Paleo Pines: Review
This game was reviewed on PC.
Reviewed by: Amanda Martin
Ever wondered what it would be like to run a ranch? Ever wondered what it would be like to run a ranch...with dinosaurs? This game answers both of those questions, bringing to us a wonderful, feel-good, cosy ranch sim, complete with adorable little dinosaurs for you to befriend.
The art style of this game is immediately welcoming, and the design of the map encourages the player to explore every inch. The world is full of many different types of dinosaurs, each with an ability you can utilise should you earn their trust. There are wild growing crops and plants that you can forage for, perfect for selling if you're running short on cash, or shells as they're known in this game. Some areas need to have obstacles removed before you can set foot in them. The map itself is pretty to look at, and personally gives me a nostalgic sense of kids tv shows, with the painted background sets. But this doesn't mean the background isn't dynamic, as there is a day and night cycle, and also a weather cycle. One interesting thing I did notice was that after it had rained a lot in game, some areas were flooded as a result and became inaccessible for a period of time.
The variety of dinosaur species in this game is amazing. Of course there are the classics that we all know and love, such as the T-Rex, the Stegosaurus and the Triceratops, but there are a few unusual ones as well. Not only is there an impressive dinosaur roster, they also come in a variety of colours and patterns. These range from common colour schemes, to ultra rare colours, and yes you will be very tempted to collect them all. The dinos will quite happily join you, if you can successfully play their friend call on your flute and then gain their trust by offering their favourite snack. But getting them to stay with you is a whole other matter.
Alongside normal farming mechanics such as tilling the soil and planting the seeds, you also need to make sure you properly care for the dinos that live on your ranch. They require a pen to live in, and something called a dreamstone, a pink crystal that keeps them happy. You also need to feed them, and make sure their social needs are met. Some dinos love the company of others, whilst some prefer their own space. It's important to keep your dinos happy, because of they become unhappy they can decide to leave your ranch entirely.
If all of the dinos needs are met, they will go from being a happy friend to a happy helper. This means that you can then use their abilities. Larger dinos can have a saddle equipped, allowing you to ride them. Smaller dinos can help you around the farm, from planting seeds to harvesting the crops themselves. This is where the game really encourages you to go out and collect some dinos, as it's not a one-dino-for-all-purpose situation. One species will help clear bushes, whilst another will clear fallen tree trunks, and another will smash through boulders. Those players looking for the full experience, or looking for 100% completion, will get the most out of their exploration if they take these dinos along with them.
Some farming sims fall into the trap of becoming stagnant, as you simply plant seeds, harvest crops, and then sell those crops to buy more seeds, but this game manages to avoid that pitfall. There are not many characters in this game, but they all have a role to play, as they offer a variety of quests to further their own personal story line. For example, two researchers have fallen out due to an argument, and you must find a way to help them forgive each other. There is also a little quest board found in town, where the townspeople can post simple requests, like delivering pieces of wood, or finding a lost item and returning it to them. These smaller quests reward you with a variety of items, from crop seeds to building materials. Both types of quest will help boost your relationship with that person, who will also reward you for reaching friendship goals.
Overall, this is an absolute gem of a game, guaranteed to delight gamers and dinosaur enthusiasts alike.
Reviewed by: Amanda Martin