Palworld took the world by storm following its early access launch on January 19. It peaked at over 2.1 million concurrent players on Steam, selling over 12 million copies on that platform alone and amassing at least 7 million more purchases via Xbox Game Pass. That means you’ve probably played it at this point, even if you aren’t playing many other video games right now. Thankfully, the melting pot — or derivative, depending on who you ask — design of Palworld makes it a gateway game to several other amazing titles.
From fellow captivating survival crafting titles to games in other genres that Palworld has pulled features and inspiration from, there’s a lot to try out if you’re looking to branch out and play some other games the next time you take a break from Palworld. In particular, we recommend playing the following five titles to get a better idea of where Palworld’s inspiration came from and where it might go in the future.
If Palworld has piqued your interest in survival crafting games, and you somehow have not tried out Minecraft, you need to play the genre’s king. Although it might not be the first survival crafting game, Minecraft is definitely the game that took the genre mainstream and cemented the foundational building blocks. Thanks to years of updates, Minecraft just feels intuitive to play at this point, yet it still features so much hidden depth within its basic mechanics. While it’s good to pay attention to the new hotness, sometimes you need to appreciate the classics.
Minecraft is available across pretty much any game system or device you’d want to play it on.
If you’re looking for a survival crafting game that’s more directly similar to Palworld in mechanics and design, then you’ll want to check out Ark: Survvival Ascended. Palworld replicates many of its systems when it comes to both progression and taming creatures, albeit Ark does so with dinosaurs instead of cute Pals. Ark is a more hardcore game, so you’ll have an easier time getting into it after spending several hours with Palworld. Last year, it got a next-gen Unreal Engine 5 refresh titled Survival Ascended, so it looks even better than Palworld.
Ark: Survival Ascended is available now for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X.
Although Palworld has a reputation as being Pokémon with guns, in practice, its gameplay is quite different from any existing Pokémon game. If I had to pick a Pokémon game that was most similar to Palworld, though, it’d be Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Released in 2022, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is much different than other games in the series because it’s more focused on immersing players in its open world as they survey and capture Pokémon without the need to go into a separate battle. If you enjoy Palworld, but have yet to get into a Pokémon game, Legends: Arceus is the one you’ll likely jive with the most. From there, you can form your own consensus on how much Palworld actually rips off from this long-running RPG series.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is available now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
The open-world nature of Palworld, as well as its stamina bar and glider mechanic, pull from the design of Nintendo’s most recent Zelda games. If you want a more streamlined and single-player, yet utterly freeing open-world adventure, then those games are worth checking out. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, in particular, is a good choice for those who enjoy the crafting elements of Palworld. Players can use features like Fuse and Ultrahand to create new weapons and build a variety of vehicles and other creations to solve puzzles or traverse the world. And if get a kick out of messing with Pals, wait until you start torturing Koroks in Tears of the Kingdom.
Like Pokémon Legends Arceus, it’s available now exclusively for Nintendo Switch.
Looping back to survival crafting games, there are plenty of other choices for Palworld players to pick from, including Lego Fortnite, Grounded, and upcoming titles like Nightingale. But I want to spotlight another survival crafting game that launched in the shadow of Palworld that I actually think is better and more deserving of attention. While it’s doing quite well, you might have missed out on Enshrouded when you were caught up in the Palworld hype and discourse because the former came out right after Palworld. Although there are similarities between the two, Enshrouded stands out more with its fantasy world, questlines, and intricate building system.
Also an early access title, Palworld players should give Enshrouded a shot and experience how both games grow and flourish together. It’s available now on PC.