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The best dinosaur games that are truly T-Rexcellent

Jurassic World Evolution 2
(Image credit: Frontier)

The best dinosaur games are here to make any free time you have extinct, with a host of different adventures across various platforms. With a range of experiences on offer, all of them have one thing in common: Yes, you guessed it. Dinos. From prehistoric management sims that let you go all John Hammond and run your very own Jurassic Park to an immersive VR game that shows the scary side of dinosaurs, there's no shortage of options out there. So if you're a fan of all things Jurassic, join us as we take you through the best dinosaur games that are sure to have a dino-mite time with (sorry). 

Jurassic World Evolution 2 

Jurassic World Evolution 2

(Image credit: Frontier)

Developer: Frontier Developments
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC 

Let’s start with a potentially existential question. One that’s especially pertinent to the guests of your dinosaur zoo. Is it possible to build a living prehistoric theme park without blood spattering the pathways between exhibits? Jurassic World Evolution 2 lets you check again, just to make sure and, sadly for your TripAdvisor score, the answer is definitely no. Once again Frontier Developments pits us against nature, nurture, and seriously disgruntled scientists in pursuit of the ultimate Jurassic Park. This time around we’ve got bonus flying dinosaurs to contend with and a watery swathe of underwater creatures to manage too. At least the latter don’t find it as easy to get out but believe us when we say they come with their own challenges. Add in the voice of Jeff Goldblum as the ever cynical Dr. Ian Malcolm and this sequel, like life, finds a way to make your time disappear.    

Jurassic World: Aftermath 

Jurassic World Aftermath

(Image credit: Coatsink)

Developer: Coatsink
Platforms: Quest 2, Quest 

How do you know you’re a 90s kid? Well, if the Jurassic Park kitchen raptor scene was one of your first moments of true nightmare fuel that’s probably a good indicator. And if you’re feeling brave enough to actually live through that sequence, clicking talons, tense John Williams score and all, you’re not going to want to miss Jurassic World: Aftermath. This VR game is made entirely of those dread-filled moments as you’re hunted by ultra-deadly six-foot turkeys. Aftermath is set between the events of Jurassic World and Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom and leans heavily into stealth as we desperately try to escape a research facility which, of course, is populated with three dangerously hungry raptors. Arming you with nothing but your wits and a few distraction techniques, this is tense and dangerously immersive stuff. Believe us when we say pulling a Chris Pratt and stretching your arms out to placate them just… doesn’t work. Unless you want them to start with the finger food… 

Parkasaurus 

Parkasaurus

(Image credit: Washbear Studio)

Developer: Washbear Studio
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch 

If you fancy a somewhat gentler dinosaur theme park experience - y’know, the kind where your exhibits can wear cosy bobble hats - you really don’t want to miss Parkasarus. This is still very much a management sim, complete with dino enclosure stats and research tasks for better facilities, but the cuddlier atmosphere means things feel significantly less stressful even when an escape does occur. Everything about Parkasaurus is satisfying and colorful, with rounded edges and definitely not scientifically correct dinosaur anatomy. Although, we’d definitely pay to see a new Jurassic movie with these all googly eyes. If you want a chilled and charming management experience with plenty of granularity, Parkasaurus is the perfect alternative to the Jurassic World Evolution games. Think Two Point Hospital with dinosaurs and some lovely decorative fairy lights and you’ll be en-raptor-ed for hours. Sorry…    

LEGO Jurassic World 

Lego Jurassic World

(Image credit: TT Games)

Developer: TT Games
Platforms: PS3, PS4, PS5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android   

Not only is LEGO Jurassic World one of the best dinosaur games you can play right now, it also happens to be one of the very best LEGO games available too. And Jurassic World is actually a bit of a misnomer. Yes, there are levels for the 2015 movie but the best bits of this game are the sections dedicated to the 1993 original. The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 are here too but, just like in real life, Jurassic Park is the true star of the show. Joining Drs Ellie Satler and Alan Grant in brick form is a stud-packed delight, and the level in the underground bunker as Ellie heads to turn the electricity back on is probably the closest we’ll ever get to a LEGO Dino Crisis. If you didn’t think LEGO games could be scary as well as funny, head into the raptor-filled dark here. It doesn’t seem to matter that they’re made of plastic…  

ARK: Survival Evolved 

ARK Survival Evolved

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Developer: Studio Wildcard
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android, Stadia   

Why would you want to keep a dinosaur in a cage when you can ride it and feel like a mini-god in a prehistoric world? ARK: Survival Evolved might have a point. This sprawling open-world survival game has grown exponentially over the last five years into a powerful stomping behemoth of dinosaur escapism. It’s not lost its teeth over the years - you’ll still struggle to survive at first whether you’re playing in single or multiplayer- but the ARK ecosystem means you can choose to play however you want in this world. Whether you want to join a Tribe with friends and live in harmony with your tamed creatures, or live a life alone farming the land, ARK offers a dangerously compelling universe. Come for the rideable dinosaurs and stay for the fascinating island, endless crafting loops, and terrifying mythical creatures. 

