Palworld vs. Pokémon Comparison – All Similarities and Differences

Palworld has been consistently compared to Pokémon since its early access release, so much so that The Pokémon Company even launched an entire investigation into the game. But just how similar are the two game franchises, really?

In this Pokémon vs. Palworld comparison, we’ll be going over both franchises with a fine-toothed comb and unveiling everything that makes them each unique. Get ready to dive into the wild world of pocket monsters and pixelated pals as we dissect all the similarities and differences between Palworld and Pokémon!

All Similarities Between Palworld and Pokémon

From creature companions to gutless gangs, the surprising number of parallels between Palworld and Pokémon are almost uncanny!

The Creatures

Petting a Doggy in Palworld
Image Source: Pocketpair via IGDB

You can’t have an article comparing Palworld and Pokémon without examining the suspiciously similar creature designs. In fact, people have even gone so far as to make entire challenges and quizzes online, trying to get people to guess whether a creature is from a Pokémon game or Palworld (they’re surprisingly a lot harder than you’d think).

But the designs aren’t even the only traits that Pals and Pokémon share! Palworld’s Lucky Pals and Pokémon’s Shiny Pokémon are extremely similar to each other, and not only in design. Additionally, Pals in Palworld have elemental “Elements” that are assigned to each of them, which operate almost exactly like Pokémon Types.

Pal Spheres vs. Poké Balls

Image Source: Pocketpair

Besides the creature designs, one of the most striking similarities between Palworld and Pokémon is the Balls. Palworld’s Pal Spheres operate nearly exactly like Poké Balls in Pokémon; in both games, players are required to weaken a creature, throw an appropriately leveled Ball/Sphere at it, and then catch it.

In both games, catching a creature is never a 100% guaranteed affair; players only have a chance to catch their intended target, which only ever increases when the target’s health is lowered or a stronger Ball/Sphere is used. Once caught, the creature is then held safely inside the Sphere/Ball until the player decides to bring it out again.

Battling

Image Source: Pocketpair

Palworld is still in its early access phase, which means it doesn’t have nearly as strong of a grasp on battling as Pokémon does; regardless, however, the battling that is present in Palworld is very much similar to Pokémon’s.

To battle other Pals in Palworld, players must call their own Pals out of their Pal Spheres and throw them out onto the battlefield. Then, players can command their Pals to use attacks or special moves to either weaken to outright defeat the opposing Pal. Sound familiar, yet?

The Bad Guys

Bad Guys with Guns in Palworld
Image Source: Pocketpair via GamesPress

Just like how there are evil groups that players must take down in Pokémon, there are also evil groups that players have to defeat in Palworld. The evil groups are different in each of the franchises, of course, but they’re still similar enough to be worth noting.

There are five different “Factions” in Palworld, which sort of function like Palworld’s version of Pokémon Gyms. These factions contain a multitude of members that the player will have to deal with, but they also each have a “Leader”, or final boss, that will need to be taken down in order for the faction to be considered conquered.

Breeding/Egg Hatching

Image Source: Pocketpair via Palworld

Just like in literally every Pokémon game ever made, players can breed their creatures and hatch their offspring from eggs in Palworld. The breeding process is pretty different in both franchises, though that’s mostly due to the varying breeding techniques in different Pokémon games (for example, the breeding process is vastly different in Pokémon White and Black than in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet).

Unlike in Pokémon, however, players can also find random eggs lying around in the wild in Palworld. After they finish literally robbing the cradle by snatching the wild eggs out of their nests, players can then take them back to their bases and hatch them in Egg Incubators.

Leveling

Image Source: Pocketpair via Palworld

Leveling up your Pals in Palworld is almost exactly like leveling up your Pokémon in all of the Pokémon games. At higher levels, they’ll become stronger, learn new moves/attacks, and be able to take on tougher opponents.

In Palworld, the player’s personal level matters as well; if the player’s level is too low, they won’t be able to control stronger, high-level creatures. This is similar to how in Pokémon, if a player has not collected enough Gym Badges yet, then their high-leveled Pokémon will refuse to listen to them.

Creature Storage Systems

Image Source: Pocketpair via Palworld

In both Palworld and Pokémon, creature collecting seems to be the main goal. As such, both games made it possible for players to store all of the creatures they caught without clogging up their inventories; Palworld’s creature storing system is known as the Pal Box, while Pokémon’s is known primarily as the PC.

Players can store their creatures safely in these storage systems indefinitely, while only taking them out when they need to, with no damage done to the creatures themselves.

All Differences Between Palworld and Pokémon

The long list of overlaps between the two franchises may seem daunting, but don’t worry; there are a lot more differences between Palword and Pokémon than you might think!

Genre

Camping with Pals in Palworld
Image Source: Pocketpair via GamesPress

Though there are plenty of similarities between Palworld and Pokémon, it’s important to remember that they’re both completely different genres. Pokémon games are primarily adventure-fantasy RPGs targeted towards kids, while Palworld is an open-world survival game targeted towards adults.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some minor overlaps between the sub-genres of the two franchises, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the same type of game. Palworld is very much more of a survival experience, and your character can actually die if not taken care of or gets attacked; I don’t even need to tell you how different that is from Pokémon.

Weapons/Armor

Shooting Guns with Tanzee in Palworld
Image Source: Pocketpair via GamesPress

As previously mentioned in the last entry, Palworld is very much a survival game, meaning your character is at risk of dying pretty much all of the time.

