I finally found my new staple game - Palworld Review

Pal Mozzarina looking through a window.
Mozzarina of the window, what is your wisdom?

When I saw the Palworld ads as early as 2021, I knew it was going to sell. But I admit I also thought it was a cheeky game resembling a monster collector with guns and would end up as a vaporware. The Palworld ad was rough too when Pocket Pair was still using Unity. 

Fast forward to the January 19, 2024, I bought the EA of Palworld on Steam. They did it! I didn't think twice of getting it. It was interesting at least. Now, I'm glad I'm playing it. This article is long overdue on Harvest Gamer, but I wanted to make sure it's out there. Palworld is a game I've been looking for. That is, I finally found a game that needs to be played and installed on all of my machines.

Why play Palworld?
Synopsis

Pros

Cons

Conclusion


Why play Palworld? (top)

The premise is simple. You catch Pals, build a base, and produce more resources to catch more Pals. Then you begin to think is my Pal any good? Is my base the best? Am I the very best I can ever be that no one ever was?

Base building is fun and simple, but hard to master. As it stands, players (or each guild) can build a limit of 3 bases. The base radius looks large but is actually limited. However you can design vertical levels to your base. Players also have more than enough storage boxes to their materials and a large Palbox storage toward capturing or breeding the best Pals.

A Chikipi, Lamball, and a Mozzarina hanging out in a ranch.
Pals who wants to be ranch animals instead.

As for myself, the base building is the relaxing part of the game. You can build homes, resource sites, factories or plantations. Then you convert those materials into usable goods such as food, ammo, weapons, armor, and medicine. Your Pals help out. The better the Pals, the faster the work gets completed. 

I'm having fun on Early Access (on Steam). There is definitely more content coming in the future. But I like how the base game plays out, how often the patches are released, and how the developers respond to the early access feedback.


Synopsis (top)

You get a vision hinting that the towers hold the answers. You wake up marooned on an island with a gigantic tree peering over the horizon. Unknown Pals greet to see if you're still alive. You explore and find survivors wary of these Pals, who could be docile or aggressive, that come in various shapes and sizes. You must survive. But you realize that the place isn't too bad to thrive upon by catching more Pals and building a base. And hopefully to aid you in your journey toward the truth.


Pros: Singleplayer and Multiplayer Capable (top)

Palworld can be played via single-player, coop or dedicated server. Palworld will appeal to many players due to the available host of customizations. The game is also mod supported.

The grind can be simple or hardcore depending on your playstyle. It is easy to learn. Games hosted can be customized to make it easy or challenging. If something needs adjustment, the setting can be re-set before starting the game. 

I've played the game solo and I had fun. It felt cozy, yet a little lonely. Although the loneliness is reduced by seeing my Pals run around my base. But then coop is the heart of the game. You generate the coop code so your friends can connect to your island. Does that remind you of something else? However in Palworld, you can build your home together on the island. And you don't need a subscription to play coop over Steam.


Pals are not a gimmick (top)

My Pal Chillet peeking out from a foundation
Did you say treats?

Pals are the fundamental part of your base - and your party. They will fight, build, and craft for you. Players will endear certain Pals on their playthrough: there will be that certain unique, special, experience with that certain Pal. 

In return, you'll need more resources to catch more Pals. But it's not an exhausting loop. There's a point of satisfaction as you expand or upgrade your base. Sometimes I just leave the game running or watch my Pals craft a thousand worth of ammunition. 

Pals are pals in your adventure. They're your builders, gatherers, and manufacturers. They'll stand guard and defend your base. They'll keep watch over you on your adventure and protect you from any 'aggro' and they'll attack whoever you attack. They'll follow your command. And they'll continue fighting even after your 'defeat'. Both on paper and on function, their actions say a lot. 

You also have the Legendary Pals that are not only powerful in a fight, but are also functionally impressive in your base. For example, they look cool, and can mine and carry stuff fast! As a result, you have a clear understanding of why you must have that Pal, rather than collecting it just because the lore says so.


Fixed Map Design (top)

A fixed map design is good for collaboration. Other players post coordinates to find out where to build bases because ore exists there. Game design wise, a seed based game design may be detrimental as Pal spawns may randomize too. I mean setting up your first base with level 50 Pals would be hilariously bad. Random maps are 50-50 on resources too; sometimes you end up with a good map, sometimes you don't. Worse is when you've put in a lot of hours on a random map only to realize that it's a bad map with few or spread out resources. 


At 60fps (top)

Palworld runs on the PC, Xbox One, and Series X/S consoles so you get a much fluid game especially when you compare it side-by-side to its contemporary rival. Having it run at 60fps is definitely an asset and feels like it should be the standard performance of the current gen.


Cons: Need More Base Creativity (top)

As mentioned, a limit of 3 bases by default is one of the Cons. Another Con is the small base radius. The space allotted for bases should be increased because the map is huge. 

As it's EA, I think they will still increase both components. You can build your base vertically so you can create more spaces that way. I imagine that the developers are being conservative to reserve space for future points of interests. However, it's a good idea to have a bigger foundation for the base in general. Oh, and we need more potted plants.


Five Pal party (top)

You can only bring five Pals in your party. It should be increased to at least five despite being part of the party. I find five limiting in terms of creating your composition. 

For example, having a DPS, a flying mount, a Pal for buffs, a land mount, which leaves the last slot either to a tank, or a Pal that needs to level up. Not to mention, you need a Pal for utility too like a Pal that can cook, craft, or mine. All the more reason why some Pals look better than others.

Having more Pals at your disposal in your adventure should be helpful when you're also fighting multiple enemies at the same time. Despite that the game can be coop, the five-Pal roster limits harder boss fights when one member decides to free-roam (for example: engaging Necromus and Paladius).


Conclusion (top)

My character staring off a scenery of a tall bridge

Palworld is a survival game where you can thrive on your world. It's fun both as a single-player game and as a coop game. Playstyle can be casual or hardcore. Dedicated server experience also exists as well as mod support. 

The monster collection part is not a gimmick, and Pals are as useful as the player. Despite the conservative limits on bases, Palworld is still on Early Access and there are ways to work around these limits. Granted you can only bring five Pals at a time, it does not limit players to the extent of making the game unplayable; it means players will need to consider their party compositions.

The building aspect is fun and simple - yet hard to master. It encourages players to express their creativity and to strive on having the best Pal. Not to mention own their best Palworld experience in the game.

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