Palworld game review

    TechnologyGamingPalworld game review

    All ideas need inspiration — and in video games, inspiration can make something better for everyone. Games are often compared to other games when they come out. In some cases, those very games can equal or surpass that game in popularity or legacy. Counter-Strike is one of the first examples of a mod or similar game outpacing the popularity of their source of inspiration. It became the most popular Half-Life mod, even surpassing Half-Life itself in terms of legacy and popularity. Pocket Pair, the Japanese development team behind Palworld, is going the same route, even prompting Nintendo to investigate the game for any resemblances to Pokémon.

    Palworld drops you into the Palpagos Islands. You can customize your avatar to fit your liking. You explore the islands by managing your own hunger, crafting tools, gathering materials, and building your bases to act as fast travel points on the islands. Of course, you also capture Pals with Pal Spheres. Your Pals can do battle with others, or even assist you with tasks such as scavenging for materials, crafting tools, and cooking as well. All Pals come with a Partner skill. Some can even be used as mounts for traveling or even as a weapon.

    Pocket Pair CEO Takuro Mizobe said he drew inspiration from Ark: Survival Evolved, and others have compared game mechanics to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which immediately hit me when I stepped foot into the game. While starting at level 1, like in most other games, I was also taken aback when Pals at much higher levels were interspersed with low-level Pals. While I don’t expect much from Early Access games (at least at the time of this writing), this did lead to me dying quite a few times as I pulled these high-level Pals by accident.

    Rayne Syndicate

    You encounter several factions that serve as the antagonists in Palworld. These factions include the criminal organization Rayne Syndicate; the liberation movement Free Pal Alliance; the fanatical group Brothers of the Eternal Pyre; the law enforcement-esque Palpagos Islands Defense Force; and last, the Pal Genetic Research Unit. Each of these factions have powerful Pal trainers as leaders who reside in towers and are the game’s main boss battles. These factions can also be encountered as NPCs who fight the player with weapons. Similar to Grand Theft Auto, there is also a wanted level when you attack human NPCs.

    The combination of so many game elements into one game can often be overwhelming to casual gamers, so recruiting powerful Pals and building up as many bases as possible are usually the keys to success early on. Crafting generates some experience, but even catching weak Pals such as a Lamball give astronomically more experience than crafting. You also have to build places for you and your Pals to rest and eat—a steady diet of Baked Berries may sound unappetizing, but it may also be the best way to satisfy you and your Pals.

    Players also use technology trees to research new technologies that can help you craft better items or capture stronger Pals. In the early game, it’s absolutely necessary that you keep crafting spheres as they are the only way you can capture new Pals and increase your storage space as you can run into lots of items while exploring. You can also host as many as 32 other players on a dedicated server, but as of this writing you can only set up dedicated servers if you’re playing on PC. Personally, I found it better to team up in groups of four early on. Sadly, at the time of this writing, transferring a character to a new server is pretty cumbersome, but I hope there is an update to make the process smoother later on so that people can play with their friends.

    Palworld takes elements from other games to make an enjoyable action-adventure slash survival slash monster farming game. It clearly takes inspiration from many games to the point where it is being investigated for copyright infringement. However, it is still an enjoyable experience as I went out into the Palpagos Islands, and after a few missteps, came to terms that this is a highly replayable experience. While it is far from a finished product, it is nonetheless one of the most enjoyable games of 2024 so far.

    Developer: Pocket Pair
    Publisher(s): Pocket Pair
    Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

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