I’m hooked on Palia! A free-to-play cozy MMO game

I’ve spent over 195 hours playing Palia on Nintendo Switch and PC so far. So, today I’m going to share with you exactly what I think about this cozy MMO game, if it’s worth playing in its current state, and why I think you should be dating Hodari.

Put the kettle on because we’ve got to talk about what makes a game cozy. I share my thoughts as a 30-something female gamer on what a cozy game is. Tags: popular cozy games, trending cozy games, world of cozy games, cozy gaming community, favorite cozy games, cozy games ranked, farming sims, project horseshoe, Content Creators, cozy gamers, her cozy gaming, appeal of cozy gaming, gaming industry, comfort games, feelings of comfort, cozy vibes, Palia
Screengrab Palia Nintendo Switch – Her Cozy Gaming

Palia Game Features

  • Release Date: 25 Mar, 2024 (Steam) 14 Dec, 2023 (Nintendo Switch)
  • Developer / Publisher: Singularity 6 Corporation
  • Platforms: Steam, Nintendo Switch and PC
  • Genre: Farming Sim, Life Sim, Online Co-op
  • Coziness Rating: 5 out of 5* I can’t put it down!

What is Palia all about?

Humans are a myth and legend in the world of Palia, that is until you arrive. Humans vanished thousands of years ago after harnessing magic. Nobody knows why. Now they are returning. And as one of the newly re-emerged humans you quickly become a source of wonder, and speculation, among the local race known as “Majiri”.

As the locals try to understand why humans are returning you’ll need to make yourself at home, get to know them, build friendships with them… even date them!

Palia is more than a typical farming sim, it’s an MMO (massively multiplayer online). That means you aren’t the only human running around the village. You’ll complete quests and tasks faster if you team up with them or your friends. But if MMO games bring you out in a rash, or you’ve never played one before, you can play solo. It’ll just take you a little longer is all.

Help the Majiri unravel the mystery behind your return and score some free loot along the way.

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My Experience of Palia’s Gameplay

I won’t lie, Palia is a grind. I’ve been playing it since closed beta on PC in 2023 and I’m still (in April 2024) completing my tool upgrades and discovering temples I didn’t know existed.

But that’s why I love this game so much. It feels like there’s always something new to discover. I don’t feel rushed to complete quests or feel like I’m missing out on gaining resources, like gathering flow wood at midnight (in-game time), because I can always try again later.

Most of the gameplay is collecting, foraging, hunting, crafting furniture, fishing and farming on your homestead.

The beginning of the game can be a bit confusing. But if I can give you some advice it would be this, make friends with the locals. Make a little money from fishing, and save your starred items. You’ll need them later in the game.

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Ancient Humans

The main story centers around the mystery of you – the returned human. You’d think this would be obvious, but as I was playing I lost track of the point of the game and forgot. Viewers in my Twitch streams would ask me what Palia was all about and I was unable to give a cohesive answer.

I found myself returning to the Pheonix Statue (the beginning point of the game) looking for clues. Only to later realize that Jina and her nanny Hekla are the main quest givers. You can track and pin their tasks in your Quest Menu.

To progress in Palia you need to raise your experience levels. In the top left hand corner of your screen you have a focus bar – this gives you additional experience. You fill the bar by eating. You need it as full as possible to gain experience when completing tasks like hunting, foraging etc.

This wasn’t initially clear to me and I couldn’t understand why it was taking me forever to level up my skills until someone told me. But basically, always keep some food on you and keep the bar full.

Here’s a free Palia Guide for Beginners to get you started.

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Friendships and Dating

Friendships are a big deal in Palia. By raising your friendship levels with the Majiri you unlock quests which give you money and items in return.

I find building friendships with the characters to be the most enjoyable aspect of this game. They feel like well-rounded individuals, each with their own distinct personality and amusing dialogue. I find myself gravitating towards some characters more than others. Tish is my bestie, Ashura is the Kilama daddy and Tau is simply adorable.

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Screengrab Palia Nintendo Switch – Her Cozy Gaming

Hodari though… oh, man! He’s Nujama’s dad, widowed husband of Leta, and my love interest. He’s got that chiseled jawline, five o’clock shadow and moody sad dad attitude that makes you wanna get the key to his room. The devs absolutely got this man right!

Not every character is datable thankfully. I really don’t wanna break up any marriages in Palia. I think the Majiri would rather I vanished again. There has been the recent addition of a breakup button for dateables. Which is great! I really want Tish to stop calling me a cutie. I want my bestie back!

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Make a House a Home

Because earning money and resources in Palia takes so much time it also restricts building on your homestead. Personally I’m happy about that. I didn’t need another Animal Crossing New Horizons spiral of collecting every single item in the game only to never have any use for it.

