Palworld, or the game more colloquially known as “Pokémon With Guns” is out today, January 19, and it’s quickly found a rather large audience interested in gunning down cute creatures. While Pocketpair’s monster-taming survival game is also available freely to Game Pass subscribers, a lot of people are diving into the paid Steam version on day one. However, all this interest has hit the game’s servers like a wrecking ball, and the team is currently working to resolve connection issues.
Palworld already has over 300,000 concurrent players on Steam on its first day of Early Access. This doesn’t include players on Xbox or those playing on PC through a different launcher, but that’s already a huge number, and as of this writing, Palworld is already in the list of the top 25 record holders for concurrent players on Steam, beating out the Steam versions of Grand Theft Auto V and Starfield by a few thousand players. There’s no discounting the memetic impact of something being called “Pokémon With Guns”—that kind of edgy twist will catch a lot of attention. Plus, the recent sentiment around the Pokémon games has been a bit negative in recent years, so people who are itching for a monster-taming game but aren’t getting what they want out of games like Pokémon Scarlet and Violet may be looking for a more twisted alternative.
While Palworld soars up the Steam charts, Pocketpair seems to be having trouble keeping up with the demand. In a January 19 statement on its social channels, Palworld is dealing with server stability issues as people pile on, and recommends either restarting the game to try and connect again, or waiting until the team resolves the issue.
Pocketpair recognizes that Palworld might seem like those dozens of copycat scam games you’ve seen in TikTok ads or at the bottom of Steam’s bargain bin. That’s why the team went out of its way to say in an FAQ that Palworld is 100 percent legitimate. But even then, it’s not often you find a Pokémon knock-off with creature designs as blatantly, er, inspired by Pikachu and friends as Palworld. That’s not a commentary on the quality of the game, but it is wild to see some of these characters side-by-side.
A few of us here at Kotaku are playing Palworld now, so be on the lookout for future coverage in the coming days as we sort through the similarities and differences between Pocketpair’s latest and Pokémon.