Paleo Pines lets you venture into a thrilling farming journey with a prehistoric twist. Italic Pig has developed a game that delivers the classic farming experience you’d expect – a neglected farm, friendly vendors in the bustling town square, and the changing seasons. However, a dinosaur-sized game mechanic also promises to set it apart from the rest.
History has taken an extraordinary twist in Paleo Pines: benevolent humans coexist with amicable dinosaurs. On this island steeped in charm, live both gentle giants and eccentric townsfolk; it’s a place where mysteries from the past await your discovery.
The community buzz surrounding Paleo Pines is electric, with a timeline of excitement that traces back from articles to Reddit posts and thrilling trailer reactions. This game has ignited a fire of anticipation, and it’s easy to see why — the allure of farming alongside dinosaurs is simply irresistible.
- Developer – Italic Pig
- Platforms – Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
- Release Date – September 26, 2023
- Price – $29.99/€29.99
Unearth the Charming Narrative of Paleo Pines When You’re Ready
In Paleo Pines, you embark on an adventure to the charming town of, you guessed it, Paleo Pines. This picturesque setting is a haven of amiable townsfolk, lush landscapes, and, most notably, many, many dinosaurs. Your lively journey begins alongside your loyal dino companion, Lucky, whom you’ve nurtured from a tiny egg. Seeing Lucky overgrow her bathtub sets the tone for the heartwarming experience that lies ahead. It’s an opening sequence that could very well be the Opening Theme Song for an early morning cartoon.
Upon your arrival in Paleo Pines, the rarity of Lucky as a dinosaur becomes apparent, and the main storyline revolves around your quest to uncover whether she is the last of her kind. As you ride Lucky across the enchanting landscapes of Paleo Pines, you’ll get to establish your new home, cultivate your farm, and forge friendships. But underneath these mundane tasks lies an island’s forgotten history. You’ll slowly begin to piece together clues about the Parasaurolophus, the same species as Lucky, and whether more of them still roam the land.
Paleo Pines offers a clear, engaging storyline that balances significance and unobtrusiveness perfectly. With a coy gesture, it lays out a bounty of side quests, then scampers away like an eager child. It’s letting you know there is a main thread to weave, should you want to. There are no time limits and no pressure. You can roam the landscapes of Paleo Pines and do your own thing without any weight on your back.
But if you’re up for the adventure, a few promising teasers await. You’ll catch a glimpse of dinosaurs not found in the starting area, possibly waiting past the boulder blocking Dapplewood. The absence of time limits on quests enhances the cozy and relaxed atmosphere, and the well-paced progression keeps you excited with just the right touch of foreshadowing.
Step into an Animated Adventure; You’re the Star of the Show
The world of Paleo Pines bursts with vibrant colors, from lush greens to captivating blues, featuring stunning rock bridges, scenic hilltops, picturesque ponds, and uniquely crafted houses. These visually appealing landscapes are complemented by breathtaking sunsets and frequent rainbows, providing a delightful sense of exploration.
Although the absence of a mini-map can initially be a tad bothersome, the game’s compact world gradually becomes ingrained in your memory. This all fosters a sense of familiarity, and each turn of the road in Paleo Pines starts to feel like home. The world’s consistency makes navigation easier, and after a couple of in-game days, you won’t frequently find yourself lost.
Besides the big dino in the room, what makes Paleo Pines particularly special in the farming sim department is the inclusion of your character in cutscenes. And boy, are these cutscenes a treat. You can see your character walk off the ranch with Lucky and interact with the game’s charming cast of characters, which works wonders to immerse you in this world.
The game exudes the delightful aura of a morning kids’ cartoon, like Rolie Polie Olie or Caillou. You get to see this cute little character you created to become the main character of this show and tailor its plotline. Each morning, you’ll embark on exciting adventures with your trusty dino companion through these beautifully colored lands.
However, much like early morning cartoons, the game lacks romance options, which will disappoint players seeking romantic interactions. Additionally, the presence of non-interactable background NPCs may slightly diminish the world’s liveliness, momentarily breaking immersion.
Dino Recruitment Outshines Every Other Gameplay Mechanic
It’s clear the focus of Paleo Pines is dinosaurs. Frankly, they outshine every other gameplay mechanic to the point where you almost wish those other features didn’t exist.
There’s no shortage of dino goodness here. Paleo Pines boasts pretty much every well-known dinosaur species, each with its unique shape, size, and pastel color palette. You’ll want to collect ’em all because they look so fantastic.
These dinosaurs aren’t just pretty faces. They’ve got the cutest animations, sounds, and walking styles you’ve ever seen. It’s like having a pocket-sized dino petting zoo at your fingertips. Befriending and caring for these dinos isn’t just a side gig; it’s a full-blown addiction. The engagement factor is off the charts. You’ll find yourself wishing you had dinosaur friends in real life.
These aren’t your average dinos; they’re superheroes. They come equipped with special skills that make farming and exploration a breeze. Who needs a tractor when you have a dino that can clear debris with its cute little paws?
Dinos are the heart and soul of Paleo Pines, which makes the other gameplay features seem like dino-sized filler. Farming tools are a pain to grab; neglecting your crops is a one-way ticket to failure, and I frankly couldn’t care less about those carrots and potatoes growing on my farm; I’d much rather play the flute for my Pachycephalosaurus. The Dinos are busting with life and fun to interact with, whereas farming mechanics feel quite tedious and like hard work.
Sure, there are other game mechanics like exploring with speedy dinos, cooking, and fixing stuff, but let’s face it, once you’ve tasted dino life, everything else feels like a side quest.
Limited Crafting and Decorating Options
Paleo Pines offers customization options for decorating the outside of your ranch. After spending several days cleaning up the mess in the ranch’s front yard, it’s only natural you’ll want to decorate it—the bird’s-eye view during decorating aids in creating visually pleasing layouts. Plus, waiting for seasonal events will harness opportunities to acquire specialty items.
However, while you can craft plenty of stuff for your dinos, there doesn’t seem to be much in store regarding furniture of your own. Or anything of your own, really. In Paleo Pines, the days end when you interact with a ladder that leads to your ranch, and that’s it.
While the game offers customization options, there’s room for improvement. A wider variety of customization items and the ability to craft or decorate your home’s interior would be much appreciated. As much as I love to care for the dinos, some self-love is well in order here. Plus, the crafting process requires interaction with an NPC in the town’s center, which can be inconvenient.
While it’s got a set of flaws, Paleo Pines offers a charming and immersive farming sim experience. Its focus on dinosaurs adds a unique twist to the genre and instantly makes it stand out. Even if you’re not particularly into dinosaurs, the endearing design of these companions is sure to win you over. The heartwarming narrative, vibrant setting, and lovable characters create an enjoyable gaming journey. With its captivating gameplay and adorable dinosaurs, Paleo Pines is a solid choice for farming sims and cozy game enthusiasts.
8 / 10
|+ Engaging, cartoon-style cutscenes that immerse you in the adventure|
|+ Surprisingly accurate and varied portrayal of dinosaurs in a cute setting.|
|– Action movement could be smoother|
|– Lack of quality of life features, like a lock-on feature to interact with objects, characters, and dinos|
|– Limited ranch customization options|
Gamepur team received a Nintendo Switch code for the purpose of this review.