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Palworld Review (Xbox Series X/S & PC)



Pals in Palworld helping you to farm.

Palworld is an indie game that has recently taken the world by storm. It's a mashup of a monster collector combined with a survival game that allows players to team up. The game has now launched in early access with a healthy roadmap of new content planned. With so many features already in the game, though, it's hard to pass up playing for many games.  Too many players are surprised, though; this game leans heavily into the survival aspect while using its catchable creatures as more of an automation process. Below, we take a look at what Palworld is all about and if it has the potential to be the next big monster tamer.

A Whole New World

Catching a Pal in a Pal Sphere.

Palworld launches the player into the world in much the same way as other survival titles.  It has cartoonish graphics akin to what you would see in Fortnite and a familiar menu set-up to other survival games. Your custom-made character wakes up dazed and confused in a new land, only this time being stared down by critters. You find a tablet with a cryptic message next to you, urging you to check out the surrounding towers.

From here, the tutorial picks you up. You are tasked with setting up a table and making your very first Pal Sphere. These are the items you use to capture the Pals into tiny balls. At this stage in the game, you only have a few Pals around you to choose from. These are Lamball, Chikipea, and Cattiva. Each Pal has their own passive abilities, attacks, and typing.  Next, you have to set up a base with your new Pal; this can be done about anywhere, but placing it in a spot with no resources is a huge beginner mistake.

Once you have your base settled, you can start exploring. This is where the real game starts to shine through. You will need to focus on unlocking new tools using your technology menu to survive. You will also find that when night drops you are quite cold as there is a temperature meter. Before you can begin to set out, you first need to make food and clothes. You will also need a way to cut trees, mine rocks, and defend yourself as some Pals will attack on site. This isn't to mention the fact that you need to craft more spheres to fill out your team.

The game lets you know very early on that it's more survival than monster collector. You can't just go wherever you please, either. The farther you get away from the starting area, the stronger Pals get. There are also enemies wandering around with guns that will take you out in seconds.

Exploring The Islands

Exploring in Palworld.

To adventure further, you must start leveling up. This is where a lot of survival games start to sputter, as leveling can feel way too grindy. Palworld gives both you and your Pals  experience from battling, gathering, and catching more Pals.  This gives you a nice variation of ways to grow, and the speed at which you level up is nicely paced.  The game is balanced so that you can easily level new Pals up, even if you catch them later in the game. This gives you the freedom to adventure the way you want.

In addition to leveling, you will need special gear to proceed into some areas, along with the traditional staples of cold and hot weather gear. Pals can also be used to explore. Some Pals can be ridden or even used to glide, helping you get around the map faster.  The ability to ride Pals unlocks early on and is a must for long trips. The map is also littered with statues that will let you fast travel between different zones.

This makes the transition of traveling back and forth from your base easy. Gone is the tedious process of moving your base over and over again in a survival game as you progress. As a bonus, Pals can even do some attacks while you are riding them, keeping you from being completely defenseless early on. One of the most surprising additions to the survival formula is the addition of guns. We don't mean the ones your character uses, either. There are a handful of Pals that you can make and equip with guns. Some more of them can be used as a weapon themselves as long as their skill is unlocked. Jolthog, for example, can shoot electric grenades once you make the gloves so that you can hold him. It's up to you to create the ultimate exploration team to survey all of the islands.

Challenging Content

Fighting a world boss in Palworld.

Palworld gives players plenty to do if they want to challenge themselves. There are dungeons scattered around the map. Inside them, you will need to fight human enemies, as well as Pals. The Pals inside are usually harder to find outside of the dungeons, and there is a boss at the end. The boss is a mega-sized Pal that is also catchable, surrounded by normal-sized ones. You will have to defeat the whole lot to clear the dungeon and claim the treasure. This is a challenging endeavor as the large Pal's attack in tandem with the smaller ones and has a large health pool. It's easy to get wiped out within seconds the first time you stumble into a dungeon. With that being said, the dungeon designs themselves are similar, and there aren't any puzzles.

You can run straight through them to the boss, dodging all the other enemies if you choose to. The overworld also has bosses that will be locked on your map when you find them. These can be caught or defeated for large experience buffs. Just like with smaller Pals, there are aggressive and non-aggressive bosses. If the boss is aggressive, then it will target you on sight, as will its underlings. This can easily wipe you and your team out if you stumble into the wrong area.

Finally, there are towers with major boss fights that the story pushes you to complete. These Pals usually come armed with guns, making them much more dangerous than normal bosses. If that's not enough, even your base can be attacked. Both humans and Pals can randomly descend on your base. Luckily, every Pal that you have out will attack; just beware if you are in a high-level area and have low-level workers out. You can have a base wipe in this case, and it takes around ten minutes to revive fallen Pals, essentially bringing your base operations to a halt.

Creating The Perfect Homestead

Using Pals to assemble items in Palworld.

While a major focus is on exploring, the base-building aspect of Palworld shouldn't be overlooked. The game gives you everything you need to build your house, and as you level up, new items to build can be unlocked. Every new piece of technology costs points, but the game is pretty generous in giving them out as you level. You will also be able to upgrade your base to support more Pals as you complete pre-outlined tasks. Your base is used as a place for you to rest, craft, farm, and even hatch eggs.

Your Pals will even jump in to help you craft items or craft them themselves to save you time. You will need to deploy Pals to manage things while you are gone. Different Pals have different specials, and some, like Depresso, are made for harvesting resources. You will also find that there are Pals like Chikipi that produce items when you set up a farm.

Even fueling a furnace is left up to Pals. If you don't have a fire-type Pal, then you won't be able to heat your furnace. The same is true if you have a fridge that requires an ice-type Pal to keep it cool. You will need to keep all this in mind when choosing which Pals to leave out at your base. The game doesn't just let you use your Pals to farm for free, though. Each Pal needs a bed to keep stress down and food left to eat. You also have to invest in a hot spring to help them relax so that they won't slack off. Eventually, everything becomes streamlined as you can grow your own food and even set up a Pal assembly line.


Lifmunk with a gun.

Palworld is an engaging early-access game that is filled with interesting features. It's hard to find yourself getting bored while playing the game, especially if you're online with friends. While there are some confusing systems, like breeding for random Pals instead of them evolving, this is likely due to it being an early version of the game. For the most part, everything runs smoothly, with some glitches popping up occasionally, but for the most part, they are harmless. The gameplay is addictive and fun, making it an easy game to sink dozens of hours into at a great price point. The only real negative I've found is the lack of music or the fact that the battle music can get stuck on an endless loop. Everything else feels fun but is built so that more content can easily be added in as the game updates.

Palworld Review (Xbox Series X/S & PC)

Best Pals Forever

Palworld is a fresh concept that mashes up the survival and monster-collecting genres. Despite being an early-access title, Palworld has a firm grasp on the type of game it wants to be and has packed a ton of content into the game. The Pal mechanics are charming, the difficulty is challenging, and the level system is smooth. Players who have played similar titles will immediately find themselves at home and having fun trying to collect all of the various Pals.

Judson Holley is a writer that began his career as a ghostwriter. Returning to the mortal coil  to work among the living. With some of his favorite games being tactical FPS games such as Squad and the Arma series. Although this could not be further from the truth as he enjoys games with deep stories such as the Kingdom Hearts series as well as Jade Empire and The Knights of the Old Republic series. When not attending to his wife, Judson often tends to his cats. He also has a knack for music mainly composing for and playing piano.