Videogame Review: Pokémon Reborn

There are a lot of fan-made video games out there that are truly impressive works all on their own, especially given that they were programmed and scripted by a mere one or two people.

One particular game franchise that has been made into many, many different fan-made variations is Pokémon; this game’s fanbase is massive, only evolving since the game’s original release in 1995 and subsequent expansion into all kinds of medias. So it comes as no surprise when a multitude of different fan-games start popping up.

However, there is one fan-made Pokémon game in particular that has caught the attention of
fans in a big way. Pokémon Reborn, a downloadable PC game, is courtesy of a young woman, Amethyst Liddell, who made the decision to start this project on a whim. Like most Pokémon gamers, Amethyst, “felt like more recent main series releases have been lacking,” so she decided to create a game for herself, with no plans for mainstream success.

But oh boy, do people like it. There are a number of walkthrough demos, interviews with Amethyst herself and online chat forums revolving around Pokémon Reborn, and for good reason. Personally speaking, it is by far the most involving and immersive fan-made Pokémon game I have ever played.

Set in an apocalyptic world where Pokémon are endangered and a new organization of criminals known as Team Meteor have risen, the player must take on the role of the hero to try and free the city from further decrepitude and destruction. The entire plot of the game has not entirely unfolded as the game is only released one episode at a time, each one more complex than the last.

When asked how long on average it takes to complete an episode, Amethyst stated that the
first one, released in early April 2012, only took her about two weeks to complete. However, she has found that the development time of each episode “continues to increase with each release, since the majority of the time is spent polishing and fixing existing content.” As of now, though, she believes that the average waiting time is about four to five months, but warns that this too might increase.

I can say with the utmost confidence that Pokémon Reborn is for relatively experienced Pokémon players. It contains all 721 Pokémon to date, a huge world map, new items as well as old items from the original games, 18 different gyms wherein each leader has a full team of Pokémon, and a brand new feature known as Field Effect, which challenges the player to have to be careful in their battle tactics, and gives their enemies a great advantage.

In addition, most of the Pokémon can only be obtained by completing side quests in the game. Another cool feature is choosing your character; the player has the choice of either being a boy, a girl or non-binary, and you have a wide choice of skin colours, too.

It should be warned that the game deals with some rather dark themes. For instance, one
character commits suicide, another runs away from home multiple times, and at one point, a police officer is found dead.

When asked if this had any impact on what kind of age group or audience this may be aimed at, Amethyst stated that she doesn’t think it’s aimed at a particular age group, “so much as a particular type of Pokémon fan. i.e people who want more from the series—in terms of challenge, depth, story, etc.”

As an immersive fan-made game, I highly recommend it to any Pokémon fan who likes a challenge. If you’re interested in learning a little more about the game and its creator, if you want to donate to help the project along or if you’re interested in downloading it and playing it yourself, you can visit the official website.

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