Mutations and Surf Ninja’s : Pokémon Uranium Review

Hello Island Guests, Today we are finally back to our normal content! If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed I completed another Pokémon Fan Game recently!
This time it’s time for for a very powerful Pokémon game that is also a bit toxic! It is time for Pokémon Uranium.

Pokemon Uranium is an RPG maker fan-game filled with Fakemon but also houses a handful of the originals, which are either given an extra evolution like Dunsparce , Corsola or Primeape or are now given a Mega Evolution, Like Arbok  and Whimsicott.  We also start in an entirely new Region called the Tandor Region which I must say is a pretty interesting region to travel through, despite  few flaws.. like it has two maps and you can’t fly from one to another.  Which is annoying since the Pokémon League and move Deleter are on different maps. The  game  shows us some interesting new features such as HM gadgets that render these pesky moves obsolete once you have overcome a few challenges that require the move, battles with special rules like being unable to use items and even has a few bad endings.

That is right you can die in this Pokémon game. In fact.. the whole region can die if you perform poorly! With an engine that is mostly based around Diamond and Pearl  or at least the tileset this is also a better looking game than 90% of the Pokémon Fan games out there. As Diamond and Pearl is the fourth generation game..with DS assets while the majority of fangames uses Ruby and Sapphire! The story is darker and a bit deeper but still feels quite pokémon esque unlike for example Pokémon Reborn which  goes much further. Still this game feels quite unique and then we haven’t even discussed the main unique feature of this game. 


Most Pokémon games try to have their one unique thing they introduce at least. Be it Double Battles, Contests, Mega-Evolution, Dynamax there is almost always something. This game follows that trope and in doing so feels more like a real pokémon game that plenty of others.
Where normal rom hacks or fan games usually mimic the style of one game or another, Pokémon Uranium introduces a new mechanic that makes it feel more like a hypothetical new generation game that stays fairly true to the core game. I could see this be a  generation between Gen IV and Gen VI. Their fakemons are mostly cleverly designed..with some stinkers but overall a strong lineup.. and their  special feature. Nuclear Pokémon.

Nuclear is a typing that can be occur on pokémon and replaces their second typing. Nuclear attacks are called stuff like Gamma Ray or Half Life among a few others and are  Super Effective on ALL Pokémon types except nuclear, but never doubly so.  Yet every other type can hit them super effectively as well. Nuclear types are super powerful.. but a pokémon that went nuclear (like pokémon that also exist in another variant)  will disobey you as if you do not have any badges.. so they are very tricky to use!  Until a later point in the game, yet the also counter any typing shortage your team might have! A double edged sword.

Overall I had a pleasant journey through the Tandor Region and a nice adventures. That is mostly due to the aesthetics this game has. It looks really beautiful for a fangame. I love 80% of the new pokémon and  some of these fakemons I might have a trouble with letting them go as Real Pokémon. They are that real to me.  Fakemon like Owten who is a pokémon you encounter very early game really feels like it could be something you find in the games.  Most of the team I ran during my Uranium Journey had those traits. The black and green design of all the Nuclear Pokémon is also very good and help this game have it’s own distinct visual style!

Instead of a female or a male trainer you can choose a masculine, feminine or androgynous looking sprite and choose the way you wish to be referred as in dialogue! A nice little touch,  that makes that can really help you relate to your trainer a bit more.  All these sprites feel unique and have a healthy dose of personality.  I choose the most bright looking sprite and while human art from the front isn’t always great, the quality of the backsprites in this game is amazing! I like them a lot better than most of the other sprite work, which weirdly encourages me to capture stuff that have lesser artwork to check out if their back sprite is any good. 

The music is also very pretty while there isn’t to much original music in the game all of these pieces have been rearranged and fit their environment beautifully! Gen IV had a bit this mechanical feel ot their sound and here it feels a bit more natural at least for the cities and exploration .. which works great because when you face Uranium Pokémon or go into battle against trainers it gets that “electric” quality this really  makes you feel the contradictions of a 11 year or 12 year old to venture into the world versus the harshness of reality when it comes to battles.

