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  • Writer's pictureAntal Bokor

Besides Dinosaurs, Paleo Pines Doesn’t Have Much Going For It

Screenshot: Paleo Pines

It’s been over three years since Animal Crossing: New Horizons brought cozy games to the mainstream. I’ve been enjoying the trend, even though I end up playing more bad cozy games than good ones. Some cozy games are resorting to what seems like gimmicks to make them stand out. While “cozy game, but with dinosaurs” sounds awesome–I’m sad to report that I just couldn’t find the fun in Paleo Pines.

Paleo Pines is a third person adventure game with some farming sim elements. It follows one of the very worn tropes that (I believe) started way back with 1997’s Harvest Moon: you own a farm, but it’s run down and you have to fix it up. While you’re fixing it up, you have to farm, meet the quirky townspeople, etc. The only main difference here is the introduction of Lucky. I have to admit: I would die for Lucky. Lucky is a parasaurolophus (no idea how to pronounce that) and she’s possibly the last of her kind. You’ve had her since she was an egg–and you’ve actually come to this island to find the others of her kind.

Screenshot: Paleo Pines

While Paleo Pines’ premise does set it a tad bit apart from other games of its ilk, there really isn’t anything groundbreaking here–most of the gameplay checks the boxes of other games of its type. With, again, the main difference being the ability to collect dinosaurs. You do this by communicating with them through your musical flute.

Also with you is your trusty companion Lucky. She’s not only your BFF, she’s also your ride. However, as you get more dinosaurs and tame them you’ll not only be able to ride them–but you can use them as farm equipment to take some of the tedium out of your daily chores. It’s a living, right?

Screenshot: Paleo Pines

Paleo Pines is extremely charming at a glance, and looks good in short snippets or screenshots. However, it hasn’t endeared me with its floaty controls and strange baby people. While I can get over bad character design, having a game that doesn’t feel very fun to play–even if it’s supposed to be a “chill” game–kind of ruins the whole experience.

The more you explore in Paleo Pines the more people you’ll find–and the more people you end up helping, the more of Paleo Pines opens up. There are a few distinct biomes in Paleo Pines, each with its own wild crops to forage and dinosaurs to discover–and tame. There isn’t a lack of things to keep you busy–but whether that busy work is fun really depends on your tolerance.

Screenshot: Paleo Pines

I’m not saying that Paleo Pines is a bad game. In fact, it checks all of the proper boxes and does what it sets out to be: a bright colorful cozy game with dinosaur friends. If that’s good enough for you, than Paleo Pines should be good enough. But if you’re looking for something to replace Animal Crossing: New Horizons or you’re chasing the next best thing: this ain’t it.

Paleo Pines is available today on Steam, Xbox and Nintendo Switch

A Steam key was provided to us for this review



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