Is Palworld The True Beginning Of A Pokémon-Like Genre?

With its abrupt rise as a whole, Palworld might be able to kickstart an entirely new genre.

Story Highlights

  • Apart from breaking Steam records, Palworld has already created a “cult following.”
  • Like Dark Souls, Palworld could kickstart an entirely new genre in the title of Pokémon-like.
  • Although Palworld is not the first of its type, it is the most successful and popular one.

True inspiration is rare and even rarer to find in video games. There exists one out of hundreds, one in a decade that is able to vividly inspire entire generations of consoles, franchises, and games. These works of art create a new genre brimming with different representations of the same original idea, this creates a legacy for the original work, making it essentially immortal.

Palworld has cemented itself as one of the most controversial, addicting, and popular games of 2024. Disregarding massive allegations of the use of AI and stealing assets from Pokémon, Palworld has done what the largest studios couldn’t even come close to, it broke Steam records effortlessly. This love from its fans spawned a huge player base consisting of both Pokémonenthusiasts and casual gamers, not to mention the horde of streamers.

I Thought We All Loved Pokémon?

We do, well, we love the franchise, not the people behind it.

Nintendo has always made “interesting” decisions regarding the Pokémon franchise, but the one decision it couldn’t make was innovating beyond its original and repetitive gameplay loop. From the very first Pokémon games in existence to titles like Pokémon Go, all the way to recent titles like Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, there just isn’t much in the name of change in its core system mechanics.

Every year there’s a new gimmick, Mega Forms, Z Moves, and Terastallization, but that’s just about it. This is the biggest issue that Pokémon faces, thinking outside the box. Well, some fans were just about done with the disappointing loop, and I guess adding miniguns to the base game makes for a much more enjoyable experience, and the reception says the same as well.

YouTube video

The Pokémon franchise has always been very corporate, focusing on the bigger picture, keeping up appearances, and such, but PocketPair had a different way of ideation when it came to making games. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Palworld creators talked extensively about how they were able to reach stardom and how they became a sensation in such a short amount of time.

PocketPair will remain a small studio. I want to make multiple small games, big budget triple-A games are just not for us.”

Palworld As A Benchmark

Two console generations ago, Dark Souls set the benchmark as an experience unlike any other. Aside from its obvious difficulty, the game’s premise was something players just hadn’t seen before. There have been others like DOOM, Bioshock, and Half-Life that have set these benchmarks for their uniqueness in gameplay and stories, and I believe the next game to hit that level is Palworld.

Just to be clear, I don’t believe Palworld to have done something particularly new, what they did accomplish was that they pushed out a somewhat complete product on launch. A lot of indie games today need years and sometimes even crowdfunding to get going, Palworld may have been in development for quite some time, but they released the full game without any Alpha or Beta jargon that we are all so accustomed to seeing.

Aside from its obvious popularity, Palworld differentiates itself from other smaller indie developers by adding mechanics never before seen in the general Pokémon twist. Yes, you still have the classic capturing Pals and growing your arsenal, but the entire game is much more than that. At times it’s an FPS, at times a base-builder, at times an open-world adventure title, but most of all, it’s Pokémon-like.

YouTube video

Final Thoughts

Palworld has created a pretty astounding cult following, while most of its player base is derived from Pokémon fans, Palworld was able to unite just about the entire player base, which is something no paid Pokémon title has ever come close to. 

I never wanted to compare the two games together, but the reason for Palworld’s success lies in its deviation from generic formulas. No doubt, in the years to come there will be an onslaught of Pokémon-like titles flooding the market, and although some games like Bugsnax did follow the same principles of a Pokémon-like, Palworld was able to connect and create a game that players wanted to see the most.

Palworld: Pals With guns

Palworld’s success highlights the hunger within the gaming community for innovation and fresh experiences, or in more simple terms, a better and more human developer team. Palworld is an anomaly in current gaming, like Lethal Company and Helldivers II, this new generation of indie titles is taking the world by storm, and if the same continues in the foreseeable future, we can only imagine what new benchmarks await.

Palworld came out on January 19, 2024, for the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC, earning eXputer’s nod of approval in a 4.5/5.0-scored review. New players, however, should be in the know of the best player build in the game to get off on the right foot. 

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Ahmed Shayan is a News Writer on eXputer with decent experience writing about games. He’s a machine learning enthusiast with a passion for a plethora of gaming genres. Ahmed is fond of Soulsborne games in which he has invested more than 3,000 hours! You can follow Ahmed's gaming activity on his PSN Profile.

Experience: 1.5+ Years || Mainly Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Data Science.

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