A new game revealed during Indie Live Expo this weekend has left some players scratching their heads. Palworld is a Pokémon-like game set to be released in 2022 that is filled with cute monsters … and lots of weapons.
Palworld was developed by Pocketpair and is described as a multiplayer open world game with survival crafting elements. At first glance, it looks a bit like your average Pokémon game. The trailer offers a living world full of creatures that look right after specific Pokémon. There’s even a sheep that looks suspiciously like Wooloo.
After around 35 seconds, the trailer takes a bizarre turn. It shows human characters shooting at monsters with assault rifles and shotguns. At one point, a character is using the same adorable sheep I mentioned above as a shield to repel bullets.
In another startling moment, the camera cuts to a factory where crying monsters mass-produce assault rifles. The game’s Steam page has an entire section on the factory automation mechanic that’s even darker: “For automation, it’s important that Pals can do the manual work. Build a factory and place buddies in it. They will work forever as long as they are fed until the end of their life. “
Pocketpair has garnered tons of engagement on social media, with the trailer garnering over 33,000 likes on Twitter alone. While some are convinced of the “WTF” nature of the trailer, others are disgusted.
“I’m rightly appalled by this game and how many people look forward to blatant gun wars and slave labor in the Pokémon rip-off design,” tweeted the user Screaming Possum in response.
It’s not clear what Pocketpair is up to here, but Palworld reads like an intentional social satire. The game’s Steam page lists all of the normal features you would see in a monster collecting game alongside naughty features that describe illegal poaching and hunting mechanisms. It seems like a sharp comment that penetrates the dark undertones of games like Pokémon, which are all about capturing creations and getting them to battle.
Whatever the intent, Palworld will be released sometime in 2022. For a healthier monster collecting experience, maybe stick with New Pokémon Snap.