Palworld First Impressions

Is Palworld a viable competitor to challenge Pokemon? It sold a million units in the first 8 hours and doubled within the next 24. It would go on to sell three million in 40 hours. Then five million on its third day, another million the next, and eight million in under a week. So why are people scrambling to buy it?

What is Palworld?

First, its marketing: “Pokemon with guns.” Unfortunately, players must grind to reach the necessary crafting level. Part of its allure is the promise of committing war crimes in a Pokemon-like universe. Players can catch people too. You’re free to abuse the Pals into capitalistic labor practices. Pals can even have a unique attribute as a “Work Slave”.

Developed by Pocket Pair, Inc., many describe Palworld as a survival-shooter and a mashup of Pokemon, ARK, Zelda, and Minecraft. You can catch Pals, set them to harvest resources, and explore the land with your friends. Like Pokemon gyms, it appears you can challenge faction leaders. Trailers promise fishing, Pals eating other Pals, crossbreeding, and players using Pals as cover for gunfire. Who wouldn’t want to have fun with their pals in Palworld?

Palworld Controversy

Palworld has garnered huge popularity, but not without criticism. Many point out Palworld’s gameplay, systems, and models are too similar to previous IP. You can see the heavy inspiration from some Pal designs, and others appear to have been ripped directly from Pokemon models. Less apparent, but perhaps more important, is how its crafting systems are eerily similar to ARK’s.

Nintendo has even released a statement on Janurary 25th, six days after Palworld’s early access release. They intend to “investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pok√©mon.” In addition, Pocket Pair’s previous games look oddly familiar to other popular franchises. Can you recognize them?

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We will see if Palworld has the longevity to compete with Pokemon, assuming it survives a possible lawsuit. For now, it’s taking the world by storm. What do you think about the alleged plagiarism? Are Pocket Pair’s games distinct enough?

Luke Sakanashi
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