What's All The Hub Bub With Palworld?


Forced into mandatory use or lose time, I found myself with a week to do nothing. With Awesome Con 2024 quickly approaching, I wasn't necessarily interested in spending money, but definitely didn't want to sit around staring at the walls for the next five days. I opted for a happy medium which saw me spending a little money, for something that would hopefully keep me occupied for hours, days, the whole week, if you will. That was, Palworld.

My introduction to the game came via the YouTuber, Let's Game It Out. I've been a fan of his content for a while, but found that the majority of the games he reviewed were limited to Steam, which I don't have or use. So, when I saw Palworld was available on Xbox, things just kind of aligned between that and my vacation time.

The game starts off with you washed up on an island, but quickly prompts you to start gathering supplies, and start building the basics. This included a work station, a Pal box, then simple tools, and from there, it just keeps building. Food, shelter, materials, all of this comes into play as you progress, while also hindering progression should you not have the materials to begin with.

Work or die!

Throughout this process, the game also prompts you to start capturing Pals to work on said tasks of building and gathering. While the game's promotional videos and photos feature multiple variations of these characters battling it out with guns, the truth of the matter is that the majority of their, and your, time, will be spent material farming.

With everything being tied to skill stats and levels, you naturally start out with slow Pals, and eventually branch out across the excessively large map to find bigger and better indentured servants to work in your base. Your time will literally be spent going in circles.

Farm materials - Build weapons and spheres - Find better Pals - Capture - Return to base - Switch out Pals - Repeat

Working for materials to craft items, to catch Pals, with minimal reward, and ultimately no grand prize.

It didn't help that everything is tied to a timer. I hate games like that. Just let me play. If I have the materials, then it should be instant. Making me wait thirty seconds to a minute (or more) while I hold down the "X" button to craft something is tedious and boring, and that aspect is probably the worst thing about the game. Sure, I can assign a Pal to do the crafting, but I still sit and wait behind a timer, and this speeds up ever so slightly if I join in, which again has me sitting there holding the "X" button.

Regardless of this, I pressed on.

Eventually, I leveled up, and had materials flowing from  branching out to additional bases, and putting more Pals to work, or slaughtering them to harvest for food if they opted to resist being captured. I then decided it was time to go exploring.

To assist with this, I opted to first hunt down Jetragon, AKA, a flying creature with the highest speed in the game. This would aid in not only having a powerful ally to battle along side with, but one which would also make mapping everything out, collecting Lifmunk Effigies, while also tracking down all fast travel points.

While this certainly made the second and third items easier, I was way wrong on the help it would provide in battle. When not seeming lost in the background, my Pal would either circle in front of my  target, blocking me from attacking, or simply staying glued to its hip. All scenarios resulted in the same thing - No help. Fortunately, I too had the option of crafting guns, and this is what ultimately aided me the most.

Let's get it on!

After mapping out things, I opted to return to my base to try my hand at breeding Pals. This is a big facet of the game, as the whole point is to essentially create legendary versions of the animals, with four legendary stats. I opted to start with a Vixy, as its abilities seemed would ultimately be the most helpful around the base. Hours, and well over a hundred cakes later, I was able to churn out two female legendary versions (though I wanted one male and one female), and over a hundred duds. That was okay though. I simply took those duds and blended them in my condenser to boost the stat levels of my God tier versions. There was only one problem.

By this point my bases were already efficient. Everything was built, materials were flowing in at an acceptable rate, and all roles were being fulfilled. I didn't really see the point, or need, for a God tier Pal that's sole function would be to do what was already being done, but faster. As such, breeding too ran its course.

Returning to the map, I decided to go for broke and hunt down every boss Pal, and complete all the boss towers. Using my deliciously speedy Pal in conjunction with all the convenient fast travel points I unlocked while mapping things out, I sped from location to location capturing where I could, and shooting in the face where things resisted. Death or servitude, that was their only options. Even with legendary spheres, many opted for death.

Wiping all the bosses out took far less time then I expected, and this put me in an odd spot. One where I simply didn't know what to do at that point. I could return to my base and continue to farm for materials I didn't necessarily need to capture Pals I didn't necessarily want, and continue to breed unnecessary God tier Pals, thus keeping the circle going. However, this seemed pointless. The thought of doing this was the literal definition of wasting time. Doing a whole lot of nothing to accomplish nothing.

They all look as bored with this game as I am!

Having more materials, and all the legendary Pals, ultimately accomplishes nothing in this game that I hadn't already accomplished with common ones. There was literally nothing left to do except to exist in a virtual world, farming digital items which at the end of the day only serve to make more items I don't need.

In fact, by the time I reached this point, I hadn't even crafted the top tier armor sets, or their legendary versions. These items simply weren't necessary. I never felt like I needed a rocket launcher or a legendary assault rifle to handle business with bosses.

Speaking of bosses, even if I wanted to go back and farm them for said legendary plans, or to capture them, I would once again find myself bound to a timer, a cool down process if you will, waiting for the game to graciously let me play it. Between timers and everything being a random drop, it just ultimately feels like it would be a waste of time, and that's basically what Palworld feels like - A waste of time.

Regardless of how much time you put into it, you are essentially just wasting time. Even when you've done what there is to do, you have still done nothing because the game expects you to continue this madness ad nauseam for eternity. There is no final boss. No role the credits moment. No real sense of accomplishment. I still don't even know where my character came from, or where this island with all these strange creatures came from. This place just exists for the sole purpose of going around and around in a circle. I have no interest in wasting that much time to get all legendary items and Pals, which at the end of the day serve no purpose both in game and real life.

Yes, Palworld kept me occupied for the week I was off. But did I accomplish anything worth while? Reach any major milestone? Absolutely not. I simply wasted a week of my life which I will never get back.

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  1. I tried this on X-Box game pass for about 30 minutes but as soon as the game instructed me to start attacking and eating the cute Pokemon-esque creatures my daughter and I were done. I like the character designs but I'm not wild about crafting games and I didn't particularly want to go around clubbing the cute little chicken guys.

    1. It's interesting that you say that. I have a co-worker who stopped playing for that same reason. The concept just didn't sit well with him.

    2. With Pokemon, yeah, they battle, but you rarely get the impression that they're actually hurting each other. It's more like wrestling. Maybe professional wrestling, I guess. With Palworld, my daughter was just horrified. She has a massive collection of stuffed Pokemon and other items, so to her they're always her friends and such. It's definitely a weird mishmash having cute creature designs and firearms.

    3. I don't know much about Pokemon, but I definitely get the vibe of enslavement and mass extinction from this game.