Two brand-new survival games were released in January. Palword, dubbed “Pokémon with guns” and Enshrouded. Both feature survival elements and base building in expansive open-world settings. But which should you play? We’ll examine each game to help you decide.
We should note that both games are in Early Access, and as such, may change greatly as the gameplay is updated with new features, nerfs, buffs, and bug fixes.
Why Choose Palword?
Clearly, if Pokémon is your passion, then Palword is the obvious choice over Enshrouded. The Pals of Palworld have been hotly debated because of their similarities to Pokémon. Sure, there have always been knock-offs… I grew up with Transformers and GoBots… But, you know, at least GoBots had a unique aesthetic of their own.
The debate doesn’t have to detract from anyone’s enjoyment of the actual game. If anything, maybe Game Freak will take note of this success and try something different with Pokémon for a change.
All that aside, let’s examine some of the main features of Palword:
- Up to 32 players can join the same multiplayer experience
- Your character is stuck on the server you created them on
- Base building is more angled towards making production lines for your Pals than a detailed “home”
- You can delegate tasks to your Pals, taking some of the busy work out of your gameplay
- Base management requires keeping your Pals healthy and hale
- If you enjoy monster collecting, there are incentives to keep doing just that
- Hunger meter that can be maintained once your base produces food
- The player consensus seems to lean towards Palworld being a more “charming” game than Enshrouded
- Endgame seems to focus on Pal breeding, though the developer said Raids will be added
- A more third-person shooter approach to combat
Why Choose Enshrouded?
If you don’t feel the need to “catch ’em all” and would rather explore a large open world that you can physically alter through terraforming, then Enshrouded may be your jam.
The game offers a much more traditional RPG experience than Palworld, so for those looking for RPG features like quests and skill trees, then Enshrouded may win you over.
Here are some of the main features of Enshrouded:
- Up to 16 players can join the same multiplayer experience, half that of Palworld
- Your character can pack up and move to different servers
- A stronger emphasis on vanity base building rather than production lines
- Voxel-based terraforming means you can alter the landscape
- A denser world to explore with marked and unmarked points of interest
- More verticality in the world which creates a more layered design
- RPG systems, including Quests and Skill Trees which do not exist in Palworld
- There is no hunger meter, but plenty of food crafting that adds various buffs
- The player consensus seems to lean towards Enshrouded being a little more “generic” than Palworld
- A more classic RPG combat approach
Why Not Both?
Of course, the best thing about being a gamer is that you don’t have to choose sides. You only have to choose where you spend your time. And there’s no good reason not to spend time in both games. They are both priced at about half the cost of a new AAA title, so grabbing both may not be a burden to many gamers.
There have been player complaints that there isn’t enough challenge or danger involved in combat and exploration from either games. That may not be a downside if you enjoy more casual-based combat and exploration.
Overall, we’re seeing an interesting time for survival / base-building games. The genre seems to be growing rapidly lately, almost feeling like the old MMO rush back in the early 2000s. With Nightingale releasing next month, gamers will have an even tougher decision to make on where to spend their time!