As the multiplayer monster-collecting game Palworld continues to clock up staggering sale numbers and break its own concurrent player record, some less enthused Pokémon fans have taken to social media to share just how similar they think Palworld is to Pokémon.
“Pokémon with guns” survival game Palworld – which released as an early access title yesterday, 19th January, and has already sold over 2m copies – but it’s now facing claims that the similarities between it and Pokémon are too great to be coincidental.
“Reminder not to support Palworld,” wrote one unhappy user on X/Twitter. “It’s not even subtle about its rip-offs, how much else has it stolen?”
“I’m gonna be making a thread of […] Palworld design analysis, trying to spot every Pokémon they jumbled together,” added another, before sharing a bevvy of startling images that show just how similar some of Palworld’s characters are to those found in Pokémon.
“The argument that ‘there’s so many Pokemon you can’t design monsters without accidentally copying at least one’ could be a valid point, but in this case, it’s incredibly blatant what they’re doing,” added artist LuxxArt. “I haven’t seen a single ‘pal’ I can’t tell exactly what Pokemon they took from.
“I don’t think they’re trying to trick anyone into thinking Pals are Pokémon, I think it’s mostly to get attention from outrage. It’s also lazy. Why come up with original designs for your game when you can steal from a successful IP?”
Fans have even located a tweet from Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe detailing how copyrighted images can be “passed” through AI to alter them and “resolve” copyright disputes. Another shows Mizobe actually using images of original Pokémon to show how AI can generate equivalent characters.
Neither developer Pocketpair nor The Pokémon Company have commented publicly on the alleged similarities.
Palworld takes tenth place on Steam’s “most played games” chart with 855,706 concurrent players on Steam alone (it was eleventh just this morning), which is more than big hitters like Apex Legends, viral hit Among Us, and Valheim.
Earlier today, the team explained on social media that as Palworld exceeded 700,000 concurrent players, it had to hold “an emergency meeting” with Epic Games to “add an update to the Epic Games backend”.
To see it in action for yourself, take a look at Zoe’s excellent early access review, which is embedded for your viewing pleasure above.