Pokémon with guns blasts into Steam Early Access next week

Palworld, an intriguingly silly blend of gunplay and Pokémon-style monster collecting, makes its way to Steam Early Access next week.

A girl sitting on top of a large, yellow point-eared creature, which has a big minigun.

Palworld asks the all important question, ‘what if Pokémon had guns?’ Pikachu is adorable, but how much cooler would it be if he had a rail cannon strapped to his back? And, with the game entering Steam Early Access next week, we’re about to get our answer.

I say Pokémon but, as you’d expect, this monster-taming survival RPG’s beasts are distinct enough not to get Palworld and developer Pocketpair into trouble with Nintendo. Hopefully. But it looks so brilliantly over-the-top that I’m champing at the bit to play it. Would-be players won’t have long to wait, since it hits Steam Early Access next week.

It’s not just the addition of guns that makes Palworld appealing, though. I don’t care what Pokémon’s fans say, there’s something massively suspect about enslaving these creatures for combat. Palworld absolutely leans into the more macabre-elements of monster ‘collecting’.

With shades of Stardew Valley, not only can you ride creatures (Pals) into battle, you can put them to work on your farm or, if you’re feeling moustache-twirlingly evil, factories.

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“Letting Pals do the work is the key to automation. Build a factory, place a Pal in it, and they’ll keep working as long as they’re fed—until they’re dead, that is,” boasts the game’s Steam store page. I’m simultaneously horrified and delighted by that nasty little revelation.

And, while the Steam Early Access announce trailer mostly focuses on the combat, there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-moment where you can see a still-living chicken stewing in the pot. That’s not going to end up on any trading cards, that’s for sure.

Palworld hits Steam Early Access this Friday January 19, and will be in early access for at least a year. Wondering if you can run it? Here are Palworld’s system requirements. And if you’re after another monster-collecting outing, here are the best games like Pokémon.

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