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Palworld is Steam Deck Playable and runs on Desktop Linux with Proton

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Palworld is a new release on Steam in Early Access from Pocketpair. A fusion of Pokémon with monster catching, farming, building and much more. It is Steam Deck Playable and does work on Desktop Linux too. Note: personal purchase.

What has often been referred to as Pokémon with guns, it's already proving to be a big hit with a current peak player count of 250,553 294,826 (it keeps going up every refresh) on Steam and a Very Positive user rating. So it seems like it might be the first big indie hit of 2024. So it's great news that it works right away!

Valve has already put it through Deck Verified and gave it a Steam Deck Playable rating, and Valve set Proton Experimental for it by default on Steam Deck, so for best experience on Desktop Linux make sure you set Proton Experimental in the Properties -> Compatibility menu.


Pictured: Palworld on Kubuntu 23.10. Click them to enlarge.

For Steam Deck the performance does have some issues and Valve noted various problems in their testing including: small text, graphics needing to be configured manually, you need to manually bring up the on-screen keyboard and some functionality may not be accessible with the default controller configuration.

It was designed as a multiplayer game clearly in many ways with support for 4 player co-op and 32 players on dedicated servers. You can play solo without issues though.

In my own testing on a Steam Deck OLED I've been using these settings:

So far, this has given a somewhat acceptable performance level. It ranges from 25-45 FPS depending on what I am doing which is very playable - most of the time above 30FPS. Some spots in the open world I've seen bring it down to 25FPS, especially during bigger combat sections. However, one clear problem is the menu system. Some of the in-game menus bring the performance down pretty hard to around 20FPS but it will come back up when you close the menus.

Text is definitely small too, I've had to pull the Steam Deck closer to my face to actually read some of the on-screen details, so it's quite annoying. It's going to need some text scaling quite urgently as it's really not comfortable to read a lot of it. The icons are tiny too.


Pictured - Palworld on Steam Deck. Click them to enlarge.

For battery life on the Steam Deck OLED, you're looking at around ~2 hours from a full charge with a 60FPS frame limit.

Meanwhile on Desktop Linux (Kubuntu 23.10) with an AMD Ryzen 5800X and Radeon 6800XT the experience has been overall pretty great. Testing on the highest possible graphics settings it's always been above 60FPS so far. Most of the time between 80-120FPS depending on where I am in the open world and what I'm doing. For a big open world game in Early Access running through Proton, that's actually pretty good.

This is only an early preliminary test as i haven't had too long with it, so keep that in mind. It's also Early Access, so everything is subject to change but it's an incredibly promising start for Palworld.

One thing I will address directly, since this always comes up in comments whenever there's a new monster catching game, the elephant in the room — Nintendo. They don't (and can't) own the rights to an entire genre, but Pokémon is obviously popular and so there's always comparisons but Nintendo can't just go after developers of other similar games. However, in this case, plenty of the creatures do have a striking similarity to various Pokémon designs and some even look like colour-flips with a few tweaks. So it will be very interesting to see what happens for this one specifically.

Something else that needs noting, is that the developer still has other games in Early Access while launching this also into Early Access. Craftopia, for example, looks largely similar. Like they took their own game, and added these creatures into it to make it a different game.

To sum up what I've seen of it so far it feels very much like a blending of ARK Survival Evolved, Pokémon and Zelda: Breath of the Wild mechanically. One or two sounds even seemed like they were right out of Zelda (very close at least). It's very derivative. But then so are a lot of survival games. The small human of mine is going to freak when they see it. I can definitely see why people are enjoying it so much already and I fear it's going to take over my life for a while.

You can buy Palworld on Steam.

Original Early Access trailer below:

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Update 21/01/24: the article originally said Palworld had an internet requirement for single-player, as Valve state it on their Deck Verified rating. Valve's notice is incorrect so the article text was updated. Additionally here's a new Steam Deck video of the game and some quick thoughts:

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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40 comments
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LoudTechie Jan 20
Quoting: Pengling
Quoting: tuubiThe catching ball mechanic has been copied by plenty of monster catching games before,
This mechanic originated in the 1994 SNES RPG Robotrek, and Enix (who, as we know, later merged with Square to form Square-Enix) has never taken any action about it that I'm aware of.

Let's be honest, the "keeping a creature in a ball" idea is inspired by gachapon toys, so there's generic prior-art from long before any video game employed the idea.

Pengling, the extend of your knowledge of the history of game development is scary sometimes, you know that?
I can see you are using a search engine, but that's not such a powerful excuse as you might think.
The fact that you are using it in a casual conversation means that you knew many of the basic facts and just tried to fill in the blanks with it.
I'm happy to converse with such a knowledgable person about their subject, but wow.


Last edited by LoudTechie on 20 January 2024 at 3:37 pm UTC
Pengling Jan 20
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Quoting: LoudTechiePengling, the extend of your knowledge of the history of game development is scary sometimes, you know that?
Haha, thankyou.

Quoting: LoudTechieI can see you are using a search engine, but that's not such a powerful excuse as you might think.
The fact that you are using it in a casual conversation means that you knew many of the basic facts and just tried to fill in the blanks with it.
Thanks, again. I'm only using a search-engine to retrieve links to things that I already knew of!

