The Biggest Pokémon Fan Game Pinkie Ever Played: Pokémon Rejuvenation

Hello again my sweet island guests! Yes this will be my second post of the day!  As we will do that now!.. Not always but I am for it!  While I try to do an animini each day I will also try to keep up my regular content…with the option to more freely skip one of my bigger posts here and there! So strangely one to two posts a day is most likely going to be less work! Those hours saved I can invest in this Pokémon Fan Game I have been playing! Pokémon Rejuvenation.

Pokémon What?!

Pokémon Rejuvenation is a HUUUGE pokémon fan game from the creators of Pokémon Reborn.. that Pokémon game with hookers, suicides, murders and pokémon being tossed into acid. While I loved the game for it’s dark tones, in hindsight Pokémon Reborn might have been a bit needlessly Edgy. Having a criminal team member cut a gym leader in half is fine and all.. but tossing her pokémon in the volcano and forcing her bisected upper half to watch her pokémon melt.. was a bit much.  Seeing a gym leader lose it all after alianating his daughter is fine.. and then him commting suicide ..does bring awareness that these are actual humans sure… but having his corpse plummet into the room of his daughters best friend, who then goes catatonic and put into an Asylum where she recieves Electroshock therapy by electric pokemon torturting her… might be overdoing it a bit.

Rejuvenation gives us the pleasure of having a slightly more “contained” story.  There still are deaths….but they are more so implied. The game brings some elements of magic to the story. People using the power of Arceus for themselves, people finding abilities through ancient spells to compete with pokémon a bit and people utilizing the more advanced technology and pokemon powers more into their everyday lives. Thus this game becomes more like a classical Pokémon story but made for an adult demographic. You play a main character that is significantly older than 10 years old as well and more in 16 year old to young adult range. In this game your mother gets kidnapped by a cult and the ship you are on gets sunk by the evil Team Xen. This attack seems to tie into you or your mother.. but you have no idea why!  There is also a connection to a sacrificial and apocalyptic cult that sends people to Arceus..for this world is certainly doomed. A young girl is trapped to relive this cycle of being sacrificed over and over again…but maybe in your generation she fights back.

Like in Reborn you can choose your own prefix and He/Him, She/Her, They/Them , separately from your avatar. This is always nice, though only important characters will really address you as the correct gender. Most characters will address you Gender neutral… which is still better than the endless being called him of other fan games. The game also has another big advantage over it’s older brother and that is… EASY mode.  Yes I know. .. that sounds like a babies way out but if you ever played Reborn and like me do not want to have to IV and EV train everything and carry 18 different teams and level them up.. this is a godsent.. and while the game indeed is easy compared to Reborn, next to the official Pokémon games easy mode still provides more than a challenge. With many special field types like in reborn affecting your attacks.. it still provides plenty of chances to be tactical for you and your enemies. With some confidence I can say that this is THE Pokémon Fan game for Adults…maybe next to Pokémon Fire Red Rocket Edition.

The Trainers

That is a lot of praise for me to give to a game I haven’t even completed yet. However after spending over 60 hours in the game, and probably over 70 by the time you read this, I have a fairly good impression what this game is about. one of its major strengths are it’s characters. During your journey you encounter a lot of trainers that seem to be based on the archetypal pokémon characters.  For example there is one boy who really wants to be the very best.. like no one ever was… but he doesn’t really have the skill to back it up. As a result he gets into a lot of trouble and is disillusioned and somewhat bitter. We encounter him a few times and we have to make choices…at one point we face a Gymleader of a xenophobic town.. she staged a play to show that outsiders can be powerful and inspiring.. right before the battle we face and defeat him and get a choice whether or not to let him face the gym leader before us. However there is too much at stake.. an entire town might never trust outsiders if we let the boy go first.  So we have to step on his dreams.

Then there is the poison gym leader called Venam. She is a brash girl living with her mother..but she is extremely loud and a bit Tsundere, we see how in a way she is similar to the character of Misty but instead of being an anime character we do get a lot of exposition on why she is the way she is. We get motivations that interest us in her as an adult. She tries to break free of her mold.. but that results in her mother kicking her out.  She has to deal with things like an adult.. like how is she going to survive and pay for food. All of it contributes to her character. We also have a battle girl whose father works for the criminal team. We see her believes being shaken and see her go on a journey  that fits someone who is on such a journey…much more than just doing the gym challenge she is doing her journey as a little soul search. Then there is you as the character. While you do not have THAT much development the way your journey across the gyms is being done is great. You are facing an evil organisation..of tremendous power.. you do not take the Pokémon Journey to be the champ.. no you use that journey as a measuring stick for your abilities. To see if you are good enough to face those who wronged you!

