Paleo Pines Review (Nintendo Switch)

Published on February 13th, 2024 by Natan C.

Paleo Pines Review (Nintendo Switch)

While the dinosaurs may be long dead, they still live on in modern culture. For decades, people around the world have grown up being fascinated by these deceased reptiles. From toys populating bedrooms to Jurassic tales on the big screen, our fascination with dinosaurs is clear to see, and living alongside them is the dream of many. If you want to own a ranch where many dinosaurs can roam around for you to live with, then Paleo Pines is the game for you!


In Paleo Pines, you grew up alongside a young Parasaur called Lucky all your life. However, she’s growing too big for your house, so the two of you move out to an abandoned ranch on Paleo Island to find more dinos of her species. Upon arrival, you soon learn that Parasaurs haven’t been seen on Paleo Island for decades. As such, you settle into your ranch to befriend even more dinosaurs and hopefully meet more members of Lucky’s species!

Tracking a Parasaur in Paleo Pines
Tracking down the Parasaurs is your main motivation.

You’ll meet many colorful people who call the Paleo Pines their own throughout this journey, each with their quirks. You’ll get to know them through their quests and some witty writing. But solving the Parasaurolophus Puzzle will be your main goal throughout your playthrough, and it’s an ok main quest. Due to the nature of the game, the main story might take a while to beat. For instance, once I had to give Mari some turnips, but those wouldn’t be available for another in-game month. Additionally, some footprints I needed to track in Dapplewood wouldn’t appear.

Finding a mysterious ancient tablet in Paleo Pines
Paleo Island is a place full of mysteries.

However, that isn’t even needed. It turns out that it isn’t even required. Your main way to solve the puzzle is to track down 3 ancient tablets and 20 fragments on the island. You just need to have all the areas unlocked, track down those collectibles and you’re set. I would recommend a guide to find all the fragments to make it less tedious. All in all, the Parasaurolophus Puzzle makes for an acceptable storyline to serve as the game’s glue.


Paleo Pines is a farming simulator, and as such, its main focus is the day-to-day life of managing and growing your ranch. You will have to take care of your dinosaur friends’ daily needs, as well as try to befriend more. Although, in general, I’ve found the base control pretty clunky when I had to target a specific item or field of land.

Befriending a T Rex in Paleo Pines
This game obviously has everyone’s favorite dino!

Befriending a Dinosaur

Many dinos call the island of Paleo their home, and you’ll need to be prepared if you want to invite them to your ranch. To start, you need to track down the dinosaur you want. To pique their interest, you need to use your flute to mimic the creature’s friend call. These can be quite complicated, as you’ll need to perform a sequence of notes, some of which need to be held down for a bit. If you’ve successfully performed the call, you’ll need to balance the dinosaurs’ agitation and calmness. You need to feed it to excite or soothe to calm it. By balancing the two, you can get the dial in the green area. Then, feed the correct Poppin the befriend it.

Befriending a dinosaur in Paleo Pines
Make sure to be prepared if you want to invite a new friend to your ranch.

Overall, this system felt a bit finicky. There is a lot of trial and error involved in discovering a dinosaur’s taste unless you look it up. Balancing soothing and feeding can also feel finicky. I sometimes found it best to reset the encounter. For one, soothing a dinosaur to sleep makes it easy to log it into your journal. Lastly, the camera angle changes while trying to befriend a dinosaur, and I had my view often blocked by a rock or tree.

Ranch Life

Farming simulators are all about the cozy daily tasks, and Paleo Pines offers a comforting experience. Every in-game day, you’ll need to make sure your dinosaur pens are clean of filth and full of food. Farming will be another one of your daily activities. You’ll want to buy seeds from Granny Agami and plant them on tilled land on your ranch. Some dinosaur abilities will help you with farming, such as tilling or watering. Later, you can even get items you can assign to small dinosaurs in order to harvest crops and plant seeds. One nitpick I have with these items is that the seed bowl, despite having 2 item slots, does not let you store 2 different types of seeds. All I could do was add 2 stacks of the same seed.

Tending to your crops in your farm in Paleo Pines
Chores are a lot more fun if it’s with dinosaurs.

To truly make your ranch your own, you’ll have to build it. Marlo will be able to hook you up with items such as fences, troughs, and decorative items. You will then need to grab the items from your inventory to place them. I just wish placing items was a bit less clunky. You are locked into a limited field of view when building, and you might need to reposition if you need to put items further away. This was especially annoying when I had to construct large pens.


Every dinosaur has its own abilities. These can help you water your crop for instance. More importantly, they can also either smash rocks, stomp logs, or slash bushes. These are necessary, not only to clear up space on your ranch but also to unlock new areas. To start, you’ll only have access to the lush Veridian Valley. Early on, you’ll need to get a Smasher dinosaur to unlock Dapplewood, and a Slasher to get to Aricotta Canyon. You’ll also need these abilities to unlock sub-areas to get access to some collectibles and dinosaur species.

Exploring Veridian Valley while riding a dinosaur in Paleo Pines
To discover all the island has to offer, you need to work together with your dinosaurs.

However, if you want your dinosaurs to help you, they’ll need to trust you first. You can increase a dinosaur’s friendship by making sure all their needs are met. Every creature has a preferred biome, minimum pen size, and social preferences. You can also take them on walks, feed them, play music for them, and of course, pet them. At the end of the day, a dinosaur’s friendship is converted into trust, and the friendship is reset. At least, according to some online forums I found, because this is barely explained in the game. This made it so I never knew how close I was to a dinosaur becoming a helper. It doesn’t help that bigger dinosaurs can take days to befriend, even if you are spending time with them every day.


Paleo Pines excels at creating a wholesome, comfortable atmosphere, thanks to its cartoony art style. Sure, it is not very detailed, but it doesn’t need to be for a game like this. I do wish that the rain was a bit more noticeable, you often get lots of precipitation but with empty skies. The dinosaur designs are also varied enough. A lot of them share design motives, as these species are related, but it makes sense and it never bothered me. Lastly, the grooves were immaculate, and they’d often get stuck in my head even after closing the game.

Participating in a community event in Paleo Pines
Meet with the townsfolk to celebrate fun events!


If you ever want to relive your childhood fantasies of living amongst dinosaurs, this game is for you! Paleo Pines is the perfect game to cozy up and enjoy some wholesome busy work. Its main campaign can be tedious, the controls could be smoother, and some game mechanics annoy me, but the game excels at what it wants to do. If you just want to take your time, enjoy the company of your dinosaurs, and grow your farm, you can’t go wrong with moving to Paleo Island!

Paleo Pines gets 8/10.

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About Natan C.

A professional at being bad at games and discovering new obsessions, Natan has played all types of games ever since he started gaming by playing Skylanders on the Wii. He's currently studying linguistics and aspires to one day write for a video game.