The world wasn’t ready for Palworld when it was first announced – a monster-taming game with…guns? It was hard to forget the image of using a sheep as a shield against incoming bullets or a squirrel using an automatic rifle. Now that I’ve gotten my hands on Palworld, it’s clear that the developers at Pocketpair have done something special, even if it’s a bit rough around the edges.
Palworld is, at its core, a survival-crafting game. The main point of the game is to create a base while exploring the Archipelago. Of course, the monster-catching aspect comes in as the creatures, called Pals, help you build, maintain, and protect your base. They also help you fight, and since players can have guns, why can’t they?
Combat in Palworld
This opens up the door for creative and rewarding combat. While the Pals don’t listen to any commands from you – which can be a bit tricky at times – you’re free to dodge, attack, and summon your Pals while whittling down the enemy. In Palworld, you’re as active in battle as your Pals, and sometimes even more so.
This created a much more intense fighting style that opens up the door for you to be as creative as you want. You can play hyper-defensively, running behind structures to dodge attacks and attacking when the enemy is focused on your Pal. You can also play hyper-aggressively and use your Pal as a shield to get up close and personal.
The freedom and different styles of combat felt good, and I was able to play how I wanted everywhere I went. Most bosses weren’t too difficult on Casual, but I was also completely free to change nearly everything to make the game as easy or difficult as I wanted. Another bonus to combat is the music – the music felt full and lively with just the right amount of techno sounds that I’d expect from a game like Palworld.
Building a Real Home
That sense of freedom persists into base building, too. There’s not too much that you have to have, and there’s a ton of decorations to make your base feel like home. The actual home that you build can be just as beautiful and diverse, with furniture ranging from pianos to house plants to bathroom sets. It was easy to get lost in designing and managing my base, and the dangers of Palworld slipped my mind frequently while I was building.
It was even easy to be out in the world and forget that enemies could come at you at any time with a handgun. The Pals’ designs felt unique, something that many monster-taming games struggle to do. Exploring the world was as much about seeing what existed and gazing at the Pals as it was about resource gathering, even if I didn’t have the means to catch them.
The one area where it’s easy to feel restrained is when it comes to resource gathering. Some of the basic resources can be automated, which makes everything come together nicely and feel balanced. However, other resources – like Ore, which is needed for ammo – felt impossible to stock up. It makes sense for a survival game and it can easily be manipulated in the difficulty settings, but it stopped the flow of the game enough to be noteworthy.
It’s also worth pointing out that there were quite a few glitches. However, the game is in Early Access, and none of the glitches were game-breaking.
Overall, Palworld seamlessly created a unique genre of game that can appeal to a lot of people. Whether you’re a die-hard Pokemon fan, an ARK fan, or even someone who just loves cozy management games, there’s something in Palworld to love. The game may not have created a new genre of gaming, but it melded a few into something truly special.
Palworld was previewed on PC with a copy provided by Pocketpair over the course of 24 hours of gameplay - all screenshots were taken during the process of review.