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Why I love playing Palworld - A Love Story

Note: this article only represents the author's view, and does not represent those of TDP in any form.

A cover image of Palword game

The start of my love story with playing Palworld

So Palworld's hit a massive popularity craze quite early on, and its core player-base has eventually dropped. It doesn't mean anything too serious, their devs said it's fine for players to move on to other games (thank you PocketPair for this statement). I have been playing Palworld for the past 2 weeks, and I found it really enjoyable. Personally, I'm a fairly casual gamer who:

  • Is a fan of multiplayer collaborative games

  • Loves exploration

  • Is an aspiring completionist (aspiring because there are days or weeks where I just get too tired to even try)

  • Suck at combat (please send help)

  • Fairly enjoys base building, but not to a hard-core extent

  • Tries not to look at guides, unless I'm horribly stuck

  • Enjoyed games like Stardew Valley, Raft, Core Keeper (and a ~18 year fling with MapleStory, but prefers the old classic server experience so much)

For those that (still) don't know what Palworld is, its mostly a "Pokemon" survival game involving exploration and base-building, where you catch both cute and terrifying creatures and use them for various purposes such as combat, travel, and (PETA TRIGGER ALERT) slaving at your base. I did watch my brothers play Pokemon on the GameBoy during my childhood but I (POKEMON FANBOYS/FANGIRLS TRIGGER ALERT) never really caught on to Pokemon's gameplay.

All that being said, after giving Palworld a whirl, I fell in love with it and here's why.

A) I loved the tutorial

I have a slight dislike for survival games that totally toss you into their own world and assume you already know everything about it. Palworld starts off with a nice guided tutorial that does not force you to complete it, but shows you a checklist of things you are expected to clear at a certain progression juncture. After I checked off some initial tasks in that tutorial, I got the hang of the essentials and simply played the game my own way, while still looking back at the tutorial checklist only to see if I'm straggling too far off.

B) I loved the grind (I'm not a die-hard masochist please)

Leveling your player up is essential in Palworld to allow you to expand your exploration capabilities, by accessing better base tools, facilities or weapons; level 50's the max level for your player to unlock the highest-level crafting blueprints. To be honest, I replayed Palworld like 3 times - first attempt to get an initial feel, second to try it out properly in solo, and the last one's a multiplayer playthrough with one of my elder brothers.

Leveling to level 50 isn't horrifyingly absurd - I initially went about just catching one Pal of every type and slaying/butchering the rest, but I eventually found out a little painfully that EXP-progression is much faster if you focused more on catching than killing. You get experience boosts when:

  • You discover and catch/hatch a new Pal for the very first time

  • You catch the same Pal 5 times

  • You catch the same Pal 10 times

I just hit level 50 after 2~3 weeks of Pal-capturing trips (1~2 hours of playtime during weekdays, and an average of half the day over the weekends), and it did feel like a chore which is typical of survival and exploration games, but it didn't feel like a horribly-massive grinding experience. I do love myself some grind, but MapleStory's 18-year grind feels totally absurd and I never want to go there again (sadge).

Lastly, this grind actually has a purpose, which brings me to the next point...

C) I loved how everything in the gameplay links to each other

So I mentioned the grind earlier, but don't be scared off. The stuff you do in Palworld for the grind is pretty much what you would do regardless of the EXP anyway. For example(s):

  • The Pals you catch doesn't always have the ideal personality traits, and it would be better to catch another one with personality traits that e.g. has boosts to combat or base production

  • Additionally, capturing multiple Pals of the same time makes more sense since you can level up the skill of a captured Pal by fusing it with copies of multiple other Pals of the same type

  • You can make your base more productive by getting more powerful Pals later in the game that has better utility (e.g. better mining power for mining harder ore boulders)

  • Clearing certain base missions by building better base structures allow you to level up your base, and allow more Pals to be deployed for base work

  • Improving your base allows you to access better items to allow you to explore more hostile zones (e.g. awfully hot or cold zones)

Your efforts translate to improvements to everything in Palworld, so nothing you do inside feels meaningless.

D) I loved playing the non-Souls-like combat

The Pal-combat system is quite straightforward. You simply need to dive away from the enemy attacks, then fight/weaken them by yourself with weapons, or alongside a buddy Pal which you captured. I've managed most Pal combats quite easily so far, except for the legendary Pals I've eventually encountered. But to be fair, those legendary Pals are "boss-tier" so I didn't expect them to go off unscathed. And probably my weapon's not quite right because I'm not really using an endgame weapon right now, and my dodging's not quite on-point yet.

E) I loved the weird stuffs

Palworld offers certain quirks, which I find quite amusing:

  • A base where you can deploy organic "machines" instead of the plain ol' boring mechanical beep-boop machines or robots, or having to do stuffs on computers in the base all by yourself

  • (PETA TRIGGER ALERT) You can actually butcher pals; don't do it though because it's kinda a waste of Pals when you can use them for fusion or base work

  • You can catch humans but they're totally useless in the game LOL

  • You can attack NPCs - I've yet to try it because I haven't quite figured out if the pretty-scary "Wanted" status branding is a permanent brand or not, and I don't want to screw up my current progression due to some YOLO moment. I'll probably try that in a burner world :')

Final thoughts

So far I've loved how Palworld was designed with multiple aspects that joined and worked together. It has a pretty annoying bug, like deployed Pals getting stuck at certain places and not doing work, but that isn't throwing the whole gameplay off totally.

I've yet to capture the legendary pals, and I've yet to fully explore the entire map of Palworld, but I think that's going to be the "ending" of Palworld that I'm gradually building up towards. I'm largely focused on the catch-em-all playstyle at the moment, as I want to see my Paldeck (the Pal catalogue) fill up :D

I love Palworld, and hopefully you would if you are playing it too! And it's fine to not like a game, or to drop a game for other games or things, that's what true gaming should be~

~ GeeCue @ TDP


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