Because of this, players need to craft weapons and armor for themselves in order to survive. In fact, they can even give their Pals weapons to use against opponents, such as guns and even bazookas! I really don’t need to tell you just how different that makes Palworld from Pokémon.

Kidnapping and Human Trafficking

Wandering Merchant in Palworld.
Image Source: Pocketpair via Twinfinite

So do you guys remember playing Pokémon as kids and randomly thinking “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could catch people in Poké Balls too???” No? Just me? Okay. Well, regardless, Palworld made that happen; they really took “gotta catch em’ all” to a whole new level.

Catching random NPCs in Pal Spheres is generally frowned upon in Palworld, though it is very much possible; if you manage to successfully catch a person in one of your Pal Spheres, such as a merchant with particularly good wares, then you can just carry them around with you wherever you go, or set them up in your base to keep you company.

On a darker note, you can also sell any people that you capture, just like you can with captured Pals; they even go for a relatively decent price, though it’s not the most ethical way of making money in the game.

Criminal Activity

Lifmunk with a Gun in Palworld
Image Source: Pocketpair via GamesPress

If you thought kidnapping and weapons of mass destruction were bad, then hoo boy, wait until you hear about all the other crimes you’re able to commit in Palworld! Palworld’s players really have the freedom to become as evil as they want, which is a far cry from Pokémon’s underdog hero narrative.

Besides all of the kidnapping, human trafficking, poaching, animal neglect, forced slave labor, animal abuse, murder, assault, theft, soul-stealing (???), black market trading, manslaughter, and numerous other crimes that I frankly can’t keep track of, Palworld is a relatively chill game (I’m absolutely vomiting sarcasm right now). If you hadn’t already noticed, Palworld is very much an adult-oriented game; you wouldn’t catch even half of this stuff in any of the Pokémon games.

Gym Badges/Story Progression

Fighting the Syndicate in Palworld
Image Source: Pocketpair via GamesPress

Obviously, you aren’t going to be finding any Pokémon Gyms in Palworld, but you also won’t be finding much of a story to progress, either. Palworld’s narrative isn’t exactly linear like Pokémon’s; sure, there are in-game goals to be met and bosses to be defeated, but there isn’t really a cut-and-dry story to follow like in Pokémon, either.

The closest that Palworld has to Pokémon Gyms are the Factions and their Leaders, though even they don’t really measure up to the Gyms. Also, you obviously won’t be getting any Gym Badges after defeating the Faction Leaders, either, which is honestly kind of a bummer.

Hunting and Cannibalism

Mammorest in Palworld
Image Source: Pocketpair via GamesPress

Besides kidnapping and weapons, this one is honestly one of the biggest, most glaring differences between Palworld and Pokémon. So, in Pokémon, although it isn’t ever really explicitly mentioned, we’re aware in the backs of our minds that people do eat Pokémon. It’s a fact that’s not overtly talked about in the games, presumably because their target audience is children, many of whom would likely be very upset that their precious Pikachu could end up as someone else’s dinner.

In Palworld, however, hunting and eating Pals is not only an option available to the player, but it’s also downright encouraged by the game itself. Every time you defeat or capture a Pal in Palworld, they drop some of their meat (which is weird for when they’re only being captured, but whatever); and this meat can add up fast, whether you want it to or not. Once it’s in your inventory, you can cook it up at your base and eat it yourself, or be a freak and feed it to your other Pals, some of whom may even be the same species.

Building Structures

Palworld home with balcony and fencing
Image Source: Pocketpair via Narkolepsieana

There may be plenty of buildings and houses in Pokémon, but that doesn’t mean that you get to actually take part in building any of them.

Since Palworld is an open-world survival game, building is a big part of the gameplay. You can build yourself workbenches, houses, incubators, hot springs, and more!

Slavery and Forced Labor

Lifmunks Making Guns in Palworld
Image Source: Pocketpair via GamesPress

And finally, we come to the biggest and darkest difference between Palworld and Pokémon: slavery. In Pokémon, we were always led to believe that people and Pokémon lived in harmony, that the bonds forged between Pokémon and their trainers were mutually beneficial, and that lots of Pokémon wanted to participate in Pokémon battles. Palworld, however, spares our psyches’ no such luxuries.

In Palworld, the reality is that none of the Pals really want to be captured. Sure, some of them aren’t as outright hostile toward players as others, but it’s still abundantly clear that they enjoy their freedom, especially when that freedom is suddenly ripped away. Furthermore, players are able to command their Pals to do downright brutal manual labor, to the point where they can literally go insane from the stress. If you’re looking for a fun and cheery game like Pokémon to get into, you might not want to add Palworld to your wishlist.

And that’s it for our deep dive into all of the many similarities and differences between Palworld and Pokémon! Although Palworld has been repeatedly compared to Pokémon at pretty much every turn, it’s actually much more unique than many people think. Personally, I’ve always thought that Palworld seemed more like a combination of Ark, Pokémon, and Breath of the Wild, but that’s just me.

If you’re still a Palworld newbie looking to get some extra pointers on your playthrough, then feel free to check out Twinfinite’s informational Palworld guides, like our guide on “How to Reset Food Expiry Time in Palworld” and “Best Mounts For Every Situation in Palworld“!

About the author

Allysen Pierce

Allysen Pierce is a freelance writer with a passion for anime and gaming who has been a part of the Twinfinite team since December 2023. Most of her favorite games fall under the horror genre, but she’s also been known to play literally any RPG or dating sim that she can get her hands on. When she’s not playing games or watching anime, she can be found reading (usually manga or anything written by Stephen King), baking, or playing with her cat.

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