Though sadly I’m afraid that once you’ve crafted a piece of furniture there’s no way to sell it, only trash it.

PALIA - The BEST Farming Sims on Nintendo Switch by Her Cozy Gaming - Switch farming games, cozy farming games, best farming games on Switch, farm game, stardew valley, palia, worst farming games, palia game review
Screengrab Palia Nintendo Switch – Her Cozy Gaming

Which I personally think is a missed opportunity. I’d like to see the addition of trading with other players introduced. They already have the system in place with gifted resources! Just throw in furniture too.

To build on your plot you’ll need Writs. Writs can be bought from City Hall and let you unlock a square on your house plot. Once opened you can expand your house, also available from City Hall, use it as farming land for your veggies, or a giant frogbert.

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A Friendly, Cozy Community

What makes Palia stand out among other MMO’s is it’s striving to be a wholesome community. Even the loading screens encourage kindness and care towards fellow Palians.

Before the recent introduction of the mining nodes despawning later, I would feel like a thief lurking around nodes hoping nobody was around before I hit them. Or I was forced to spend an age (on Switch) trying to type out the location of Palium, then wait 15 minutes or more for everyone on the server to come mine it with me, or risk an outpouring of hostility in the chat. It wasn’t a pleasent experience.

Now chat is, for the most part, conversations about flow-infused trees, treasure locations, and folks asking how your day is. It’s a lot less overwhelming. Though there’s always going to be that one person who feels the need to call out someone for not doing something a certain way… such is the entitlement of some players.

I’d rather play solo or help out my Discord community members. I don’t play with randoms at my age.

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Screengrab Palia Nintendo Switch – Her Cozy Gaming

Compared to Games like Sky: Children of the Light

I’ve often compared Palia to Sky: Children of the Light because it’s the only other truly MMO game I play. Sky doesn’t have a homestead, or farming (though I’ve heard a home is on the horizon), but it does try to encourage wholesome chat and community interactions.

Sky COTL has a different system for chat, it requires you to unlock individual chats with friends rather than having a server-wide chat permanently on screen. I quite like this about Sky COTL. I don’t feel pressured to participate in conversation or play with others, but I never feel alone. Most interactions are made through honks and emotes.

Palia could learn from this. Yes, they have community and nearby chat but it’s a constant presence that often feels like an intrusion on my gameplay. I also feel like a bit of a creep reading everyone’s conversations.

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Palia on Nintendo Switch VS Steam

I’ve mentioned this many times on my streams, but I’m a diehard Nintendo Switch player. I like crashing on my sofa and playing a game. But Palia doesn’t look as crisp and pretty on Switch. Graphics are slow to load, character faces look void of emotion, and grass never grows. Bahara Bay is like a different place! It just doesn’t look as nice on Switch as on PC.

I think it’s a shame that anyone playing exclusively on Switch will never see the beauty of the Bahara Bay or the fluid movement in the costumes that cost so much to buy. The details have been lost.

I tried to capture the differences above but it’s not that noticeable when standing around. You can see a video side by side on my TikTok.

Where can Palia Improve?

As a free-to-play game, it doesn’t throw ads in your face or expect you to make in-game purchases. Though that does beg the question, how does Singularity 6 make enough money to keep it afloat?

The recent layoffs are a sign it perhaps, isn’t. That worries me. I love this wholesome game too much to see it disappear now, or worse, go stale.

As a long-time Palian I would love to see the introduction of new paid biomes which could introduce new characters. It wouldn’t cross over with Kilima or Baraha Bay so other players, who didn’t want to pay, don’t feel like they are missing out.

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Or the introduction of a paid season pass so I can get fashionable clothes for my character. The store is all well and good but £27 for one outfit?! Never again am I doing that. I love the Fall Guys Battle Pass because you can get free cosmetics as well as paid. I could see this working for Palia.

Palia is still in open beta I believe. It has many bugs, glitches and freezes. On Switch whenever a character leaves my plot I have to restart my game. Bugs are natural and sometimes funny, but hopefully, they’ll all be sorted by the game’s full release date.

Is Palia Worth the Download?

Palia is an easy game to love. It’s designed to be cozy and wholesome so it’s naturally attracted a kind player base. If you liked Disney Dreamlight Valley or Sky: Children of the Light I recommend giving Palia a play.

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PC

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Prices correct at time of publishing

Pros: It’s FREE! And the characters are fully fleshed out with relatable dialogue

Cons: Controller compatibility on PC still needs some work and there are several game-crashing bugs

Wendy
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