The game offers you a few moral choices which influence the world around you to an extent. Most of it is by experiencing the story but the game also offers you a subquest  system. For example you have to deliver a love letter from one guy to another.. and include medicine.. However if you are like me and are too poor to do the quest at that time you end up seeing them becoming friends rather than lovers. A psychic girl who has powers akin to those of trainers in the main games.. can’t help but abuse her powers, they corrupt her to an extent.. not into a bad person.. but into a different one all the same. Each location you visit and all important people you encounter have logic behind them. A city close to the woods is built from Lumber, a city worshipping Giratina over Arceus has found themselves being the subject of religious persecution in the past.. however while the rest of the world grew up.. and grew past their old bosses these people never could. We really get a WORLD we treat trough.. not just a map!  We even get Shadow Pokémon you can snag and purify! So it just about brings everything Pokémon ever offered in a single cohesive world as well.

The Pokemon

This game uses the classical pokémon up to generation VII , so no Galar Pokémon… right now.. the game is still being updated so who knows they might arrive soon! Some Galar music already made it into the game.  Much like Reborn the game introduces some new Mega Evolutions and their own variety for story events called Breach Pokémon. These are pokémon from a different Dimension that function like boss encounters throughout the game. Movesets of Pokémon have been slightly altered to be less “broken” and not give you access to anything overpowered early game. Sometimes enemies get their own signature moves. For the most part though they do remain the same. This does mean that to an extend you can use Serebii to help you build a team to encounter some obstacles. However that is not the way I like to play it.. because this game also has custom shinies. These are VERY well done shinies and almost all are unique and vibrant.. you’ll WANT to see a shiny and you can.. because shiny encounter rates are at almost 1/100.. compared to 1/8192.  So I play this game using only shines.. I only hunt the first I find per route and then I have to move on.. easy mode allows me to play this way and I am having a blast discovering these new forms.

Trade evolutions have been fixed and as you go along pokémon get increasingly higher base stat totals.  Which means that if you have a new shiny.. you’ll most likely want to put it on your team and some of your old one end up phasing out.  With the exception of a few statics here and there ..(which are pokémon you can see in the overworld and can only encounter once)  you slowly upgrade your team, your flying bug type vivillon gets traded in for the flying fire type Talonflame.  Your Ambipom gets traded in for a Traveller and so on. You are constantly upgrading your team and even though this game features a lot of mandatory grinding the high shiny encounter rate and the fact that you are always upgrading keeps the game fun.  With the difficulty on easy you can still use Pokémon you really like..as long as it isn’t Shuckle or Dunsparce ,yet you are very much encouraged to have a team larger than six. You swap out your pokémon, and to facilitate this there are pokémon switching stations everywhere! To help you train new team members or give you a more tactical advantage.

Grinding is made very doable by giving you access to a speed up mode, and high level wild encounters. In fact most wild encounters have higher levels than the trainers you encounter. The trainers however use more solid strategies. Each gym caps your level at a certain point after which in easy you can’t progress and on higher difficulties makes your Pokémon rebel against you…which you can undo by feeding them reverse candy. So you can not over-level either way.While it is pretty doable to level your main team with story content, if you need a specific pokemon or encounter an upgrade to your team you  can grind those up within a few minutes. You get the Exp Share early and grass encounters give plenty of XP so the creatures in this world really fit and facilitate the game.  Habitats also make sense if you know the pokémon. For example inside cities you will encounter doves, cats and trash eating pokemon, while the wooden cottage type of village has plenty of bugs. It does do better with this logic than the actual games so hey good on them! And if you don’t like hunting Pokémon.. there are a fair few achievements you can hunt to buy battle items for your Pokémon.

The Atmosphere

So this game provides a great and vibrant world,that feels much more like a living pokémon world than most officially produced worlds, with exception for stuff like Twilight Wings for example,  and they offer the perfect biological diversity in that world to be exactly the game they want to be.  This is Pokémon for adults. This is also reflected in just about everything else.  The music is stellar, recomposed tracks from all the other games, but those rethreads are amazing and SO atmospheric.  The controls are the standard RPG maker controls that are used for just about every other fan game I ever played, with a few extra conveniences such as a soft reset button and up to four registered items being assigned to the F-Keys. The game expects a certain type of player, someone who is passionate about pokémon and geekdom in general and it facilitates towards that rather than offering full on accesibility. Which is great… this is a fan game.. out on the internet for free.

