As soon as I started playing Palworld, I thought, “Right… so, Pokemon and Ark Survival Evolved, huh?” More playtime allowed me to realize I was right, yet also made me realize that this is the combination I never thought I needed.
Do note that as I am writing this review, Palworld is still in early development. I’m sure there will be even more to come.
Palworld is bursting with things to do, yet is also coherent and concise
It is rather difficult for me to organize my thoughts when writing this review, as half of my brain wants to rant on and on about how stupidly fun it is to have your own commune of “Pals” and how ridiculously engaging it is to have guns and brutal action thrown into the mix. The other half wants me to simply write “Yeah, Pokemon and guns — convinced yet?” and call it a day.
My jumbled thoughts are much like the game itself: an amalgamation of ideas and concepts. Yet one thing Palworld does that my brain refuses to do is be coherent and open to let you peruse everything the game has to offer at your own pace.
I had assumed I would quickly get overwhelmed when I thought I’d have to balance surviving, capturing Pals, running a base, and progressing toward fighting the bosses and exploration. However, I was proven wrong. Yes, there is complexity and a lot for you to do, but honestly, I felt like I could approach all of these mechanics and features at my own pace. I could dive into something without having to jeopardize or balance other elements of the game.
If that sounds confusing, don’t worry. I’ll be going over how Palworld triumphs despite having a lot to offer.
Palworld provides for bigger and smaller pictures
One thing that got me initially was how huge the map was, with distant islands and lands being hinted at on the horizon. At all times, I felt like there was so much more at play here and much more for me to explore. Yet I was also super content running around the few islands I had explored to pursue objectives I had made for myself.
If you aren’t ready for a grand adventure, then don’t worry. There is plenty to do, from taking on the local bosses, to raising your base, to simply leveling up your favorite Pals. Exploring the few regions I had branched out to and clearing dungeons was honestly so much fun in its own right that although there is more to discover, I never felt pushed or expected to keep discovering.
Now, despite this, certain areas and regions did feel a little empty at times, and I remember running down some coastlines and clearings without a Pal in sight. This was only a small hitch, however, and I’m sure as the game continues to develop, this feeling of occasional emptiness will be curbed.
This also extends to the NPCs, too. Interaction with other human NPCs should feel more interesting and serve to make the world feel more lived-in. In Palworld, they feel like a static component, one not to be bothered with.
Thankfully, I’m not here for the humans — I’m here for the Pals.
The Pals of Palworld
The main attraction of Palworld is, of course, the many Pals inhabiting the world. As you’d expect, there is a huge range of Pals you can come across, fight, and capture. Most of them are super cute, which makes it even funnier to see them wielding guns.
Palworld has approached the creation of their Pals super well. They all have active attacks they’ll learn as they level up, and they’ll all also have a passive skill that either contributes to base life or helps you out. You can have five in a team, and dozens in your base.
These Pals bring life to Palworld, as they coexist or battle with each other. Seeing them contribute around the base and gang up on aggressors makes this environment feel diverse and expansive. My personal favorite so far is Dumud, the super blubbery and happy shark thing.
There is a non-linear element tree and varied habitats from where to find the Pals. Palworld is pretty expansive, so you’ll have to be well-traveled to find them all.
Raising your own Pal commune
The best part of Palworld, for me at least, is raising your base and forming your own Pal commune. As you level up your base by building structures, you’ll be able to have more Pals assigned to the base. Pretty soon, you’ll have a bustling population of adorable creatures doing all sorts of handiwork.
Every Pal has something (often, a few things) they can do, from planting, to watering, to transporting, to mining. You’ll need a balanced mix of Pals in the base to automate the processes.
To keep their sanity from plummeting, you’ll need to build certain facilities and provide food to keep them fed and happy. If you have a terrible quality of life for your Pals, then you’ll find them slacking off and going to bed.
With these troublesome Pals, you can send them to eternal limbo in the Palbox and replace them, or you can treat them nicely and make their life more comfortable. Whether you want to be a ruthless dictator of these poor Pals or be like a parent to them, it’s up to you how to handle your bases and Pals.
I especially love how Palworld just lets you get on with your thing. If you want, you can focus on base building instead of going out and hunting Pals — or exploring all the islands. If all you want in Palworld is to raise a dozen Dumuds and see their happy faces, then you can do it.
Awesome bosses that make awesome Pals
Another great feature I love about Palworld is that it is populated with awesome bosses, split into two categories: Roaming Bosses and Towers.
Roaming Bosses are larger and stronger versions of their respective Pal. They’ll show up on the map with their level after discovering them, and you’ll be able to take them on as many times as you wish. What’s more, is that you can capture these bosses to add to your roster of Pals. A satisfying tick and some first-time rewards will be earned when you take one down for the first time.
The Towers are imposing structures that can be seen from far away. There are challengers with their own powerful Pals in these towers. You can take them on with friends, and there will be a time limit when you’re in there, so you better be ready. These Towers make for great challenges and tie into the lore of Palworld.
What’s more, these Roaming Bosses and Towers can be attempted again and again for EXP — and for the fun of it.
Palworld may become laborious
One fear I have is that once I’ve fought my 12th boss and captured my 200th Pal — and my base is looking good — there may be a lack of other things to do.
Thankfully, base building and fighting are super gratifying and fun, but it seems that’s all there is to it. This isn’t a problem, as most games simply stick to a couple of features and mechanics and run with it. However, if you’re expecting more, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
If you aren’t too fond of the action, or too fond of the base building, then the latter element may become tiresome for you. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, both elements of this game are very well done, so you’ll still be sinking many hours into it. But I can’t ignore that as of right now, that is what Palworld is offering.
This game may not have a super high shelf life if you’re only in it for one specific reason. I’m sure more content for the game will correct this, however.
Palworld is simply amazing
To sum up my thoughts, I believe Palworld will go far. This is because the combat and action are fun and varied as you find different Pals, and even when you’re not fighting — the main attraction — there are still satisfying and fulfilling activities to do.
Don’t prefer fighting? Fine, just raise a commune of happy and helping Pals. But if you do prefer the action, then you can forget the base building and just go after the bosses.
Even though certain areas of the game may be lacking a little, I’m sure this game will have more content added as the game gains traction.
There is so much to be explored and discovered in Palworld, I truly can’t wait to delve back in and discover more of the mysterious land.