From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
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A Pal Pill is an item found in ? Blocks in the game Super Paper Mario. When used, it creates an 8-person army of miniature, 8-bit copies of the user, which then surround them in a circular formation. Each pal will mimic the player character's movement at an offset, until either it touches an enemy, which both damages the enemy and defeats the pal; it falls down a pit; or the player leaves the area.
The pals use sprites and sound effects from Super Mario Bros.. If the player switches characters when they have Pal Pills, the pals will not change their appearance to match.