My Graveler’s shiny pattern for example is based on Steven’s Universe, other shinies refer to some other products geeks will likely have seen or at least heard of. There is a museum in the game and the art on the walls are Gen I sprites of Pokémon.  Dialogue has subtle references to movies , anime or other geeky matters without being too obnoxious and  in  your face. Everything this game does oozes that is is made for people like me. It takes a heavy pro LBGTQ stance with you encountering many gay or bisexual characters and it being made a non issue. We get no Big Gay Al, or a gay couple getting better treatment in the story than other characters.. they are just a part of the world. It all has a great atmosphere, almost as if you are at a convention.. as a geek you understand all these characters, either from a cosplayers perspective or deeper down.

The game manages to use technology in a much more sensible manner than the regular pokemon games. Spinny panels are a thing.. but they exist not as a puzzle in this world they exist as a security measure.. they send you over an electric surface that will paralyse you if you do not know the password to turn it off.. or an alarm tile.. will not just send a pokemon towards you..it will get you captured. Gameplay and atmosphere are interwoven in this game. A puzzle never is there just for the puzzle’s sake. If a pokemon traps you in their lair and you have to do a jump puzzle.. it’s not just doing a jump puzzle.. it’s the collapsed area of an old passage that said pokémon have turned into a place for them to play it’s layout exisits for a reason in game as well. Often the game answers these things right about as questions pop in your head, this game knows the kind of person you are and uses that to deliver a potent package.

The Negatives

The game isn’t perfect, there are a few minor issues such as the fact that during a puzzle with some followers you are able to trap yourself.. if you save it then and there you might have to restart the game. I also experienced slowdown during my shiny hunts  if I was watching a youtube video alongside it.. so while it’s not a big issue.. this game really wants you to shiny hunt and not being able to have something to distract you can be tedious with longer encounter strings.  The game doesn’t always play fair some bosses see, to use gen I like AI that chose moves based on your input. Gym Leaders often have custom moves that can at times be brokenly OP if you do not have an encounter. Yet these are all very minor issues.

One bigger issue I have though is the lack of a journal. Where regular games are mostly a track from A to B and then to C and so on… this game has a lot of “Did you hear that Venam was training with a new move” kind of hints. Oftenly these lines are only ushered once so if you come out from a battle with speed up on and you miss an important line of dialogue there is NO way to retrieve it and find out where you need to go next.  This would be fine if you did not have to backtrack as much as you do. You do visit old cities on a regular basis and thus your next step can be anywhere around the HUGE world map.  So it’s best to keep a little notepad lying around if you do not play regularly. Nothing would suck as bad as forgetting you have to speak to this person two towns back next time you play.. and then a week later you forget.

Another issue I did encounter more then once is that some NPC’s are placed in front of objects you need to interact with. I am not sure if this is a part of the puzzle because if you look REALLY well you can just barely make out a few strange pixels behind said character but it would be quite a stretch to call it noticable. There game has a forum where you can search or ask for answers but the player base isn’t THAT big, you could be stuck for a while.  Some characters require materials like Shards as payment like the difficulty adjusting guy you can meet in the first town..however it’s not made very clear that he needs shards. He says he can give you a free difficulty change the first time.. so if you think Easy is to simple you can switch..but if you are like me and then realise that Normal is so much harder to a point it’s not as fun for me… you can not change it back until you obtain shards after the fifth gym. Luckily I had not saved since changing .. .but the game can be obnoxiously vague!

The Score

I still think the Rom Hack of Pokémon Rocket Edition is better for the hardcore pokémon fan, the little insights in the official story is much more appealing to everyone, this is much more a do your own thing  kind of situation where they basically create a whole new alternative world with pokémon.  I do very much enjoy that myself but it is a bit “novel”-like  there is a lot to read and not a lot of reading you can skip either. Since these people talk like normal humans they will not neatly end with the line where to go next. They will say bye.. or thanks for helping out last… which will be the line on repeat so prepare to read! 

The flaws it has though in no way hold a candle to the great atmosphere it has, the briljant way everything seems to be connected and the almost flawless pokémon/world design.. I mean Pokémon design as in.. who lives where. This is definitely a treat to play for both inexperienced as well as experienced trainers IF you at least manage to comprehend the typing chart a little bit.  This game treats you like a gamer.. like someone who is capable of forming a strategy and using their obtained knowledge of pokemon in a meaningful manner. This is a pokémon game for me… and I can even play a girly trainer with pink hair!
This is THE game for me! This is Pokémon for adults… playing it does feel rejuvenating.

3 thoughts

    1. Pokémon Reborn is quite insane but it is also very hard. From Gym 1 each gym leader has 6 Pokémon build around a field and a typing and you have to have an entire team to counter it.. that is easily 30 pokemon you have to level all the time if you want to stand a chance :p

      Liked by 1 person

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