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Here’s why “Pokemon knockoff” Palworld is blowing up the internet

pokemon vs palworld ripoff

A new indie game named Palworld is seeing great success despite being compared to the Pokemon franchise, raising the question of why fans love it so much.

Palworld is an action-adventure survival game that was announced in 2021 but largely stayed under the radar after that. The game encompasses a wide variety of genres including collect-a-thon, base-building, survival, and first-person shooting. It finally launched in early access on January 19 and made an enormous splash when it did. 

Within hours of Palworld’s launch, it rose through the Steam charts to hit milestones that some games need years to achieve. While the game has been brushed off as “Pokemon with guns,” it has enjoyed one of the most successful launches in recent gaming history, rising to the top of Steam’s player count charts. But what the heck is Palworld? 

What is Palworld?

Palworld is an open-world action-adventure survival game by Pocketpair that blends various gameplay mechanics including first-person shooting, creature collecting, survival, and more. The concept of collecting and raising cute monsters has drawn comparisons between Pokemon and Palworld, but there are many differences between the two.

Palworld takes place in a world inhabited by creatures known as Pals, which players can catch for various purposes including battling, breeding, and working. Players start the game by creating their customizable avatar, which is a big decision as Palworld plays from a third-person perspective.

Like other survival games, Palworld tasks players with crafting tools, gathering materials, and crafting bases while unlocking new weaponry and machinery through the tech tree. The game also has a hunger level that applies to both their character and their Pal. Going too long without eating food will result in them losing efficiency and being debuffed.

While Pals play an important role in the game, the main antagonists are part of the villain team, Syndicate Thugs. Members of the Syndicate Thugs get in the way of players trying to uncover the secrets of Palpagos Islands.

Is Palworld a Pokemon knockoff?

Palworld has similarities to Pokemon aesthetically but differentiates itself by emphasizing the survival elements in its gameplay. There are over 100 Pals and each has a unique skill that increases their versatility by transforming them into weapons or mounts.

Similar to the Pokemon games, players can catch, breed, and battle with Pals, which is why the game earned its nickname “Pokemon With Guns.” However, unlike Nintendo’s multi-billion dollar franchise that boasts theme parks and , Palworld isn’t afraid to take things to the extreme.

Once captured, traded, or bought from the black market, Pals can be summoned to battle or assist in performing activities like scavenging, cooking, and crafting. While this concept was touched upon in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Palworld goes a step further by making players worry about feeding themselves and their Pal while building out a base.

Palworld is arguably more akin to a game like Minecraft or Don’t Starve, but with Pokemon elements. That combination has proven to be a wildly successful one. In the first 24 hours, the game sold over 2 million copies and enjoyed a steady spot in second place on the Steam player count charts, behind only Counter-Strike 2.

The official release date of Palworld is currently unknown and the early access is not playable on the PS5. While Pocketpair has stated that it doesn’t have any current plans to release the game on either the PS4 or PS5, it will “consider it during development.”

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Written by Hannan Mundia

Hannan Mundia has been playing video games since he was just three years old. He loves everything about gaming, from RPGs to first-person shooters. He has sunk countless hours into Bethesda's popular RPGs, but his favorite game remains Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. His writing has also been featured on Fandom Spot, and you can follow him on Twitter / X at @zombiezomz.

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