Pok√©mon Uranium isn't your typical Pok√©mon fan game. The developers seem to be pouring everything into making a game that looks fresh‚ÄĒa quality that is unusual for the franchise.

Taking inspiration from real-world places like Rio de Janeiro, the game takes place somewhere very different from any existing Pok√©mon games. You'll still be collecting 8 gym badges, as you do in any Pok√©mon game, but the setting will be tropical. And in this setting, you'll find some new Pok√©mon you've never seen before‚ÄĒthe developers tried their hand at fakemon, though you'll see plenty of familiar Pok√©mon in Uranium, too.

Your origin story is a little different as well. You'll be playing as a 13-year old that has to leave their home out of necessity: your guardian can't take care of you anymore. So you take up a research job: completing the Pokedex.

Interestingly, Uranium has a new type of Pokémon which isn't featured in any of the official releases: Nuclear type. That's probably not surprising given the name of the game, but still, it's novel, no? Here's how the developers describe the type:

Radiation seeping from nuclear power plants has unlocked a destructive new power in Nuclear Pokemon, a new element that is spreading across the Tandor region like a virus. Nuclear-type Pokemon are feral, corrupt versions of ordinary Pokemon, who won't listen to a trainer but will attack anything in sight with destructive force. The only way to beat them is to attack them fast and quick, because Nuclear-type is unstable: in exchange for being super-effective on every other type, it is also weak to every other type.

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What a cool type! I like the idea of corrupted Pokémon, especially if its the result of human negligence. It means the world is darker and more mature than most actual Pokémon games, and that's something I'm ready to experience more of when it comes to Pokémon games.

Curiously, this world has developed the technology to allow trainers to speak to Pok√©mon, thanks to something called a Pok√©mon Speech Translator. Naturally, this is a very valuable item‚ÄĒthe sort of thing people would do wicked things to obtain. That's probably where this game's version of the villain comes in, I'm guessing.

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For those of you looking for difficulty, the game features something optional called Nuzlocke Mode. Here's how it works:

This game mode makes the game a much tougher challenge where each decision has consequences. The player is limited to capturing only one Pokemon per route, and once a Pokemon faints, you cannot revive it. There are other options to make the challenge even more difficult, including "Challenge Mode" which raises enemy Pokemon levels (but keeps experience yield the same), an option to disable the use of held items, and an option to prevent buying items from Poke Marts. This game mode will cater to the more hardcore Pokemon fans who are looking for a steeper challenge!

While you won't be able to battle other trainers directly on Pok√©mon Uranium, the game does have some online features‚ÄĒwhich is rare in typical Pok√©mon fan games. You'll be able to participate in Uranium's version of the Global Trade Station, which allows players to trade with other players around the world. Trainers will also be able to upload their teams to something called the Virtual Trainer Database. Using this, players will be able to download an AI-controlled version of other players, and if they win, they'll gain battle points. Yes, there's a leaderboard‚ÄĒand prizes.

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The project is incredibly ambitious, and it's not done yet. But, you can already get a taste thanks to a public beta, which you can download here.