How to Get ‘Palworld’ Running on a Steam Deck


Palworld has taken the gaming world by storm, offering a new take on the timeless monster-catching fun of Nintendo’s acclaimed Pokémon series. While you can play the game on PC and Xbox through early access, many Steam Deck owners may also be wondering if they can play the game on their Steam-powered handhelds. The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is that you should change some settings to get it to run more smoothly.

Does Palworld run on Steam Deck?

While it isn’t rated as being “Great on Deck,” Palworld is listed as “playable on Steam Deck” on Valve’s Steam storefront. That means that while it is technically playable, you’ll need to configure different settings to get it to work correctly. Of course, you could just download the game and start playing, but it’s likely you’ll run into frame rate issues, stuttering, and even some freezing.

How to make Palworld run better on Steam Deck

To make Palworld run better on Steam Deck, change some in-game settings to make things easier on the Steam Deck’s weaker hardware. There are a lot of recommend settings running around, but the ones I’m about to list are what I personally used to play Palworld on my Steam Deck:

Now, it is worth noting that you are not going to get 60 FPS (frames per second) on the Steam Deck while playing Palworld. The game just isn’t optimized for that, and the Steam Deck isn’t powerful enough, either. There are already some user mods out there, like the Steam Deck Essentials mod, that configure settings even lower than the base game allows, but even then, you aren’t going to get a stable 60 FPS. That mod may also make the visuals bit too low quality, at least in my opinion.

Instead, I recommend aiming for a solid 30 FPS, and the settings above will net that even on the older LCD Steam Deck. The OLED will likely have slightly better performance because Valve has optimized some things in the hardware on that model, but don’t expect massive improvements worth changing the settings for. That said, I didn’t cap the max FPS at 30 because I wanted the system to be able to exceed it where it could. Letting it jump to 45 or 50 FPS during some sequences won’t cause any problems, but you can always cap it to 30 if you want to have a completely stable FPS that never goes above or below that amount.

Many others on Reddit recommend turning the View Distance to Low. However, when I did this, I found that the visual pop-ins of grass, stone, and other objects were too annoying to deal with for the extra five to six FPS that it gave me. Over the course of 10 hours of playtime on the Steam Deck—all in handheld, too—I’ve rarely dropped below 30 FPS. Sure, it might not be the pinnacle of gaming, but 30 FPS on the Steam Deck is still impressive for a newer game.

I keep VSync and Motion Blur turned off, as VSync tries to match the refresh rate of the display and the FPS together. It can create more issues than it helps in this particular case, and Motion Blur just makes movement in the game look bad. You can turn it off to hide some of the lower resolution changes if you want, though.

Keep in mind that these settings won’t prevent you from running into graphical hitches on the Steam Deck. Even running everything at Low, it’s possible the FPS could drop below 30. However, I found that these settings are still very playable while keeping the visuals of the game from looking too atrocious.

Known issues playing Palworld on Steam Deck

If you do plan on playing Palworld on the Steam Deck, you’re going to want to be aware of a couple of things.

First, if you’re playing on battery power, you should only expect an hour or two of game time before you need to plug in. This game absolutely gobbles up the Steam Deck’s battery, and while the OLED should get slightly better battery life, I’d mostly recommend keeping a charger around if you plan on playing on battery power.

Additionally, if you installed CryoUtilities on your Steam Deck, you can tweak the game to limit the amount of memory it is allowed to use. This is a complex process to improve performance on Steam Deck, and requires following documentation from CryoUtilities’ creator to do everything correctly. So, if you aren’t comfortable doing that, you shouldn’t mess around with it. If you want to do it, you can follow a guide like this to set it up.

Performance for Palworld on Steam Deck will likely see some upticks once FSR 2 (FidelityFX Super Resolution) is enabled. But for now, DLSS (deep learning super sampling) is the only option the game offers. There are FSR mods that enable it, but those require some working of the in-game files to get things running smoothly. DLSS and FSR are Nvidia and AMD’s respective names for new upscaling systems designed to provide better frame rates by rendering the frames at a lower resolution, then using deep learning AI to upscale them to a higher resolution. It often provides huge improvements for FPS and stability in modern games, but can lead to some visual quality loss.

Palworld also doesn’t totally play well with the Steam Deck’s virtual keyboard just yet, which means you may not be able to change your world name or even your character name. Nobody has found a fix for this just yet, so you’ll need to be okay with whatever names it gives you if you can’t get it to work correctly.

Finally, Palworld has a massive memory leak issue at the moment. This means that over time, as you play the game, it is going to take up more and more of your Steam Deck’s RAM. As such, I recommend saving and exiting the game every few hours just to avoid running into issues with this particular problem, at least until the developers fix it.

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