There are so many farming sims these days that it can be a little difficult to know which ones to play, but if you put dinosaurs in them, I’m ALWAYS going to be interested. That’s exactly what you get with Paleo Pines, which sees players build up their own little farm with the help of some prehistoric buddies. It makes for an enjoyable experience too, and whilst a few niggles prevent it from being a must-play farming sim, it certainly offers something a little different.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Like a lot of farming sims, Paleo Pines starts out with players creating their own character and venturing to a beaten down farm that they’ve got to build back up to glory. However, there’s a twist: you also just so happen to have a dinosaur companion, with Lucky (who is a Parasaurolophus for those knowledgeable on dinosaurs) helping out with your everyday tasks. After getting to know the nearby locals, completing some jobs for them, and making some money by growing some crops, you’ll really feel at home. You’re well-equipped to perform the tasks you’d expect from the genre (sewing seeds, watering them, and then harvesting them), whilst there’s also room for foraging and crafting goodies with the resources you gather. The game follows the typical farming-sim formula through and through, but it’s competent in doing so.
As you’d imagine, the big hook of the game are the dinosaurs, with plenty to befriend and have work on your farm. However, in order to have them join you, you’ll have to win their trust via two means: song and food. Players are equipped with a special flute that can communicate with dinosaurs, which is done by replicating the call a dinosaur makes (that is represented by coloured bubbles) by pressing or holding the corresponding buttons on the flute. If you’re successful? They’ll approach you, allowing you to give them a tasty snack and maybe even a little pat on the head. And if you win them over with your goodies? They’ll follow you back to your farm, allowing you to make them a cosy little pen to live in. It can be a little bit of a fiddly process, especially when performing the button presses with the flute and figuring out how to make each dinosaur happy, but it’s always rewarding when you get a new friend to join you.
“I loved going out and finding all of the different dinosaurs in the wild, whilst encountering different variations felt like I was really uncovering something new and exciting.”
Best of all, they’ll all do their bit to help out on the farm, with each dinosaur having their own little skills that can make performing your everyday tasks that little bit easier. Whether that’s digging up some land to sew seeds, watering your crops, or simply destroying the obstructive objects on your farm, the extra help goes a long way – especially since your stamina is limited in the game. You can even ride your dinosaurs in order to use their stamina instead, so the more you have on your farm, the more you’re able to get done with each passing day. It’s a good job too, because I found the main character’s stamina to be a little bit TOO limited in places, especially since every action you perform uses it up. It could make some of the early hours with playing a bit of a slog, especially when you’re learning the ins-and-outs of the game and figuring out how to best approach your daily routine.
If I’m being honest, Paleo Pines actually requires a bit more patience than your typical farming sim during the early hours of play. It feels like a lot of tasks you complete in the game take a little bit longer than they need to (whether that’s gathering the resources to craft an item, growing enough crops to make money, and so forth), whilst the process of traversing the area can be a little confusing thanks to the game’s lack of guidance. Some of the locales you’ll explore can be tricky to find your way around, and with the in-game map feeling a little limited, there were plenty of occasions where I struggled to simply know where to go or what to do next.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Still, once you do get the ball rolling, I found myself fully invested in its sense of discovery. I loved going out and finding all of the different dinosaurs in the wild, whilst encountering different variations felt like I was really uncovering something new and exciting. There are plenty of little mysteries to unfold around you too, and whilst the plot is a little bare-boned, it really does add to the game’s sense of adventure. You’ll record a lot of the discoveries you make along the way, so you end up feeling like more than just a farmer when playing the game. Just be warned: the game doesn’t really give you any pointers as to where you might need to go to make a lot of these discoveries, with Paleo Pines very much a player-led experience. That might be fine for a lot of players, but others might wish it gave you a bit more of guidance to streamline each task a little.
With plenty of quests to complete, specific needs to meet on the farm, and changing seasons that bring with them new things to discover, there’s a LOT to get stuck into in Paleo Pines. It lets you work at your own pace without restrictions too, so players can live the little life they want to. Want to focus on farming and selling crops? Do that. Wanna make a lovely little dinosaur sanctuary? That’s fine. Or do you just want to see everything there is out there in the world? Go for it. Whilst you do have to complete a few basic tasks to keep your farm in ship-shape, it’s otherwise a pretty laidback experience where you just get to do what you want.
Paleo Pines Review
Paleo Pines’ dinosaur-themed take on the farming sim is enjoyable, though it does require a bit more patience than other releases in the genre to appreciate everything it has to offer. There’s a bit of a slow burn during the opening hours, whilst the focus on offering a player-led experience can leave you muddled as to where you need to go next or what you need to do to progress.
When you do get the ball rolling though? It can be a lot of fun, with a real satisfying sense of discovery felt as you explore the world, uncover its secrets, and, of course, bring new dinosaurs back to your farm. There are areas in which it can improve, but Paleo Pines still offers a charming and unique take on the genre.
Developer: Italic Pig
Publisher: Modus Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC (Reviewed)