The Radioactive Fan-Game “A QuickView”

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UPDATE: as you probably already know you can no longer download the game from pokemonuranium.com. But if you’re dead set on getting it vet your dl source carefully.
Original Article resumes below:

Uranium: An element that appears on the ubiquitous Table with the number236. With 236 appended to it, it’s highly radioactive i.e. dangerous to living things when not handled with extreme care.

However with Pokemon prefixed to it, Uranium is a highly enjoyable, slightly self-aware fan game with a story written by Pokemon fans for Pokemon fans. Right from the beginning we learn about our characters backstory and though it is a little dark, it isn’t grim-dark or edge-lord in any way. Nuclear physicist aside it’s a story many children in the real world can connect to. One of your parent’s has died while working and their other parent didn’t know how to cope so our character is sent to live with another relative while dad buries himself in his job.

It’s simple, straight forward, doesn’t baby you and doesn’t scream at you to feel sad every few seconds.  It’s more of a, “This is your life, go and make it better.” scenario and I love it for that.

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Along with the countless new Pokemon and evolutions created just for the game I found myself in the strange predicament of not knowing which ones to capture, which ones to ignore and just leave in my box because I’m a horrible trainer, and which ones I’d catch and train later on. It’s thrilling not being able to go online and google which moves will this one learn or what level will it evolve. A sentiment I may take with me when the Official Pokemon Sun and Moon games come out later this year, in fact I may just do my best to ignore any more of those Coro leaks and the Official promotional announcements. You already have me Pokemon Company I’m buying Moon and starting with Rowlet, it’s happening.

An addition I really like was the gender non-specific choice for your character. I am a straight male but I have long hair I wear pulled back most of the time especially in the summer, (It’s death degrees in New York right now). The fact the gender neutral choice had a poof of hair sticking out of their head made me low-key happy. It may seem like a little thing but anything that makes you feel more attached to the character is always going to add to the gameplay experience.

While I’ve yet to beat the game (I have 2 badges and about to step into the Gym in Bealbeach City for my third) I’ve already come across charming moments, things that genuinely made me giggle and even things that made me facepalm in enjoyment. I didn’t even know that was possible until now. Talking to the NPC’s is just as rewarding in the Official series as there are many with quippy things to say, information to give about gym leaders, or free items. We all love free items don’t we?

The map design is inventive and aesthetically pleasing, the score is made up of clever riffs on the original songs we all know while still being different enough that they mingle flawlessly with the songs that are new and that should be nothing to balk at.

While there are issues with it, such as music loops stopping and playing at wrong points, music stopping, screen stuttering and 8 hours in I’ve had two crashes, every pore of this game oozes fangame in the best ways while nodding in agreement with the fact it does have its issues, as evidenced by the patcher you use to start the game with. They clearly know there are still things to be done and if their servers weren’t on fire because of everyone downloading the game at the same time I believe the first patch would’ve been released already. That said I believe you can manually patch the game if you have some fan/indie game know-how.
It’s not perfect but it’s far from garbage and if you like Pokemon and have beaten all the other games in the series, give Uranium a try to fill the void between now and the release of Sun and Moon.

Pokemon Company, Nintendo; it’s fan games like Uranium that help to fill in the void between releases and, dare I say without any evidence, help to fight piracy because if a fan game can be this fun, who’s to say it doesn’t encourage people to go out and buy an official game? Although I think it would be more accurate to say that fan games are generally played by people who have purchased and played the official titles, dare I say again(my I’m feeling bold today) purchased most or ALL of the official titles. Money and life issues aside, I’ve purchased games from at least 4 gens and possibly 6 Pokemon titles all together.

Uranium radiates PokeManiac Love and if 9+ years dedicated to a fan-game doesn’t spell love I don’t know what does.

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