As lifelong Pokémon fans, we’re used to seeing other games in the “monster tamer” genre that are clearly inspired by this series, from Temtem to Ni no Kuni. However, nothing made us jump like Palworld, aka Pokémon with pistols. The first trailer of what looked like a heavily armed Pokémon trainer using a terrified little pocket monster as a bulletproof shield was like a meme come true.
Although the ridiculous concept is worth a laugh, what’s not so ridiculous is how developer Pocketpair seems to have copied elements from more than one Pokémon design when creating its own creatures for Palworld, called Pals. We have a thorn in our side, friend, because making a game with creatures inspired by Pokémon is one thing, but copying them – which, as we will demonstrate, happens in some examples – is too much.
We’re not video game designers, but Pokémon inspiration comes from everywhere. See those keys on the counter? That was a real idea for a new Pokémon. And that ice cream cone? A new Pokémon. That pile of garbage? You get the idea. The fact that Palworld does not have completely original designs, for whatever reason, seems crazy to us. What’s more, by not creating your own designs, you potentially open yourself up to legal action from The Pokémon Company and, even worse, criticism from rabid Pokémon fans like us.
Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe has denied allegations of plagiarism. Although Pikachu doesn’t exactly appear in Palworld, there’s no denying that many of the designs are strikingly similar, whether it’s elements from different Pokémon mixed together to create a Pal that’s a bit like Frankenstien’s monster, or more general similarities. At least it’s enough for The Pokémon Company to take into account. The company made an official statement saying, and we quote: “We intend to investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe intellectual property rights related to Pokémon.” Well, let’s do our own investigation and you can be the judge.
Before we get to the comparisons, it’s important to note that we have no problem with Palworld having elements of Pokémon gameplay. Countless games do the same thing, and anyone who’s played the first 15 minutes of Palworld can clearly see that while it does have the ability to tame monsters, its survival gameplay, crafting mechanics, and lack of glaring glitches make it clear. which, otherwise, is nothing like a Pokémon game. For us, it’s all about the designs of the Pokémon themselves, the creatures we’ve spent years of our lives knowing and loving, and seeing some of our favorites presented the way they are in Palworld breaks our hearts.
The following comparisons between Pal and Pokémon are classified by the nature of their resemblance. We’ll start with some examples of designs that are within the boundaries of good taste, and then move on to designs that share more than a few commonalities.
This first group is full of designs in which you can tell which Pokemon inspired each Pal, but the Pal is a totally original design. There are many of these, so these are just a few to show as an example. Sparkit The Pal named Sparkit is obviously intended to evoke Pikachu, the Pokémon mascot. It is a small yellow furry electric creature, but it is still its own design. Pengullet The same goes for the blue penguin Pal Pengullet, which reminds us of the blue penguin Pokémon Piplup. Same idea with clearly different execution. Most of Palworld’s 100+ monsters are original designs like the ones above, but others bear a much closer resemblance to specific Pokémon designs, though you may have to look a little closer to spot the similarities.
These next Pals have faces similar to those of certain Pokémon. Mozzarina For example, Mozzarina’s dream face is exactly the same as Snorlax’s, except that they reversed the direction of the teeth. Grintale Grintale has the same facial features as the Galarian Meowth, except for the pupils. Dumud Dumud’s face is the same as Slowpoke’s, with his mouth open. The only difference is that Dumud has teeth at the top and bottom, while Slowpoke only has one.
These Pals are largely unique, save for the signature elements of certain Pokémon. Kingpaca The forehead crown of the Kingpaca closely resembles the trident-shaped beak of the Emploeon, and they also share a tall, ovoid body shape when viewed from the front. Univolt It’s easy to see that the Pokémon Zebstrika inspired the Pal called Univolt, but there are enough differences not to confuse one with the other. Robinquill This Archer Pal named Robinquill has the same color scheme, cape, and bow and arrow weapon as the bird Pokémon Decidueye. Tocotoco Likewise, Tocotoco is a strange bird with a green/yellow/black/red design, much like the Pokémon Xatu. It also has a beak similar to that of Toucannon.
The Pals of this group look like Pokémon doubles, in which the base model is similar but the design is essentially different. Anubis The humanoid body and pointed ears of the dog warrior Pal known as Anubis look almost identical to the Pokémon Lucario, although he is dressed in Egyptian armor. Foxparks The fire fox Pal named Foxparks looks like a Fire-type Nicket, with perhaps a touch of Vulpix and Charmander’s fierce history. Grizzbolt Grizzbolt has the same shape, color and design elements as Electabuzz. Elizabee The insect Pal named Elizabee has the same swept waist, long arms with pointed insect hands, and dress-like abdomen as the bee Pokémon Vespiquen. Astegon Astegon has a very similar structure and shape to Mega Aggron. Incineram Incineram looks like someone used a Fire Stone on a Zoroark. Orserk Have you ever wondered what Garchomp would be like if he were an Electric/Bug type? Orserk from Palworld gives you a pretty good idea with his horns, wings, and new coat of paint.
This is where the Pals start to look a lot more like the Pokémon they are based on. Jetragon The jet-black Pal dragon named Jetragon is identical to the Pokémon Latios and Latias. Lamball Sorry, cutting Wooloo’s hair isn’t enough to get Lamball through a completely new design. Fenglope Fenglope looks like Cobalion caught by a strong wind. Broncherry Broncherry is Meganium with a new hairstyle. Wixen The Pal named Wixen might seem inspired by Delphox, and in some ways it could be, but it actually has more in common with an alternate fan-created Delphox design. Cremis This is Cremis. Just because you put an Eevee in a bowl of whipped cream doesn’t mean it’s suddenly a new creature. Suffice it to say that Cremis looks a lot like Gigamax Eevee.
The Pals in this group appear to be constructed from different parts of various Pokémon. Verdash Verdash could pass for a copy of Cinderace colored green, then they glued on Leafeon’s ears and Hisui’s distinctive Arcanine mane. Azurobe Azurobe is a blue snake Pal with a large head of blue hair, who has the body of Serperior and the hair of Primarina. Dinossom Add Lilligant’s crown and Meganium’s eyeballs to Goodra’s green-colored body, and you’ve pretty much got Dinossom. Lyleen For us this is the Mega Gardevoir prom dress look with the Bellossom flowers on top. Lovander Whoever created this unholy atrocity that combines Mewtwo’s skinny legs with Salazzle’s feminine wiles will never see the sky. It may be Pal number 69, but this horror is anything but pretty.
Boltmane Boltmane is basically a shiny Luxray. However, it should be noted that while Boltmane was seen in trailer footage, he is not currently available in the game. It may have been dropped or added later. Time will tell. Direhowl Direhowl is little more than a recolored Lycanroc and you can’t convince us otherwise.
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