I've been recently running through these forums to look for some ROM Hacks to try some out since I don't own any newer games and I've always preferred up to 5th gen and 6th being about where I've decided to draw a bit of a line.
I came across this game as it seemed like the best one to really try since It has so many of the newer Pokemon I like from the previously stated gens. I didn't get my hopes to to up as sometimes in my personal opinion ROM Hacks tend to go a little to far from what I personally enjoy about Pokemon. That it is a fantasy type setting, but it never really tries to be crazy about it when you look at it from a base line perspective (this is excluding things like catching gods, and pokedex entries that literally defy the laws of physics).
But after playing through the entire story I had to come and make my very first post on this site on this games post and about how much of an amazing job everyone who worked on it did.
I'll start with the fact that I have barely ever been able to keep attached to a real Pokemon game, so for a ROM hack to keep me hooked like it did is beyond amazing since I have never even played one past maybe 10 minutes. The first thing I wanna start with is the story, OH MY GOSH the story for this was absolutely cool. It honestly didn't feel different from any other Pokemon game, and I have to say that's why I Loved it so much. It was a story about the world almost ending, but while you played it really didn't feel like it. Which in most games is how I feel, no matter the game the world is going to get taken over or destroyed, but you honestly really don't feel that and it allows you to get stuck in the characters and game play. Now this isn't to say that this part of the story was poorly written I actually really liked that whole "New Elders" thing instead of some weird new team. I should also point out that I actually talked to probably 99% of the people in the game just to see how far the writing went. I don't even do THAT in Pokemon games like... holy muk man! and even the little tid-bits you'd get from the random NPCs was cool to read and laugh at as well. That was also something that I enjoyed, was the humor was also that of the original games as well.
Next thing I wanna say is the designs... oh... my... GOD... the design of all the sprites was AMAZING I don't wanna put down other peoples hard work or anything, but other games with custom or redesigned sprites I just can't really get behind. They aren't bad, just need some more practice. I'm also not saying they were perfect here either, but they were so well planned and things really flowed within the pixel art as well that made them amazing. It's weird to say but my second favorite main character design is now that of a ROM Hack like... dang. I'm assuming that the Pokemon were used from one of the massive redesign sprite sheets you can use? I didn't look into much after playing I kinda just came here to type this out. The last part I will mention about design for this game is the world this is were things are a little on the edge. While I think the world was decently laid out and somewhat easy to follow, some route seemed to be a little confusing and at some points I was unsure which direction to go. In terms of someone who likes to pick up everything I can it was really hard to find out which way looked like a side path and which lead to the next area. On top of this I'd say some of the routes were a little longer? Maybe it's just been a while since I played an actual Pokemon game but it really felt like sometimes it took to like to get to the next town.
The game was actually difficult! But not TOO difficult either. Trainers were what I feel they should be in ALL Pokemon games and the Pokemon in each area were in the right balance of randomness. By that I mean if you wanted to train you were most likely going to run into something that had type advantage on you making it hard to just run back and forth and smoke each Pokemon you ran into. This made training a somewhat difficult process at times and I enjoyed it. ESPECIALLY with all the newer Pokemon that were added.
Lastly I wanna end on a critique. This game isn't PERFECT in the slightest there are some weird sprite things going on, a big one being the waterfalls. Goomy has like a single pixel in the upper left hand corner in one of its two party animations. There are of course some grammatical errors, personally I think I only caught two or three, but I honestly read things "correctly" sometimes. There were obviously some other things I pointed out above as well, but that doesn't take away from how amazing this game actually is. I really can't wait for v4, and it's weird to be excited for a ROM Hack update that actually new video games :3
If you end up reading this creator(s) keep it up, and I would Love to see another ROM Hack this good in the future :D