Palworld: A Pokémon-Inspired Survival Game

Pokémon knock-off or Pokémon…done better?

For decades, Pokémon games have been subjected to 2D graphics, with fans of the franchise long-awaiting an immersive, open-world 3D gaming experience that ports you into the world of Pokémon. With an aging fanbase, Pocket Pair Inc. wants to tap into this starved market by creating a Pokémon-style game (Palworld) using Unreal Engine 5, combined with mature themes including guns, slaves, and criminal empires in this survival game that’s the first of its kind.

Palworld’s unveiling at the Summer Game Fest 2023 prompted comparisons to Pokémon, often being humorously referred to as “Pokémon with guns.” However, this comparison isn’t a criticism from the developers’ perspective; instead, they embrace it confidently, believing that the game’s unique features will capture gamers’ attention.

In Palworld, you engage with creatures known as Pals, much like you would with Pokémon. These creatures, however, take on a different role as they become your slaves in the game. Beyond creature capturing and battling, Palworld offers diverse gameplay experiences, including exploring dungeons, fishing, building, and crafting.

A key aspect of the game is the opportunity to establish a criminal enterprise, delving into the world of poaching to acquire valuable Pals, which you can then sell to in-game stores and other players.

Is Palworld ‘all marketing?’

While Palworld’s Steam page makes several enticing promises, some players remain skeptical. The game’s initial launch will be in early access, with plans for continuous content updates as it progresses towards the full release. These promises include providing players with 100 monsters, 350 items, and 70 types of buildings during the early access phase.

Additional game modes are under consideration based on player feedback during early access. The game will also be available at a reduced price during this phase. Additionally, players can ride Pals and explore through flying, swimming, and digging.

What makes Palworld a survival game?

In-game Combat in Palworld
Image Sourced from Steam

Palworld is not solely about capturing creatures; it offers a genuine survival experience. Players face challenges beyond dealing with Pals, including food shortages, harsh weather conditions, and the threat of illegal poachers, drawing parallels with survival games like Ark.

The power and abilities of your Pals are instrumental in your survival, affecting your chances of successful hunting and self-defense. You can also breed Pals for various purposes or, in dire circumstances, slaughter them for sustenance, although this practice is against in-game laws.

Other key facts to note

Flying in-game in Palworld
Image Sourced from Steam

The development team responsible for Palworld boasts prior experience with the popular game Craftopia, showcasing their expertise in game development.

This experience has undoubtedly influenced their approach to creating Palworld, which combines elements from various genres to offer a unique and captivating gaming experience. In a recent Q&A interview with Pocketpair, the dev team confirmed some of the following information and features of Palworld:

  • Character design for the game commenced in Unity, sporting a cartoon-style aesthetic, while the rest of the game was crafted in Unreal Engine 5 to provide players with a realistic 3D world and gameplay.
  • Palworld is slated to launch in early access in January 2024.
  • The game boasts diverse biomes and various methods to capture Pals, ensuring a rich and engaging gameplay experience.
  • Your choices regarding your treatment of Pals, whether kind or cruel, will result in different challenges and benefits.
  • The initial map spans 16 square kilometers but may expand upon the game’s official release.
  • The developers plan to introduce mod support in the future, allowing players to customize and enhance their gaming experience.
  • Future updates will introduce more Pals, increasing the variety of creatures available in the game.
  • Only Pals with hands can assist in the construction of bases.

Palworld starts with players arriving on the island in a state of distress, mirroring the beginnings of many other survival games. This initial scenario sets the tone for the challenges and adventures that await players as they navigate the harsh and intriguing world of Palworld.

A Tank Batallion Riding Through the Desert in Palworld
Image Sourced from Steam

In Palworld, the multiplayer experience is versatile, allowing players to interact with each other in various ways. The open world offers diverse modes and options for players to explore and enjoy, whether through cooperative efforts or competitive gameplay. Whether you prefer a cooperative PvE experience or the thrill of PvP competition, Palworld has something to offer everyone.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that death in Palworld carries consequences. If a player meets their demise, they lose their Pals and must embark on a fresh journey to rebuild their roster and continue their quest for survival. This mechanic adds a layer of challenge and motivation to the game, ensuring players remain engaged and invested in their progress.


Palworld appears to be a unique and intriguing addition to the gaming world, offering a fresh take on the concept of creature capturing and survival gameplay. While comparisons to Pokémon are inevitable, the game’s incorporation of mature themes, open-world exploration, and the establishment of criminal empires set it apart.

The promises of continuous content updates, diverse gameplay experiences, and consequences for player choices indicate a commitment to delivering an immersive and evolving gaming experience. As Palworld gears up for its early access launch in January 2024, it has the potential to captivate both fans of the Pokémon franchise and those seeking a distinctive survival adventure.

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About Digital Ghost

Dg is the founder and co-owner of Corrosion Hour, a niche gaming community established in 2016 focusing on the survival game RUST. He is an active and contributing member of numerous other RUST communities. As a community leader and server owner for over 15 years, he spends much of his time researching and writing guides about survival games, covering topics such as server administration, game mechanics, and community growth.

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