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Palworld Reviews Are Mostly Positive — Especially If You Fantasize About Abusing Pokemon

The reviews are in for Palworld upon the peculiar survival game’s early access release and it seems like most gamers are disturbed.

First thing’s first — no, those are not Pokémon. Palworld originally got a lot of intrigue and flack for its blatant Pocket Monster knockoffs. Every creature in Palworld looks like two unwilling Pokémon mutated into one organism in a lab. Developers didn’t even try to hide it. In fact, it’s likely done on purpose.

Basically, Palworld is an open-world survival game where you capture these non-Pokémon creatures and use them to complete various tasks, whether it's to fly you to a new location, defend your base, or even water your crops. And it seems like developers are essentially playing into this bit where adorable Pokémon-like creatures are being blatantly abused and exploited.

Some early players are excited about the existence of Pokémon-style creatures in the game thanks to the abysmal official offerings from Pokémon. Said PC Gamer: “Palworld might have me soaring over a generic Unreal 5 landscape on the back of a knockoff Charizard, but for a brief moment, it's a glimpse at what an open world Pokémon could be: one that isn't flickering in and out of existence whenever you're arrogant enough to move.”

Palworld Grizzbolt guide

But this excitement quickly dissipated once that reviewer and others started to realize the gameplay was maybe a bit too focused on being shocking and cruel. First of all, let me say that the gameplay itself is quite generic. You have a few weapons to choose from and you go off and fight other people while you capture creatures, obtain resources, and protect your base. The strangeness begins within your base, however.

Every task in your base requires a certain type of ‘mon to get it done. This in itself is nothing crazy but you start to realize that the more one of your creatures works, the more its sanity decreases.

Wrote PC Gamer: “Enter the Monitoring Stand: a building where I can increase my Pals' work rate from normal to ‘cruel’ or even ‘brutal.’ Forcing them to work faster increases their sanity depletion until it's untenable, increasing their chance of injuries. They'll get depressed. They'll get ulcers. They'll get fractures. I could heal those injuries with medicine, but that would require me to divert Pal slots to medicine production—adding another pressure to work the remaining Pals harder.”

Excuse me?

Added PC Games N: “I could impose a brutal work regime, but this only harms my Pals (and their production) in the long run. It also turns out that chopping up Pals is pretty counterintuitive, though I do find myself in the surreal position of watching one dutifully craft the cleaver required for the purpose. Regardless, while these options exist, Pocketpair doesn’t opt to wave them in my face if I choose to ignore them.”

So I guess if you always fantasized about violently abusing Pokémon or exploiting them for cheap labor this is the game for you. It has that same humor as something like Drawn Together, where it’s basically based on shock value of seeing a familiar wholesome character doing something raunchy, violent, or inappropriate. Like okay, I get it but it’s nothing new.

“One moment I was taking in pastoral views as I explored for new Pals, gliding, climbing, crafting, and cooking like this was an off-brand Tears of the Kingdom. The next moment I was firing guns at armed thugs and considering the possibility of butchering a Pal who had been mentally broken by the poor working conditions of my sweatshop so I could consume his meat to avoid starvation,” said an IGN review.

Despite the strange concept, reviewers are having a pretty good time with the gameplay. You spend a lot of time at your base, crafting useful items, and preparing for battles against enemies. It’s all very typical but most gamers have been pretty satisfied with this basic survival gameplay if it’s what they’re in the mood to play.

The world is quite massive and there’s plenty to do and explore, although some reviewers feel certain areas are barren. Still, you can raid dungeons for loot, interact with NPCs, plan attacks on enemy bases, and fight boss creatures. Meanwhile, however, the crafting takes a very, very long time and some of the mechanics are frustrating. It’s not a perfect game.

But if you want to mentally abuse Pikachu, this is the game for you.