"Palworld looks like Pokémon until you see the guns and sweatshop", wrote Alice O last year. Palworld has now returned with a second trailer, which continues in kind. The pals are again seen crafting machineguns in a sweatshop - but also crafting space rockets, being strapped to beds in nightmare hospitals, and dragged while tethered to the backs of moving trucks.
Let's face it, it's already pretty weird that actual Pokémon are pit against one another in virtual cockfights. It's also not as if other games, such as the Monster Hunter series, don't already partner you in fights with cute weapon-wielding kitty cats.
Palworld seems weird mostly because there's no attempt made to make it aesthetically cohesive. The pals look like cute, cartoon animal friends with giant eyes, and the player is running around carrying Counter-Strike-style submachineguns, throwing grenades and so on. If these were fantasy laserguns, I'm not sure I'd think twice. As it is, I like the look of monster-collecting and farming, and am surprisingly disturbed by watching the cute Poképals suffer.
The Steam news post on the trailer reveals a handful more details, such as the game's recent move to Unreal Engine 4. "We've challenged not only in graphical aspects but also in-game systems. We've been aiming to develop a brand new game by combining various game systems such as open-world, monster collection, crafting, crimes, and more." Crimes!
Palworld is aiming for a 2022 release, with an alpha test apparently planned "in the future." It's being developed by Pocketpair, who previously released the similarly everything-and-the-kitchen-sink crafting game Craftopia. I also really liked their maximalist tower defence CCG, Overdungeon.