokedex Pokemon obtainable in-game
Faster leveling for early-to-mid-stage Pokemon evolutions
Pokemon tweaks to improve battling potentials (stats, moves, etc.)
Intensely difficult trainer battles (especially for the Insanity version)
Drastic jump in Pokemon levels for subsequent trainer battles


Pokemon Photonic Sun & Prismatic Moon

Creator: Buffel Saft
Base ROM: Pokemon Ultra Sun, Pokemon Ultra Moon
Region: Alola

Continuing from his Pokemon Eternal X and Wilting Y hacks, Buffel Saft introduced two more Pokemon re-releases: Pokemon Photonic Sun and Prismatic Moon for Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon!

Adapting similar features from his previous works, many Pokemon receive incredible updates to their setup, like Golisopod – one of the best Pokemon ever – getting Shell Armor as its hidden ability. Apart from that, all Pokemon from earlier generations are also present all over the Alola region.

Pokemon battles are painful, though, because trainers’ Pokemon also receive buffs to their team compositions, move sets, and stats. Nevertheless, EV training can be managed via purchasable berries to reduce their respective EV points, among other noticeable things implemented.

Two playable versions (Standard, Rebalanced)
Massive changes to many Pokemon (abilities, typing, etc.)
All Gen 1 – Gen 7 Pokemon available
Various top-grade items buyable from vendors and Poke Marts
Excrutiatingly harder Pokemon battles
Scarier totem Pokemon (modified allies, stats, etc.)


Pokemon Neo X & Neo Y

Creator: Flintiex
Base ROM: Pokemon X, Pokemon Y
Region: Kalos

If you’re more keen on the vanilla Pokemon X and Pokemon Y adventure but only interested in elevating the difficulty curve and introducing a wider range of Pokemon to Kalos, then Pokemon Neo X and Neo Y could be for you.

Generally, many things remain true to their original counterparts, but conversations have been edited to be more quirky or adult-oriented. Still, all Pokemon from Gen 1 to Gen 7 are here, with tons of them getting improved upon by way of new abilities, moves learned, and more.

Pokemon battles should not be underestimated too because trainers have had their Pokemon teams adjusted to be more competitive, so take that into account!

Capturable 721 Pokemon
Held Mega Stones on specific wild Pokemon
Numerous changes to many Pokemon (typing, moves, abilities, etc.)
Seems to only work with a Gateway 3DS (complicated to play/ unplayable on PC emulators)


Pokemon Subnoodle Edition

Creator: ThePokeSpectre
Base ROM: Pokemon Omega Ruby
Region: Hoenn

Pokemon Subnoodle Edition is the final entry on this list, and it’s one of the most bizarre yet enjoyable ones out there! Created by ThePokeSpectre, Subnoodle‘s world revolves around new characters representing actual Discord subscribers to the famous Pokemon Youtuber, Patterrz.

You’ll find loads of crazy texts and real-world references about Patterrz and other YouTube influencers here, with some of them bringing comedic relief to the game’s difficulty spike. Speaking of which, the game can be pretty tough to beat at times, culpable to the game’s improvisations made to trainers’ Pokemon lineups and more.

That being said, you benefit from the same changes too, so those cute Pokemon that you thought were weak last time out are now legitimate threats in battle. Plus, there are actual Hoenn forms and unique NPCs in this game, guaranteeing a different outlook on the vanilla experience!

Wacky, goofy dialogue
Surprise, funny character additions
Twists to Pokemon types, moves, etc.
Original Hoenn forms
Unpredictable trainer teams
Difficulty can be infuriating


There you go; the eight best Pokemon Nintendo 3DS ROM hacks you should consider getting for your N3DS or emulator right now. Think we missed a few? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

If you’re interested in installing the best Pokemom ROM hacks for the Nintendo DS (NDS) or Game Boy Advance (GBA), you can also find both right here at WhatIfGaming!

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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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