Nintendo and The Pokémon Company's intent to investigate any potential case for plagiarism in light of Palworld's release has become the opening act of 2024's inevitable list of gaming controversies.
On a superficial level, the two IPs couldn't be more different. Pocket Pair's spontaneously popular title bills itself, first and foremost, as a survival affair, while Game Freak's iconic mainline games have always adhered strictly to the realms of traditional RPG. A chasm separates the two genres' intricacies. Yet, the former has unquestionably taken substantial inspiration from Pokémon, far beyond aping Game Freak's character designs to give its titular 'Pals' life.
The trouble is that many of the components that make up Palworld's irresistible whole are superior to what inspired them.
From creature companions that prove more useful and lively outside of battle, to a user interface that riffs on Pokémon's largely unchanged presentation while boasting vastly expanded accessibility.
Such disparity in quality beggars belief when one IP is barely a month old and the other has been going for over two decades.
But it's not all a 1:1 affair.
Palworld follows suit with its contemporaries in providing all of the basics one would expect of a game released in 2024. That it shares DNA with Pokémon has simply made it a catalyst for change.
Better multiplayer, an open ear to the community, and acceptable technical performance are improvements Pokémon is in desperate need of before we start talking about giving Trainers AK-47s as companion pieces to a Charizard.
10. Expanded Interaction
Pokémon doesn't need to wholesale lift everything that works about its fierce competitor. Shoehorning survival mechanics - namely base-building - into the former isn't necessary or even desired, but being able to utilize hard-earned creatures when they're not actively battling in your name is an opportunity-gap that Game Freak has failed to ever capitalize on.
That's not to say the studio hasn't tried to give unused 'mons a purpose besides filling up space in the PC, but having them potter around aimlessly while you're testing sandwich recipes ain't it. There are already plenty of accompanying systems in the mainline franchise that serve only to waste time, so why not enable the player to utilize their private army to carry out menial tasks?
Instead of making berries and raid dens a manual affair, expand the Day Care system and let the Trainer leave unimportant or unused 'Mons with NPCs so they can passively accrue resources while their master is out in the wider world adventuring and battling. Considering how long it can take to accrue items necessary for training competitive Pokémon such as Bottle Caps and vitamins, Game Freak would do us all a solid by introducing some sort of minigame centered around the storage PC that allows inactive catches to supplement both without requiring constant input from the player.