Character with Pals in the background and an egg in the incubator
Screenshot by GameSkinny

If You Love Palworld, There’s Another Game That You Might Love Even More

Palworld's similarities to Pokemon get a lot of attention, but what about how close it is to ARK?

Palworld receives a lot of comparisons to Pokemon. But aside from the obvious Pal/Pokemon design similarities and the ability to catch them in balls Spheres, it doesn’t feel like a Pokemon game. It plays more like a survival crafting game. And that’s why if you like ARK, you’ll love Palworld.

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Why Palworld is Perfect if You Play ARK: Survival Evolved or ARK: Survival Ascended

Palworld is often pejoratively called Pokemon with guns, but its gameplay mechanics are much more similar to ARK: Survival Evolved and Survival Ascended.

Seeing just images of Palworld can make you believe that it’s similar to Pokemon simply because of the design of the Pals you can collect. But once I got into the game, I felt more like I was playing ARK: Survival Evolved with cute creatures taking the place of dinosaurs. 

Palworld Technology and ARK Engrams

First tiers of Palworld's Technology Tab
Screenshot by GameSkinny

You have the Technology Tab, which is nearly identical to the Engrams Tab in ARK. The system overall is similar. When you earn Technology Points in Palworld, you spend them on unlocking permanent crafting recipes. These include both armor and weapon recipes, along with structures that you build at your base. Like ARK, it’s the core way to improve your access to resources, eventually letting you build stronger bases, craft saddles to ride Pals with, and add guns to your arsenal.

The Role of Pals and the Role of Dinosaurs

Foxparks cooking at a cooking pot
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Pals in Palworld serve plenty of uses, much like the dinosaurs in ARK. They act as mounts if you have the proper saddles made, they help with farming and harvesting resources, and they help you fight threats that come to your base.

Having them around makes it easier to build because you have a steady supply of resources coming in. In fact, I don’t think I’ve run out of Wood or Stone since having Logging and Mining Pals assigned at my base. Overall, Palworld’s Palbox makes assigning Pals a smooth process, and being able to pick them up and throw them to where you want them to work is a huge plus.

Palworld and ARK’s Focus on Base Building

palworld character in front of a wooden house looking at his little blue pal approaching a small freezer
Screenshot by GameSkinny

When it comes to ARK, your base is the core of your experience. Palworld is the same. You build technology and structures to help defend against raids. Then, you have technology that helps craft supplies and weapons, which can be run by Pals. The base is also where you breed Pals, help level them through tasks, and strengthen them. Building bases is more streamlined than in ARK, letting you create a base with ease through a clean menu in Palworld. The biggest downside for bases in Palworld is that the size of a base feels too small. Luckily, the game is still receiving updates as it’s in Early Access, so that could be adjusted in the future.

In the end, it doesn’t do Palworld justice to call it Pokemon with guns because it shares many more similarities with ARK: Survival Evolved. Even in Early Access, you can sink hours into Palworld simply from exploring the islands. Pocketpair’s intention to add more maps will only add to those hours and its resemblance to ARK. I’d go as far as saying that I prefer Palworld to ARK because it feels more polished, and I like the cute Pals versus having Dinosaurs.

So, if you like ARK, you’ll fall in love with Palworld, especially as it continues to grow through updates. This game has a ton of potential, and it’s already seen millions of players hop onto the islands to explore and capture Pals. And for more content, check out our guides hub for topics like the 10 strongest Pals or how to get all hats.

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Melissa Sarnowski
Melissa Sarnowski has been working as a gaming writer professionally for two years, having been at GameSkinny for over a year now as a horror beat writer. She has an English degree from University of Wisconsin - Madison. While she focuses on all things horror, she also enjoys cozy games, MMOs like FFXIV and WoW, and any and everything in between.