If you lose the wrong battles.. you don’t get send back to a pokémon center no you get a message that your senses faded away and you were never heard from again. You are dead! Meanwhile outside combat you collect cute creatures explore luscious jungles, white sand beaches and beautiful cities! Tandor has a very interesting geographical layout filled with all sort of unique feeling locations! It doesn’t feel like a moved around Sinnoh.. this feels like it’s own thing. That is what this game does REALLY REALLY well! It feels like Pokémon throughout..but it also feels like it’s own thing! Looks-wise, soundwise, onewise! This feels like a Pokémon game you want to play.

For the most part this is also true about the games story!  It has its own feeling to it while keeping enough of the tone of the original to not immediately feel as a fangame.  The game starts inside a nuclear power plant. Your mother Lucille is tending to a station when a Meltdown suddenly becomes imminent. While the plant is evacuated she dives into a room to do something and then the power plant explodes.. and your mother is never heard of again.. and we skip a few years into the future! Your dad once a loving family member now has become cold and distant.. consumed by his duties as a Pokémon Ranger and you are raised by your elderly aunt.

When professor Bambo’o is recruiting two new research assistants you finally get of your aunt’s back and start a journey to win all eight gym badges but also investigate what is happening at the Power Plants..as they all begin to explode and poison the region. A mysterious entity by the name of Curie..who speaks in green letters for some reason.. is gather Uranium to power up her Pokémon Urayne so it can plunge the region into years of darkness. It feels a bit if Fallout met Pokémon.. but the rules and consequences of the Pokéverse still mostly apply. The story feels dark but still makes classic choices honouring it’s roots.

While the main story seems like.. any pokémon plot really! This story is quite a bit better executed. Where in Red and Blue we only learn about Mewtwo very late in game, the sense of things going on, the ideas of where the story is going is present from the first moments. Dialogue comes back later, a character trait early game will play a role later on.. or sets a character up for growth. It feels like a much less “static” story as it is in most pokémon games. Things do do not happen because the plot demands it, things happen because of earlier things set in motion. A character makes a mistake based on events that happened before.  It all feels more logical and rewarding.

Your rival in this game Theo, might be one of the best rivals I have ever seen in a Pokémon game. He starts out from a super annoying whiny kid but due to the events of the story he is forced to grow up fast. The game also establishes a sense of time passing.Theo ages up a bit during the adventure, making it feel much more a story that spans months than it feels like a story that spans days.  His journey makes ours even more impressive! Quite well done! Other clever ideas like implementing a pokémon speech translator also gives you a chance to do things you  can not do in other pokémon games and allows for some interesting side stories. 

Unfortunately the writers are their own worst enemy. While world building is quite consistent there are a few characters that fall so aggravatingly out of tone it drags you out of the story. I do mind Garlikid, the pokémon super hero as he is actually kind of cute.. but when you finally get the HM for Surf and need to make your way to a city that is basically Venice in name and look, you suddenly encounter Surf Ninjas..out of nowhere. They do not fit the world but are still there. While I would not mind them to be played for laughs for a bit this goes on and on. Eventually you become the Hokage of the Surf Ninja Clan and they rescue you from Pirate Jack.

Then there are characters that are go like Ai I am G1RL G4M3R bo11iii!  I do not mind fourth wall breaking pokémon games.. like Pokémon Clover but not when you try to tell this story this way.  You build such an impressive world and then you put in this humor that doesn’t connect with the world but instead with the people reading the text.  Eh.. I can’t be and immersed in a world AND enjoy fourth wall breaking humor at the same time.  That would be as if Deadpool suddenly was placed in Lord of the Rings. Humor in a dark game is great, it can relieve the tension and keep the story more digestible but some of the Meta humor here doesnt work. You can turn on L33T speak as the actual in game language, which reminds me of of the unlockables of old..but never did it clash this much with the product it was in! Luckily this only effects mostly the second act of the game but still it’s a shame. Yet it is no where near as bad as it’s biggest flaw.


