Paleo Pines – Review
Follow Genre: Farm sim
Developer: Italic Pig
Publisher: Modus Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: PC

Paleo Pines – Review

Site Score
Good: A great entry level farm sim for a younger audience
Bad: Lack of voice acting is jarring
User Score
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

With Jurassic Park’s 30th anniversary celebrations in full swing, we’ve been returning to Jurassic World Evolution 2 on a fairly regular basis. Over the last two years, that game has seen some massive improvements through updates and paid DLC, cementing its status as one of the best dinosaur sim games in the market right now. It’s facing some stiff competition, however, from games like Parkasaurus and Prehistoric Kingdom. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise then that developer Italic Pig took things in a very different direction with Paleo Pines, a game that plays like a cross between the aforementioned titles and  Story of Seasons. This dinosaur farming sim certainly looks adorable, but is it a Mesozoic masterpiece or one big pile of dinosaur doo-doo?


Although Paleo Pines sticks to the familiar premise of rebuilding a derelict farm that has become the de facto storyline of the genre, some effort was put into making things more interesting from a narrative perspective by introducing a secondary storyline. Central to this storyline is Lucky, a blue parasaurolophus that happens to be the companion of the game’s self-insert protagonist. Lucky and the player arrive at Paleo Pines, a derelict farm that they intend to restore to its former glory. Here, they run into Mari and Owynn, two explorers who are amazed to witness Lucky’s existence, as the local parasaurolophus population has disappeared. Lucky might just be the key to bringing them back, so apart from managing the farm, our heroes decide to take on this quest as well.


When we reviewed Jurassic World Evolution 2, we said that the dinosaurs in that game might just be the best-looking ones in any video game. Paleo Pines takes on a very different approach with its aesthetics, so right now, Frontier still takes the crown. Still, there is something to be said for the storybook-style visuals that Paleo Pines brings to the screen. The dinosaurs genuinely look adorable, although the NPCs look a little bland. Performance-wise, Paleo Pines does what it needs to do, without pushing any boundaries. While there is some minor clipping going on, and jagged edges are more common than we would have liked, the game still looks good.


There is a good chance that you already know exactly what Paleo Pines’ soundtrack sounds like, even if you haven’t heard it, because it fits the wholesome and cutesy atmosphere of the game to a tee. Dinosaur cries stick to the same principle, and for the most part, this works well, although it does feel a little weird for a t.rex not to make deafening roars. Sadly, Paleo Pines lacks voice acting, which is something that does feel sorely missing during dialogue-heavy story scenes.


Beneath Paleo Pines’ dinosaur skin, you’ll find a robust but fairly unremarkable farming simulator. The game follows the familiar formula where your aim is to turn a humble farm into an agricultural empire by growing crops and tending to livestock. Of course, having access to massive prehistoric fauna makes things easier, as your gentle giants are able to clear debris, plow fields, or water saplings. Early on, you’ll have to take care of these menial tasks yourself, however. If you want to put a brachiosaurus or triceratops to work on your fields, you’ll need to tame them first. In addition, every dinosaur you add to your farm has specific needs that you’ll need to take care of when it comes to their enclosure. This isn’t all that different from setting up a place to live for the cows, chickens, and pigs you’d see in a “normal” farming sim, of course, but with almost 40 different species to take care of here, you still have your work cut out for you.

The player character isn’t the only human living in the area, of course. Within walking (or dino riding) distance from your budding farm, you’ll find the obligatory village. Here, you’ll sell your crops and acquire new items, complete quests for NPCs, and build up friendships. Of note is that there are no romance options in Paleo Pines, unlike in some other farming sims like the Harvest Moon games. Everything in the village ties into a gameplay loop that farming sim veterans will find familiar. To its credit, Paleo Pines offers a lot of variety in what you can do, but it also falls into a common pitfall of games like this. There is plenty of mechanical breadth here, but none of the mechanics feel particularly fleshed out. Given the aesthetics, it’s likely that Paleo Pines is targeting a younger audience, but veterans hoping this would be the next Stardew Valley will end up disappointed.

The dinosaurs truly are the stars of the show here, and they are also how Paleo Pines attempts to set itself apart from the likes of Spirit of the Island or Harvestella. As you explore the surroundings of your farmstead, you’ll gather items and dino treats and eventually you’ll run into one of the prehistoric critters and you’re able to try and add them to your menagerie. Convincing a dinosaur to come and live at your farm is a fairly lengthy process, involving a Simon Says-style flute minigame, feeding it treats, and making noises to calm it down. The dinosaurs living in the wilds surrounding your farm can be finicky, however, and meeting their preferences is often a matter of trial and error. This wouldn’t be an issue if the taming process wasn’t so lengthy and repetitive, and to make matters worse, even if you managed to bring a dinosaur to your farm, there is a chance that it will leave anyway if you don’t meet its living requirements.

Every dinosaur needs an enclosure where they spend their downtime. Of course, a t. rex doesn’t quite have the same preferences as a stegosaurus, so you’ll need to put some work into their home. You’ll need to make sure they have access to the right food, have enough room and the right decorations. Certain species don’t mind co-housing, and every dinosaur will tell you what they want for their living place, so while you do need to put in some work, setting up a little dinosaur village is easy provided you have the necessary resources. One resource in particular, however, can really put a wrench in your carefully laid out plans: Dreamstones. These rare items are required as they act as beds for your dinosaurs. They come in two sizes, although for some reason small dinosaurs cannot use large Dreamstones. Without a Dreamstone to sleep on, a dinosaur will simply grow discontent and leave, wasting your efforts in taming them and setting up a new enclosure. We understand the philosophy behind the system: it requires players to put in effort, and thus make it all the more special when bonding with a dinosaur is successful. Additionally, by limiting the available dinosaurs to the number of acquired Dreamstones, the game doesn’t become too easy. Finally, limiting dinosaurs means that weaker hardware can keep up with the game. Still, we’d love to have seen a sandbox mode that removes this limit by giving access to unlimited Dreamstones instead, even if it would have been limited to PC only.

That said, there is plenty to keep you occupied here, even if the game is limited to only a single mode. As is usually the case with farming sims, there is more to do each day than your stamina allows, especially early on, and finding the right balance is the key to success. As the wholesome and cutesy atmosphere indicates, Paleo Pines isn’t a very difficult or punishing take on the genre, even with velociraptors and t.rexes running around the farm grounds. Completionists in particular can look forward to not just tracking down every species of dinosaur, but also their rare colour variants as well. While this process isn’t going to be as intensive as hunting for shiny Pokémon, Paleo Pines can still be quite the time sink if you become invested.


Farming simulator diehards will probably find Paleo Pines’ gameplay to be too shallow, but anyone looking to dip their toes in the genre for the first time will find a good time here. This entry-level farming sim knows that its main selling point is its dinosaurs, so it puts them front and center, backed up by a lovable cast of NPCs and simple, yet accessible gameplay. The dinosaur-taming component can be a bit frustrating at times, mostly to balance out the rest of the gameplay, but overall, Paleo Pines provides a delightful prehistoric time.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

1 Comment

  1. […] taken a look at several games involving dinosaurs this year, and took the opportunity to point out that this year marked the 30th […]

    VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.