Palworld was first announced a couple of years ago, and footage teasing the game has been circulating all around social media and even some gaming-related news outlets for some time now.

People have been quick to simply refer to it as “Pokemon with guns”, which is honestly a fair assumption based on the incredibly derivative nature of its creature design and catching mechanics, but now that it’s out, how does it actually feel?

Palworld scenery while riding a Chillet

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Just minutes after hopping into the game for the first time when it launched, I immediately realized that this game is so much more than just “Pokemon with guns”.

Surprisingly, it’s actually a hilariously competent blend of that and various other games such as ARK, Breath of the Wild, and Satisfactory. Honestly, if you ask me, this game should be referred to as “ARK but with Pokemon elements”, cause it seems way more inspired by the former with its incredibly similar mechanics and progression system.

Palworld base raid

Palworld is essentially a fairly forgiving survival game that emphasizes taming and using pets for both combat and productivity. Along the way, there are various bosses that you can fight, dungeons to clear, and a bit of lore to uncover that I’m pretty sure only a few people actually pay attention to (I sure don’t, lol).

UNAPOLOGETICALLY SILLY

The game doesn’t hold back when it comes to how it practically forces you to commit animal cruelty in order to progress through it. From beating up so-called “Pals” with your bare fists to eventually making them do hard labor and/or butchering them for resources, you’re going to be doing all sorts of horrible things to these creatures (and sometimes even humans, you monster) in the many hours you’ll be playing it.

As you get further into the game, you’ll be making actual assembly lines where your supposed “Pals” will be processing materials and crafting stuff for you. Some of them can be armed with guns and rocket launchers to assist in your slaughtering efforts, which may seem a bit over-the-top, but nothing should surprise you at this point.

Palworld Zoe & Grizzbolt boss fight

It’s honestly quite impressive how silly they’ve made Palworld without it feeling like they only added such features purely for shock value, because it eases you into all of these mechanics at a relatively slow pace.

If you haven’t played it yet, you’ll probably be surprised by the amount of grinding that one has to do to even get to hold your very first firearm. I’ve played for several hours now, and I’ve only just crafted my first handgun. I do have giant Pals with explosives, but those are essentially just bonus abilities with a decently long cooldown, and I often forget that it’s even a feature.

IS IT WORTH BUYING?

As of writing this, Palworld is still in early access and will occasionally, but inevitably, hit you with a few stupid bugs throughout your playthrough. Some of them may be gamebreaking, though I’ve only encountered relatively harmless ones so far.

If you love games where you can collect a wide range of pets and are not turned off by the idea of playing what I would refer to as a “diet” survival game, you’ll probably have a blast with this title even at its current admittedly somewhat unfinished state.

Palworld scenery while riding a Vanwyrm

I won’t go as far to say that this is probably going to be an early contender for the year’s “Game of the Year”, but it’s definitely far from bad. I’d even confidently say that it’s pretty much just a better ARK, but that isn’t a particularly high bar to clear.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be playing a bit more Palworld until TEKKEN 8 comes out in a couple of days and it takes up most of my time.

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