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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

“Palworld”: a daring blend of genres

Challenging established games, the new game etches its name among giants
Eddie Shi
In “Palworld,“ base building and furniture crafting are vital aspects that enable players to create personalized sanctuaries and productive workspaces for their Pals. By harnessing the unique abilities of various Pals, players can automate crafting stations and improve their base functionality. However, assigning Pals to specific tasks comes with its own challenges and requires careful management of their well-being​​​​ (the sanity mechanic). The game’s blend of survival mechanics with creature care and base development offers a dynamic experience that encourages creativity and strategic planning​.

“Palworld,” the survival game that combines creature collecting with a unique twist, has been a massive success since its launch, breaking several records and garnering attention from both players and critics. Within just two weeks of release, “Palworld” sold 12 million copies on Steam and attracted seven million players on Xbox, making it the biggest third-party Game Pass launch in history. The game’s total audience has now surpassed 19 million users, showcasing an overwhelming response from the gaming community and marking it as a standout title in the indie gaming scene.

Despite its commercial success and the very positive player feedback, “Palworld” has faced criticism regarding its gameplay and design. Some critics have labeled the game as a mixture of Pokémon-like creature designs with survival and crafting systems akin to Ark: Survival Evolved, sparking discussions about the originality and execution of its concept. The game’s peak concurrent player count reached 1.8 million on Steam, reflecting its popularity among players. However, it has also ignited debates over potential copyright issues due to the resemblance of some creatures to Pokémon.

The launch of “Palworld” was not without controversy, including discussions around using artificial intelligence in creating Pals and their similarities to Pokémon characters. These issues have led to a broader conversation about copyright and creativity in the gaming industry. Despite these challenges, “Palworld’s” sales and player engagement figures show a strong interest in its unique blend of gameplay mechanics and the world it offers to explore.

As “Palworld” evolves in Early Access, the developers prioritize fixing bugs and improving the game based on player feedback. The future updates and development path of “Palworld” will be crucial in addressing some criticisms and enhancing the overall player experience.

At its core, “Palworld” allows players to explore a vibrant world of mysterious creatures called Pals. The game is reminiscent of Pokémon but has a unique twist incorporating survival gameplay, crafting and base building. This review delves into the game’s multifaceted experience, exploring its gameplay, innovation, and areas ripe for improvement.

“Palworld” sets itself apart with its approach to creature interaction. Players can capture, utilize, or even exploit these creatures in various ways, from aiding in combat to performing laborious tasks at the player’s base. The game does not shy away from darker themes, allowing players to enforce brutal work regimes or resort to butchery for resources. Yet, it maintains a neutral stance on player agency, neither condemning nor endorsing these choices.

The battle mechanics and base building are standout features, providing a depth that encourages strategic thinking and resource management. Riding select Pals into battle introduces a layer of tactical gameplay. However, it’s marred by cumbersome controls and a combat system that can feel unrewarding due to its simplicity and the chaotic nature of encounters. However, Pals are not just tools.
The sanity mechanic in “Palworld” is a unique and intriguing feature that adds depth to the game’s management and survival elements. This mechanic revolves around the mental well-being of the Pals, the game’s creature companions, which players capture and interact with throughout their adventure. According to the insights gathered, managing the sanity levels of your Pals becomes a crucial aspect of gameplay, especially when assigning tasks within your base.

In “Palworld,” Pals are not just combatants or creatures to be collected; they also perform various tasks such as crafting, gathering resources, and working on your base to help it expand and thrive. However, these tasks impact their sanity, a core stat reflecting their mental state. If a Pal’s sanity drops too low due to overwork or other adverse conditions, their performance can degrade, or they might refuse to work altogether. This mechanic forces players to consider the well-being of their Pals, balancing productivity with care to maintain a healthy and efficient base.

The game’s open-world design is a double-edged sword. The landscapes are visually appealing, offering a variety of environments to explore, from lush forests to rocky peaks. These settings promise adventure and discovery, yet the game sometimes struggles to deliver a cohesive world, with biomes feeling disjointedly stitched together. The game’s early access status is evident in its rough edges, including occasional graphical inconsistencies and a user interface cluttered with too much information.

The Pals are a highlight, with designs that balance homage and originality. While some Pals resemble Pokémon, others boast unique and quirky aesthetics that add a fresh element to the creature-collecting genre. However, the game’s reliance on familiar designs can sometimes diminish the thrill of discovery, leaving players yearning for more originality.

“Palworld” hints at a rich multiplayer experience with the potential for player interaction, base raids, and cooperative play. Though it feels underdeveloped, the game’s servers offer a canvas for community-driven content. The promise of engaging with other players over shared goals or competitive skirmishes adds an exciting dimension to the game, one that could benefit from further expansion and refinement.

As with many early-access titles, “Palworld” faces its share of challenges, from balancing issues to bugs that disrupt gameplay. In particular, the game’s crafting and stamina systems need fine-tuning to prevent them from becoming tedious. Despite these hurdles, “Palworld’s” ambitious blend of genres and its willingness to let players carve their own paths through ethical dilemmas and strategic decisions make it a game worth watching as it evolves.

“Palworld” is an audacious experiment combining survival games, creature collecting and base-building elements into a unique, albeit flawed, experience. Its vibrant world, intriguing creature design, and depth of gameplay mechanics lay a solid foundation for what could become a standout title in its genre. While it suffers from the pitfalls of Early Access, such as balancing issues and a need for polish, “Palworld” offers enough novelty and potential to keep players engaged and eager for its full realization. As the developers continue to refine and expand upon its core concepts, “Palworld” stands on the brink of evolving from a curiosity into a classic.

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About the Contributor
Eddie Shi, Staff Reporter
Eddie is a senior at Millard West starting his third year on the CATalyst staff. He enjoys analyzing and reviewing new technology. He also enjoys writing reviews for games and albums. Eddie enjoys traveling to many different areas worldwide to experience brand-new cultures. He is the Millard West tennis team captain. Eddie looks forward to writing for the CATalyst newspaper.

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