The game so far is amazing , except for a pesky flaw this game so far is one of the amazing ones in it’s set up.. technically it is very impressive, though the game can really experience some frame drops and tends to slow down a bit. Which would not have been that much of a problem except for one element of this game is truly off.  That unfortunately is the gameplay. This game is INSANELY grindy. In an attempt to raise the difficulty of this game I think the enemies raise in level so fast that I resorted to cheating in a xp boosting item for the sake of being able to review this game without having to grind for hours .. due to a lack of a speed up button, unlike most rom hacks and even some fan games. 

Even with a Lucky Egg for all my team members (which boosts experience to 150%)  I ended up so underleveled that I barely could take down a pokémon in the grass without losing a pokémon. The routes between cities are very long, there were routes where I really had to avoid trainer battles until later, just so I would not run out of usable moves on my team. Being underleveld really eats at your power points more .. so often even when I was at 75% of a route, I had to backtrack to the last city to heal and get PP back and defeat the remining trainers for experience. At the Pokémon League I was 8 levels behind.. on my strongest pokémon and I did not run away from wild encounters all that much either. If you do not cheat you basically can not swap Pokémon if you encounter a new more interesting one.. and in a Fakemon game where every pokémon is new. .you kinda want to do that.

A fair few evolutions require trade, a special item, a unique move or whatever so if you really want a good team you’ll find yourself being forced to use guides a lot. Because you are so underleveld you need to play flawlessly or grind for hours and hours on end.  This game cleverly chose to let most pokémon only evolve once so they can have more diverse fakemon to it rather than 3 times the same one slightly different.. now you only need 2.. yet this results into the big flaw that XP per encounter is relatively low..Fully evolved pokemon offer more xp but since there are so many evolution lines.. encountering a fully evolved pokémon is much harder.

Even at level 41 you still encounter basic pokémon that just evolve 1 level after you capture them. Because evolutions are cool to see. Yet it still means if you defeat it in combat it’s bad xp. Movesets of pokémon are usually really good and diverse, borderline competivie by default which in turn means.. if your pokémon can not one-shot everything .. they are going to take a lot of damage.. making the grinding even less fun because now you also have to constantly spam items or run back to the pokécenter. I do not mind this increased difficulty for trainer battles as those can be strategised by using typings.. however with grinding you just try to put experience on a specific monster so with movesets this good.. you’ll take a lot of damage.. since grinding is needed.. backtracking is needed and so the game spirals downwards fast.

That being said there is nothing wrong with running an underleveled team and to be fair the game gives you a lot of money , which can be used for healing items, it also gives you the best easily findable  Technical Machines I’ve ever seen in a pokemon game, so move and healing item wise you can make progress in this game under leveled… but then you reach the Pokémon League which is an actual league.. props to them for that. In which you face random opponents you faced earlier with a themed team at level 70. The problem is.. in the pokémon league you can not use items!

If you lose the league you might get other opponents. So if your team lacks 1 one counter while it is under-leveled.. you can flat up lose without any fighting chance.  Every team has weakness-coverage as well..so if you lose your steel type or poison type user against that ground type they have on their fairy team you pretty much wipe out, because you have to build a team that can literally face anything. If you do manage to reach the champion that match is interupted by a lvl 85 Legendary Nuclear Type. Here it gets worse If you do not outspeed it and you are not near level 70 at the very least.. or using a full nuclear team… you do not stand a chance. Realistically this means grinding your team to level 70 plus taking one or two nuclear types along to beat the league..since except for Eevee’s Nuclear evolution Nucleon don’t listen to you unless you beat all the gyms and then some you probably did not train those up.. and you do not encounter new ones after level 45.. so good luck!

