Palworld Is The Lovechild Of Ark And Pokémon, And I’m All For It

Committing war crimes has never been this fun.

Story Highlights

  • Palworld allows players to live a slow life with adorable Pals or become villains.
  • Similarities to Pokémon are acknowledged, but Palworld manages to stand out.
  • Palworld’s a groundbreaking evolution in the creature-collecting subgenre.

In the ever-evolving landscape of video games, Palworld emerges as a unique entry, offering players an immersive experience where their actions shape the narrative. A game that introduces a twist to the familiar creature-collecting genre, Palworld allows players to live a slow life with the adorable Pals that inhabit its world. Or become its biggest villain.

From imprisoning battle-hardened “Pals,” to kidnapping human enemies and keeping them as pets or selling them on the black market (yeah that’s a game feature), Palworld’s got it all. So if you’re still thinking this game is just another Pokémon clone, then get ready to take your words back in blood.

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The Story

As already mentioned, Palworld offers you, the player, the chance to live a slow life with the Pals that roam the wilds. You shape the story by the decisions you make. Protect the Pals from ruthless poachers, or become the most ruthless poacher around. The only other semblance of a story you get is the tablet you start the game off next to.

It reads “the towers are the key” and that “the tree holds the truth.” From here on out you have to get to the 5 towers, defeat the big bosses at the top, and then get to the tree for a final standoff. Or so the game implies. So basically, the game isn’t a Pokémon rip-off, it’s an Elden Ring clone. Pokémon Soulslike anyone?

Palworld vs. Pokémon

Addressing the undeniable similarities between the two is crucial. Both share a common thread in terms of aesthetics, art style, and creature designs. The creature-collecting sub-genre has seen various iterations beyond Pokémon, yet Palworld seems to dance on the edge of familiarity.

Upon closer inspection, Palworld distinguishes itself through unique gameplay elements. The inclusion of guns and boss fights for capturing Pals immediately sets it apart from the classic Pokémon formula. Palworld introduces survival elements, base-building, and expansive exploration, providing a distinct flavor to the gaming experience.

The trailer showcases instances where players launch their Pals out of bazookas, a far cry from the traditional Pokémon battles. While the aesthetic resemblance is undeniable, the gameplay elements showcased promise a departure from the well-trodden path of plain old creature collecting.

What’s The Gameplay Like?

Palworld is a third-person open-world survival sandbox game, aiming to redefine the player’s goals beyond collecting Pals. Survival becomes paramount, urging players to gather resources like wood and rock for shelter, cultivate food through farming or hunting, and explore dungeons scattered throughout the world.

The Pals, adorable monsters freely roaming the land, are more than just collectible NPCs.  Players can not only capture these Pals but also raise them to become allies in various activities.  Unlike Pokémon, where creatures primarily serve battle purposes, Palworld’s Pals can also participate in building and farming.

The game allows players to let their Pals manage weapon manufacturing factories, showing an almost automated production process. You can even play co-op with your friends to build your perfect fantasy dystopia. What’s that saying about the consequences of the industrial revolution again?

You Can Take On The World Alone Or As A Team
You Can Take On The World Alone Or With The Power Of Friendship

Dynamic Combat System

Palworld discards the traditional turn-based combat system, immersing players in a real-time action combat experience alongside their Pals. Mastery of your Pal’s unique abilities, strategic thinking on the fly, and unleashing devastating combos become essential for conquering formidable opponents.

The game emphasizes timing, positioning, and resourcefulness as key elements in achieving victory. This shift to real-time combat not only adds dynamism to the battles but also demands a higher level of skill from players. It’s a departure from the old formula, providing a fresh and thrilling take on the combat aspect of monster-taming games.

Who Needs A Pal When You've Got Freedom On Your Side?
Who Needs A Pal When You’ve Got Freedom On Your Side?

Crafting Your Perfect Oasis

Palworld takes the concept of bases a step further by introducing deep base-building mechanics. You can gather resources, unlock blueprints, and construct towering structures to create your wilderness havens. You can unleash your inner architect, transforming the untamed wilderness into vibrant, monster-loving metropolises.

The depth of the base-building mechanics extends beyond mere aesthetics. Players can set up elaborate farms, craft powerful equipment, and establish a thriving community for their companions. This aspect of Palworld caters to those who enjoy the creative process of building and customizing their virtual spaces.

Base-Building In Palworld
Base-Building In Palworld

Evolution In Type-Matching Strategies

Both Pokémon and Palworld feature engaging type-matching systems, but Palworld takes it a step further with its “Elemental” categories. While Pokémon appeals to seasoned strategists with its intricate type matchups, Palworld’s broader categories welcome newcomers to the genre.

