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What's the Hype Around Palworld and Is It Worth It?

What's the Hype Around Palworld and Is It Worth It?

Starting 2024, there were a few surprises no one was expecting, the least of which was seeing the world turned upside down with the release of Pocketpair's second survival title, Palworld. You may recognise the self-published developer from their first release, Craftopia, which hit a little over 25,000 concurrent players at its all-time peak in its release in September 2020, and now, they have come up with what has become the biggest hit in the PC gaming industry among the likes of Lost ArkCyberpunk 2077, and even ELDEN RING.

With an all-time concurrent peak of a little over 1,500,000 at the time of writing (and yes, I have to state at the time of writing because every day it just gets bigger…), Palworld is no small title, but what is it really, and is its success warranted? Let's learn a bit about it.

Starting off, let's talk about the basics and core — what is Palworld? It's difficult to pinpoint the one thing that it is because there are — quite frankly — too many descriptive factors that suit it. It's a survival craft experience, it's a multiplayer game, it's a creature collector, it's an automation sim, it's a co-op adventure, it's an open-world game, it's a sandbox experience, and it's a shooter. All in one. And what seemed to be a wacky release worthy of a few memes here and there became the third most-played game on Steam... ever.

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It's hard to find a straight answer when talking about Palworld's success in the Steam review section; everyone's making jokes and memeing the highly successful release, which might cause others to erroneously think that's all its value. Yet, there's so much more to Palworld, and as mentioned in the previous paragraph, it's simply too many genres to really summarise properly.

Blending them perfectly — somehow — is its most significant merit. 

When looking at the genres that Pocketpair has tackled, it's easy to assume that they are a disjointed creation, an abomination in the videogame industry akin to the likes of Frankenstein's monster. Yet, what's interesting about it is that it manages to fuse all of these in wacky ways that should never work.

Palworld is advertised as a dark, grim version of Pokémon, but past its superficial-seeming roots, it's a well-rounded experience. Though many have taken the opportunity to enslave the cute Pals, there's more to the game than just its dark nature. You can follow the route of the industrial slave driver, or you can ensure that all of your Pals become a self-sustaining ecosystem.

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There's a little bit for everyone here — there's survival elements of punching trees (like the ever-nostalgic Minecraft), there's creature collecting elements for those who want to catch 'em all, there's gym fighting as you face off against gargantuan bosses to be the very best. There are even boss Pals that you can find around the world and capture, in a similar-feeling gameplay to Monster Hunter. You can breed the Pals with an incubation system, you can give them a decorated home with a hot spring to relax, and you can take then out to go guns blazing against the biggest, toughest foe.

Its hype is focused on the fact that it's a genuinely good game disguised as a meme — a title poking fun at cute creature collectors with dark humour. It's instantaneously recognisable because of its polarising themes of gun fighting and Pal-focused collection and combat. It managed to get into everyone's minds, and those who played it fell in love.

There is no question about whether Palworld is worth it or not — the answer lies in its success alone. It's passed behemoths among Steam that have previously been undefeated for years, and it even passed Counter-Strike 2 in concurrent players — even as I write this, a million players around the world are enjoying it, making it the most-played game at the moment. It's the latest industry craze, and after reluctantly purchasing it and playing it, I have to say…

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It's worth every single drop of hype. There's plainly so much to do, and no other game out there does what Palworld does — neither TemtemPokémon, nor Ark — and it's already packed with content even within its original Early Access release. It's an experience that everyone should jump into, whether to witness the wacky combination of genres or join the industry trend that has people more united since even the release of Lost Ark.

If you want to learn more about the amalgamation of genres and my thoughts on the game overall, you should check out my preview, where I tackle the game from both an objective view of its gameplay elements and a subjective view of my personal thoughts.

Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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