I’ve had an itch for another casual, relaxing game for a while now. For months, I’ve been searching for something that screamed, “Spend hundreds of hours playing this”, just like many other games have before. Admittedly, many games have drawn me in for brief periods, but I’ve needed something that made me confident I would and will still play for a while. Let me introduce Palia to you.
As soon as I heard about Palia, the “cozy MMO”. I was immediately optimistic but had some skepticism. Would it look good? Would it perform well? Will it even be fun, or am I left to search for another game to fill the void that other relaxing farming-life sims have? Much to my appreciation, there’s a lot I can say about this, with the general mood being positive and hopeful.
Palia – Cute, Carefree, and Charming
Right away, the second I (literally) materialized into the world of Palia and began talking to its residents, I knew I was in for a fun ride. The trailers and gameplay showcases don’t lie; what you see there is what you get in-game, sweeping away my worries in the process.
At its core, Palia is a relaxing, easy-to-understand game where you fish, farm, and run around gathering various resources to build up your home. However, as you dive deeper into its mechanics and story, things get surprisingly complicated, with features like crop buffs, money-making strategies, and bonus XP. While you don’t have to stress about these, there’s a ton of potential to min-max just about everything you do to be as efficient as possible if that’s your preferred playstyle.
I wasn’t expecting any of that from a chill farming game, but I certainly don’t mind; it’s fun going as fast or slow as I’d like. Just have to watch out for those time gates!
One of my favorite parts of any game, though, Palia included, is character customization. I’m one of those people who will sit there for 20 minutes fiddling around with clothes, hair, and accessories on the character creator screen. Immediately, there are a ton of basic designs we can use, and although many of the more impressive ones are premium cosmetics, there are still a lot of cute and cool-looking ones that are available right when you first play.
Run and Glide Into the Sunset
Jumping back into gameplay for a second, it is, admittedly, what you would expect from my descriptions so far. You run around, gather materials and build things. Sometimes, you give those items to characters instead during quests. This formula has worked time and time again in tons of games, and Palia is no exception. It’s a cozy MMO, after all. We’re meant to relax and explore the world leisurely rather than stressing over how to get some tomatoes or a pickaxe upgrade.
What Palia especially gets right with many of its quests is that they serve a major purpose in unlocking more gameplay elements. With each mission, especially early on, you’ll unlock new tools, skills, and other important items. While these feel and act as tutorials, they are more meaningful than just a regular pop-up message on your screen.
Speaking of new tools and items, that is where the real fun begins. I don’t know about you, but gliding around the map of any game is incredibly satisfying, and my only regret is not doing it more during my alpha playthroughs.
Time to Sit Back and Relax
I am happy to, at long last, have a game that lets me sit back, relax, and progress at whatever pace I’d like. With the growing trends of constant limited-time events that force you to speedrun challenges and battle passes to feel like you’re in the loop, it’s nice to take a break from that sometimes. Like many of us, I want a game that lets me chill with friends for a night, and Palia hits the spot perfectly. Palia allows you to decide if you want to spend hours each and every day progressing through the story or just investing a little bit of time occasionally to catch up on what’s new and exciting. However, you’re not forced to either side, and that’s what I find the most charming about it.
Palia lives up to the “cozy MMO” name by giving a great mix of relaxation and fun through its story and gameplay while feeling like you can take a break and return later without stressing. There are inevitably some issues here and there that come with an alpha and beta period, but I am optimistic that it’ll get the polish and attention it deserves. If you need a new free-to-play game to relax with on stressful nights (or even completely normal ones), Palia is worth looking at.