Palworld. The videogame equivalent of a cookie-cutter blockchain or 'AI' tech startup set up to get rich quick. Funny enough it seems to actually work, considering that hundreds of thousands of people appear to be playing this game according to steamcharts' numbers.
I can not speak for the gameplay as I have not played Palworld. But it's obvious that the game is a mesh of various popular games — Breath of the Wild, Minecraft, Fortnite and Pokémon —, making it look like a cheap cash grab. And with the CEO supposedly being a fan of NFTs, AI and cryptocurrencies I wouldn't advice having the hope that this early access prototype of a game will ever turn complete. The company seems to have their priority straight to get rich quick for little effort.
But never mind that. What's really interesting about Palworld are the monster designs with their clear inspiration from Pokémon. There's a loud voice on the internet claiming plagiarism. While I can see where Nintendo fans are coming from I still have to disagree. On the average there is not much wrong with Palworld's designs.
These are examples of designs with a lot of similarity at first glance. But when you take a closer look at the individual forms the designs are composed of it becomes apparent that whoever worked on Palworld's monster design put good effort into not simply copying Pokémon designs. In these cases I think the Palworld designs look vastly superior. They turned boring and silly designs into monsters I would actually use in a Pokémon game.
Then there's these that even I feel are a bit too similar. But when you look at Palworld's roster as a whole there's only a couple of those. And even these are not straight model rips. It's silly to demand Nintendo to file a lawsuit over inspired designs. Despite their similarities these are not the same.
Especially with cases like this where saying Palworld stole a Pokémon's design is a complete stretch.
My point is that Palworld's monster designs are not just cheap Pokémon knock offs. On the average they're better than whatever Nintendo's games have been offering these last couple generations. If Palworld was a legit Pokémon clone, with gameplay and game design fashioned after Pokémon's early 2D generations, I would actually be getting this because Pokémon used to be one of my favorite franchises until the series started going downhill.
Anyways, I think it's hilarious that a game so obviously designed only to sell, built with cheap stock assets and little actual content, is actually doing this well. I would not be surprised if Pokémon will take inspiration from Palworld in the future, considering that it's also a franchise whose sole purpose is to sell as much as possible to make shareholders happy.