I'm in my 40s, so I was there to see a lot of the formative years of gaming as we know it today - I remember seeing news articles unironically and disingenuously calling Sonic The Hedgehog and Super Mario violent "because they jump on people's heads", or talk-show hosts complaining about their kids "playing on a Nintendosega", or the press in my country unironically suggesting this baby-toy as a serious alternative to the likes of the Game Boy, Game Gear, and Atari Lynx.

Let's not even get started on the utterly deranged way so many grown and allegedly-reasonable adults behaved towards Pokemon in the late 1990s - though that's better catalogued by folks who know more than I do about that topic. (I'm not much of a fan of RPGs, so whilst I love the creature designs and concept behind Pokemon, I've never really enjoyed the games. I even skipped Bomberman Max, which I mentioned earlier, as I mistakenly thought it was more RPG-like than it actually is - I plan to finally play it soon.)

Quoting: LoudTechieI'm happy to converse with such a knowledgable person about their subject, but wow.
There is a phrase I jokingly use with some fellow GOL'ers who I chat with, and that is "Gaming is a way of life!". That is to say, it's a medium we've all grown up with, so it's fun to learn about what's shaped it.

Just don't get me started on Bomberman lore - we'll be here all day!
soulsource Jan 20
Whoa, I'm honestly impressed by the discussion my snarky (and not at all serious) comment started.
I've learned something here. Thanks!
Quoting: Penglingor the press in my country unironically suggesting this baby-toy as a serious alternative to the likes of the Game Boy, Game Gear, and Atari Lynx.
What is that thing? It's hilarious! It's like a non-digital video game, what the heck?
Pengling Jan 20
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Quoting: Purple Library GuyWhat is that thing? It's hilarious! It's like a non-digital video game, what the heck?
It's part of a line of clockwork toys for infants, made by Tomy in the early 1990s - it's literally just a variant on those old wind-up musical plastic "televisions"! At the time in the UK, and for many years after that, Tomy was best known for toddler toys, so the notion of recommending this as a legitimate alternative to actual consoles, or even just dedicated LCD games, irritated 9-or-10-year-old Pengling and at least some of her peers to no end.

However, I'm not sure if it was better or worse than that time when the British press went all-in on recommending the Barcode Battler as being a serious alternative to the Game Boy and for "making maths fun" (no...) - at the very least, the Tomy toy actually somewhat resembled a video game, but the Barcode Battler just used a glorified calculator display. To this day I feel bad for any kids whose parents fell for that - I don't recall it being a cheap device, and it must've sucked to miss out on what, even then, was a big part of our generation's pop-culture.
elmapul Jan 20
that is the perfect timing for valve to introduce ad-hoc multiplayer, and if this game have a trade system...
EWG Jan 21
Meh. All these monsters mimic animals, plants, fungi, and objects IRL. There's bound to be a certain level of overlap.

So long as they don't have any major stars that are too similar to Pikachu, the starters, or other famous pokémon then I don't think The Pokémon Company or Nintendo have water to bathe in or whatever that expression is.

That being said, I imagine the aforementioned companies need to have their diapers changed at the looming success of this upcoming game. 🤭

If only Nintendo would play fair and embrace F/LOSS and hackers....
They can't beat 'em!

This will definitely tip a few sales towards thr Deck over the Switch.

That being said, we need major competitors versus the conglomerates that are sony & μshaft.
1xok Jan 21
Quoting: soulsourceI'm a bit torn on this one. On the one hand it looks really interesting. On the other hand it's €20 that will be spent on nothing once it gets pulled from Steam because of (rightful) copyright claims by The Pokémon Company...

It is more likely that it will be taken over by Epic and taken down from Steam.
So I played Pal World on XCloud for about an hour. It's not really my kind of game. It seems pretty jank and I don't like open world, survival games.

Can't complain much for $1 on XCloud though.
a0kami Jan 21
You guys are sounding like Temtem and CassetteBeasts don't even exist, which both are actually orders of magnitude more similar to Pokémon than I assume Palworld will ever get. There are cute magic creatures with stats and pokéballs, that's about the only similarities.

It does not play like a pokémon game at all, at least it plays like I've always wanted pokémon game to be played, for probably over a decade now. Arceus got closer to action third person monster trainer whatever but Palworld just feels way more fun and it's barely a early access early release.

Now, given the overwhelming success (it's currently the most played game on steam, over a million concurrent players), there are more sounding questions such as money. Yes, Temtem and Cassette Beasts are closer to Pokémon and they're alive and well, but that amount of quick money from PocketPair (Palworld devs), that might lure out Nintendo for actual legal actions 'cause big money. What about PocketPair, will they turn that money into developing the best monster catcher action gatcha ever ? If so, how many tears until an enjoyable experience ? Or knowing they won't ever make as many sales even with a full game (unless DLC's or micro transactions), will they cash out and leave the project to rot ?

Anyways, is there some kind of LUG dedicated server or is anyone interested in that ? I'm afraid they perfectly nailed my exploration gameplay loop addiction (and probably not just me given the charts).


Last edited by a0kami on 21 January 2024 at 6:15 pm UTC
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