The Isle  

The Isle

(Image credit: Afterthought LLC)

Developer: Afterthought LLC
Platforms: PC (Early Access) 

And if you thought it was all looking sunny from the dinosaur’s perspective, like a screaming delicious all-you-can-eat buffet, The Isle is here to bring you down a peg or two. In fact, potentially all the way down to the bottom of the food chain depending on your choice of character. This gritty open-world survival horror lets you play as a carnivore as well as a human but, regardless of your choice, this is an unwelcoming world of peril. Survival is your only goal, which means staying out of the way of pretty much everything with teeth and concentrating on staying alive in a world where other players want to make you lunch. It’s currently in Early Access so expect big changes as the game evolves but currently The Isle is a stressful journey into realizing that the grass really isn’t greener on the other side. It’s, well, redder…      

Minecraft - Jurassic World 

Minecraft Jurassic World

(Image credit: Mojang)

Developer: Mojang
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android   

Just when you thought no further expense could be spared, we’ve got another official Universal game for you. Minecraft’s Jurassic World DLC is available from the Minecraft Marketplace for the Bedrock Edition, and this is no mere lazy movie tie-in. Head to Isla Nublar and there’s a sprawling, blocky Jurassic World to explore that you actually have to run as a new manager. Open the gates to visitors and, just like Frontier’s sim, you’ll have to stop disasters, fix sabotage, and fly out to dig sites to find DNA for the 60 different dinosaurs available. Clare Dearing and Dr Wu are even on hand to give you missions, and you can scoot around to take in the sights in your very own gyrosphere. Mojang clearly has some serious fans of dino DNA on the team as this is an absolute love letter to the whole series.   

Prehistoric Kingdom

Prehistoric Kingdom

(Image credit: Blue Meridian)

Developer: Blue Meridian
Platforms: PC (Early Access) 

Dinosaur theme park management sims are clearly like buses. You wait 65 million years and then three come along at once in the same list. The 2022 Prehistoric Kingdom is a little different from its contemporaries in that it doesn’t discriminate when it comes to extinct creatures. Sure, they’ve got a T-Rex - they’ve got a T-Rex - but you’ll also find the Woolly Mammoth, Woolly Rhino, and the Saber Tooth Tiger ready for placement in your beautifully realised dino zoo. A lot of work has clearly been put into the animation and there’s also the nice addition of so-called Mini-Exhibits to kit out with vegetation and populate with lesser known living fossils such as the four-winged Microraptor. It’s currently in Early Access and devs Blue Meridian have been clear that this is very much a work in progress, but Prehistoric Kingdom definitely doesn’t have us rushing for the helicopters just yet.       

Second Extinction  

Second Extinction

(Image credit: Systemic Reaction)

Developer: Systemic Reaction
Platforms: PC (Early Access)  

Finally someone has handed us a gun that actually works. Second Extinction is a multiplayer shooter that’s currently in Early Access but is intent on levelling the odds after, let’s face it, decades of wanton dinosaur slaughter. And, because regular dinosaurs wouldn’t be exciting enough to shoot, this is a world packed with mutated ones instead. Teams of three are best to take on this open world of toothy peril which currently has a series of main missions and side quests scattered across a sizable open world map. Systemic Reaction is promising more heroes, weapons, and missions as the game grows but currently the guns are suitably punchy and the creature design is pleasingly monstrous. It is recommended to bring along some friends as your enemies might bite off more than you can chew if you go in alone. You’ll probably need the next game to recover.. . 

Yoshi’s Crafted World 

Yoshi's Crafted World

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Developer: Good-Feel
Platforms: Nintendo Switch 

But what if you’re looking for a dinosaur game where no one is at risk of becoming a Happy Meal on legs? Where no one actually ends up gorily extinct? Well, that’s where everyone’s favourite green dinosaur can heroically save the day. In gloriously fuzzy form no less. Yoshi’s Crafted World is like an Etsy-flavoured espresso shot of charm as you hunt down the Yoshis who have been nefariously abducted from Craft World by Magikoopa. Not the Yoshis, you cry. Every bounce and jump here is accompanied by a delightful soundtrack as you explore paper and pipe cleaner packed levels with a friend or alone. Just like Yoshi’s Woolly World before it, this is a gentle platforming adventure packed with cutes and collectibles and again, just like its predecessor, you’re going to spend a long time making sure you’ve found all of the Poochy Pups hiding in each level. You wouldn’t leave them, would you?   

Louise Blain
Louise Blain

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode. 

With contributions from