Palia is a cozy MMO with a town full of interesting citizens to build relationships with, and life skills like mining, foraging, logging, fishing, and more. You even get your own plot of land which you will work towards building a house and expanding if you so choose. We were able to get our hands on the game and are here to offer our first impressions.
First impressions are important in games, and especially in MMO games. This is a genre that players are quick to toss aside a game and put it into the category of “never big enough to be sustainable”. Palia offers a fun life sim and relationship building game like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, but in third person view with a beautiful world.
This is a game that works well as an MMO to see other players around and make the town and areas more lively, but certainly does not require any minimum amount of players to make it enjoyable or playable.
First Impressions with Palia
After putting in about 30 hours playing Palia in the early access period, I found myself wanting to play more and more. I even booted it up on my new Asus Rog Ally handheld and it works great even with default settings and keybinds. This was a great way to play it even when relaxing on the couch. What better option for a cozy MMO?
Palia has a few main areas of interest most people would be interested in:
- Life skills such as fishing, mining, hunting, foraging, logging, gardening, and bug catching
- Home building, furnishing, and expanding
- Relationship building with townsfolk
- Accomplishments (achievements)
- Quests to gather items or speak to NPCs
- Communities (also known in other games as Clans or Guilds)
Notably missing from this list is combat. Currently there is no combat in Palia beyond hunting animals with a bow and arrow for supplies. This may be an immediate turn off for many MMO players. I thought it would be for me, but the lack of combat hasn’t seemed to slow me down from enjoying the game yet.
With many pages of “accomplishments”, achievement hunters will love this game. The best part? These accomplishments aren’t just for bragging rights, they also reward renown. Renown is the currency, or points, related to the relationship building part of the game. As you chat with townsfolk and complete quests for them, you will gain renown and be able to spend it (more on that later).
Life Skills Feel Great
The life skills in Palia feel rewarding as you can use them as a vital gold-making method (I’m talking to you fishing and hunting!) or as a vital method to providing materials to start and further improve your home (hello mining and logging!).
Each life skill feels good, and coming out on top is fishing. The design of fishing is more than just throwing your bobber in the water and clicking it at the right time. You will reel in the fish, and move with the fish in the direction they are pulling, in order to keep it on the hook.
Character Design & Relationships
Character design in Palia feels just right, with many options for most of the typical customizations you would expect.
Building relationships and gaining renown from all of the characters in the game feels good. I find myself always wanting to catch up with the townsfolk to gain a littler more relationship status and renown from a quick chat or side quest.
Each character also has a very predominant personality. They are all very unique in their own way and you almost know what to expect from their attitude when you see them. This feels like they are real people with real personalities.
Liveliness of the Town
The time passing and livelihood as well as the personalities of the townsfolk feels great. There’s something about Palia’s NPCs walking around, sleeping sometimes and therefore being unavailable, and interacting with one another, that makes the game feel particularly lively. You won’t find one character just standing in one place forever and never moving. This is a living, breathing, MMO.
Achievements / Accomplishments
As mentioned earlier, the achievement system, known as Accomplishments, feel rewarding. You not only earn renown for completing accomplishments, but you also can earn trophies to put up in your house!
Premium Store / Cash Shop
From what I’ve seen so far, the premium store appears to be exactly what you hope from a cash shop. None of the items in the shop give any benefits to your character other than a good looking outfit. Most of the outfits in the store come with a distinct look that feels premium and will allow players to show off what they have purchased.
Most item sets are currently selling for around 2,500 – 5,000 coins per bundle of 3, or for 1 set of clothes, 1,500 to 2,600. With coins costing about $28 (CAD) for 2,050 coins, this means that some of the clothing sets are pretty darn pricey. Hopefully this means that the players who do have a lot of extra cash to spend will help keep the game afloat as it is a free to play game, but I think most would agree that the pricing seems to be quite steep at this point.
I originally thought that the inventory system in its current state can be cumbersome. I had to constantly think about whether I wanted to keep something or sell it because of the very limited inventory space. When you are trying to mass cut trees and mass produce planks or metal bars, you can find yourself juggling items in the inventory a little more than desirable. Early in the game, even after saving up my first 500 gold for an extra backpack, I felt limited from being able to explore farther and farm more items.
I then realized that you can actually place more than 1 storage box in your plot! If you start off your game by adding 2 or 3 storage chests, this immediately alleviates some of the inventory juggling you would otherwise be doing.
One tip I can give in regards to inventory space is try to focus on one or two life skills when heading out of your home area. If you focus on only hunting and mining for example, then your inventory items will stack much higher in their slots than if you are gathering anything and everything. You have a limited number of slots of inventory to carry, but you can carry as much of a single item as you can until its max stack size.
Relationship Dialog & Personality Types
From everything I’ve seen so far, it doesn’t seem to matter what you say to the townsfolk in your conversations. Sometimes there are multiple “personality” options as Fire, Earth, Water, and Air, but I haven’t seen any difference in result from choosing any of these. It is still unclear if there is a correct answer that gives you more renown over other answers, or if choosing a certain personality type increases anything for you as a player.
Overall First Impression
Palia has a lot going for it in this early stage of its life. The life skills, relationships, NPCs, and world all feel great. There are still some ways Singularity 6 can further perfect this new Cozy MMO, but in its current state it is a fun game you can sit back and play, whether on your PC, Switch (when it is released), or other gaming devices like the Asus Rog Ally.
If you enjoy games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, but also appreciate more lifelike graphics and third-person view, Palia is definitely worth your time. Even if you are unfamiliar with these and are slightly interested in Palia, definitely check it out! The game is well made with very few issues and a long life ahead of it.