The Pokémon-with-guns-and-forced-labor survival game Palworld looks like the sort of thing that would be very enjoyable on a mobile device: On your morning commute, during a walk in the park, or maybe just sitting outside in your garden, if you happen to live someplace that isn't currently drenched in snow and cold.
Alas, it is not: Developer Pocketpair has posted a warning on Twitter saying that there are no real Palworld mobile apps, but there are plenty of fakes out there that could lead you into trouble.
"There is no Palworld application for phones," Pocketpair tweeted. "Apps using names and product images such as 'パルワールド' and 'Palworld' are appearing on the AppStore and Google Play, but they are not affiliated with our company in any way.
"We have reported this issue to Apple, which operates the App Store, and Google, which operates Google Play. Please be aware that downloading these apps may lead to the leakage of personal information stored on your smartphone or to fraud."
It's the unfortunate reality of the mobile game world: Someone comes up with a hit, and there's an immediate rush to capitalize on it with knockoffs. Occasionally they find major success, as in the case of the Among Us clone Werewolf Among Us, which became a mobile hit in China in 2020 (at least in part because Among Us lacked a Chinese localization) but in most cases they're lazy, half-assed work that annoys and demoralizes the creators of the games they're ripping off.
Given that, and the lack of a "real" Palworld mobile game, it's entirely unsurprising to see this sort of thing popping on the App Store:
Of course, one may note the irony of the developers of a game that is, shall we say, deeply inspired by someone else's work complaining that their work is being unscrupulously hosed by other people, but thus far Palworld has proven distinct enough to avoid the wrath (although not the rumblings) of the Pokémon Company. Some of these mobile apps, by comparison, use both the name and official art from Palworld, which is a whole different ballgame.
So for now, your best bet is to stay away from Palworld mobile apps—or at the very least, if you're determined to give one of them a shot, be careful about what permissions you grant and don't give 'em your credit card info. That's good advice in general, but especially so here.