I do not mind grinding when I can speed up, but when you grind this game slows down instead of speeding up! I do not mind training like how it is done in the new pokemon game, with these candies or shared experience. I do mind a game a 150% boost , while commiting to a single team, plus full exploration and defeating everything during that exploration is not enough to have a semblance of a chance. Mind you I could look for a guide and find out what type every pokémon is going to be so I get a balanced theme.. but this is a Fakemon game.. I really want to try a few of them out and see what they are all about! Pokémon should be a game where you use your favourites to win, not a game where I spend hours on mind numbing EV training minigames just so they can win something while underleveled.

I should not have to grind for hours when I use the best item to gain xp to train. There are a lot of repeat trainers and even a metro station to fast travel.. but there are only three metro stations and in the first and last part of the game you can’t find any that are usable. You only get fly after the eight batch! So while the game offers a solid rematch system that grands amazing experience..I can not actually use this system because it would mean grueling backtracks. I do not like grinding in the Diamond and Pearl formula because attacks and hp rolls are very slow. I can not stomach this much of a grind on unevolved Pokémon because they offer bad xp. Even if I would this game slows down a lot in a lot of the battle areas so I do not like to walk there!  This completely ruins the game for Nuzlockes to in my opinion because that means even more grinding.. Grinding levels, Grinding EV’s , Grinding Money to buy stuff, The challenge of this game is not in good enemy AI .. it’s simply requires you putting in time..and that is not a good way to increase difficulty.

I did have fun exploring the Tandor Region, but I am fully aware I  had fun because I used Cheat Engine. Now it isn’t hard to do that and if you are willing to I can really recommend this game to you! Use Cheat engine when you play this game and determine your own pace. Be your own Dm.. how much grinding is worth a level? Hack in some rare candies to level you up after so and so many fights. Pick your down difficulty and challenge than this game is great.  Some pokémon like Daikatuna are mostly there for a pun, so are most of the stories jokes.. but there is still a lot of understanding and love for the world of pokémon. The game is just poisoned by it’s own ambitions. It tried to do to many things at the same time. Every choice on it’s own I support.. larger difficulty, more seperate evolution lines, accessible EV training, better movesets. Basic Field Encounters , allowing me to evolve and get that joy. Using the Diamond and Pearl engine. All of these are GREAT choices on their own but together they create a nigh unbeatable slog.

Now I get there are a lot of purists in the Pokémon world who like this old school Tedium. For them this is your game…yet these purist are also a bit averse to new pokémon and new ideas, and this game has a lot of ideas. Regardless of that this review is based on the “casual” pokeémon playstyle. I love the games and a shiny hunt here and there, completing the dex can be fun to. Yet I don’t put hours and hours into making a Pokémon perfect! I want to love them for who they naturally are and be able to use my favourites! For people like me ,the game has a fine story that feels both like Pokémon but also a bit more mature. It also wants to get those laughs and aims them wrong. There are a lot of super cool new pokémon some even better than a few in the official games . Technically I can only conclude this is a good game. Everything there is stuff we want, it is challenging, pretty and interesting..there is only one problem.. it isn’t actually all that fun to play. It is rewarding,, it makes you think..but due to how end-game unfolds it just isn’t fun.

Pokémon Uranium is a Free fan game that is still quite find-able on the internet. I’d tell people to play the game up until they have to move trough the Jungle area and call it quits there or use Cheat Engine to help you along the way.. it’s a great game to experience..but not a very fun one to play. Check out someone’s play trough on it or something!
What Pokémon would you like to see go Nuclear let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts

    1. It is, if you can bend the rules a little bit ( and to be fair these tools are somewhat common in fangames as not everyone had the time to grind that much) quite a nice game to play ..but beating it fair and square is a bit of a slog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure everyone has different levels of how much grinding and slogging they can stand. And it probably even varies by game. It must be difficult as a game builder to figure out how much grinding there should be…

        Liked by 1 person

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