The strategic depth extends beyond combat, as Palworld has plans for environmental interaction based on types. Whether you prefer the nuanced strategy of Pokémon or the accessibility offered by Palworld’s Elemental categories, both games provide thrilling adventures where mastering types leads to victory.

Climbing Twitch Charts

Some players decided to get their hands on early access copies of the game. And to say that it took Twitch by storm would be a massive understatement. Even before its official release, Palworld has become a streaming sensation, with Twitch broadcasters eagerly exploring its virtual landscapes.

At one point the game boasted around 60,000 viewers on Twitch, a number that steadily climbed throughout the day. It’s even sitting at a staggering 500,000+ concurrent players on Steam right now. The widespread viewership is not reliant on a few big-name sponsors, showcasing the game’s organic appeal to a diverse audience.

Palworld’s success on Twitch isn’t just about its aesthetic resemblance to Pokémon or the inclusion of firearms; it’s about the unexpected and, at times, controversial actions players can do within the game. Streamers have uncovered bizarre acts of Pal cruelty that make the Geneva Conventions look like a checklist.

From using a fire-type Pal as a flamethrower to shooting eggs out of a Pal’s backdoor like a grenade launcher, Palworld presents players with a range of unusual activities. You can even decide to butcher any trapped human or Pal within a Palsphere for meat. But that’s far from the worst thing you can do in the game.

Two Words: Human “Trading” 

Palworld ventures into uncharted territory within the realm of creature-collecting games by introducing a feature that not only blurs ethical boundaries but also challenges the very essence of the genre. Unlike its predecessors, Palworld allows players not only to capture the adorable Pals but also other human characters.

Encountering a Syndicate Thug during your journey presents you with a unique opportunity to explore the boundaries of player agency. You can not only make captured humans fight, but also feed and even pet them. Still, since human characters can’t fight for squat, they’re better off as pets anyway. Something I never thought I’d say unironically.

Putting The “Guns” In “Pokémon With Guns”

While the idea of Pokémon trainers wielding guns may seem startling, a closer examination reveals that Palworld’s decision to arm its citizens serves a purpose beyond mere shock value. Pokémon are known to pose threats to humans, as evident when Poke Professors caution against entering tall grass without protective Pokémon companions.

The absence of self-defense measures among citizens raises questions about the practicality of relying solely on powerful creatures. In contrast, the denizens of Palworld have embraced a different mindset. Recognizing the inherent risks of their environment, they have chosen not to take chances.

You can even consider Palworld as a potential alternate future timeline for Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Imagine the Alpha Pokémon evolved into Pals, and the people of Hisui, tired of being vulnerable, industrialize rapidly. Whether intentional or a marketing strategy to widen the audience, it adds an extra layer of complexity to Palworld’s story.

Can't Feel Threatened By Pokémon If There Are No Pokémon To Feel Threatened Of
Can’t Feel Threatened By Pokémon If There Are No Pokémon To Feel Threatened Of

What About The Scam Allegations?

If you were to tell me that there’s a new game where you not only capture exotic animals and make them fight each other but also put them to work in factories, I probably wouldn’t believe you. So it’s no surprise that the game quickly became the subject of suspicion, causing the devs to address concerns head-on.

In response to the skepticism surrounding Palworld, the devs released an “Early Access Launch FAQ” on the game’s Steam page. While the FAQ covers standard information, it ends with a notably direct and defensive question: “Is this game a scam? Or is it a money-making MMO or virtual currency game?” The devs’ response?

It is not a scam and will definitely be released on January 19th. Palworld is a typical Steam game, you buy it once and it is yours forever.” – Palworld Dev Team.

Evolution Beyond Expectations

Palworld, while initially raising eyebrows with its aesthetic similarities to Pokémon, manages to carve its own niche in the gaming landscape. The blend of survival sandbox elements, cooperative multiplayer, and the ethical quandaries surrounding Pals sets it apart from traditional creature-collecting games.

As the game evolves through early access and future updates, it remains a fascinating case study in game design, pushing boundaries and challenging players to confront moral choices in a virtual realm. For passionate Pokémon fans, the gaming landscape is about to witness a seismic shift with the advent of Palworld.

This latest title promises a monster-taming adventure that not only embraces the familiar charm of Pokémon but also introduces innovative twists that redefine the excitement of pet companionship. It’s evident that this is not just a mere imitation but a groundbreaking evolution in the subgenre.

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Najam Ul Hassan is a News Reporter on eXputer who enjoys investing hours in his favorite video game titles. When he’s not playing games, he’s practicing Journalism. He began his career on eXputer after combining his limitless love of video games and all things geek with his considerable writing experience. He has been cited numerous times by several noteworthy publications and sites such as Game Rant, Yahoo, PlayStation LifeStyle, VGC, VG247, TheGamer, among others. Experience: 2+ Years || Education: Masters in Mass Media Communication || Written 300+ News Stories.

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