- Developer: Chibig
- Publisher: Chibig
- Release Date: 15/04/2021
- Price: £17.99 / $19.99
- Review code provided by Chibig
Introducing: Deiland Pocket Planet Switch Review
Lately it seems like a new slice-of-life farming sim is coming out every week. A quick look at the eShop top downloads will tell you that their popularity isn’t a short lived fad. These games are here to stay and I’m perfectly fine with that. For this review, I’m taking a look at Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition, a fresh perspective both in terms of design and appearance.
The Prince Awakens
Deiland opens with a child born of crystal hurling toward a planet like a meteorite. This seemingly random event has ramifications that you learn about as the story progresses. You play as Arco, the Prince of the “minor planet”, Deiland. Things seem innocent enough. Arco has become the planet’s sole inhabitant and caretaker. Soon, a spaceship arrives with a visitor. Arco gradually learns about the surrounding world and his world from this, and many other, visitors.
A lot of simulation games lack an overreaching narrative as you are left to craft your own world and dictate your own story. There’s actually a fun story present in Deiland. It uses a few devices to drive it forward. Eerie dreams encroach at night. A unique cast divulging through dialogue. And an ancient book which you piece together page by page. All in all, the story was relevant to the setting and did a decent job making you care about the young Prince and his tiny planet. The only drawback from this narrative style was the lack of control over customizing your character. You can pick which stats you increase when levelling up, but you cannot choose gender or appearance.
Caretaker of your Own World
Whenever I review games like Deiland, I pay close attention to the gameplay loop. Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition is a farming simulation game with light RPG elements. You have an entire planet to yourself to design with limited customization. Your home, fishing pond and farm are designated to specific areas. There’s not a ton of freedom in where you can place things but that didn’t stop the gameplay loop from being addictive. You grow crops, harvest trees and mine rocks. Mining was my primary source of income. Four seasons affect the small world with a day/night cycle. There are only seven days per season. As listed in the title, Pocket Planet, it’s little wonder why this is a micro slice-of-life experience.
Deiland: Pocket Planet is meant to be a relaxing jaunt, making it ideal for handheld sessions on the Switch. I cleared the game in roughly ten hours. You aren’t required to water crops and you can ignore visitors by not allowing them to land on your planet. You can take things as fast or as slow as you would like. Some quests required me to plant during Winter so I had to wait a full year before completing them.
There are few things that punish you in Deiland. Neglecting to eat and keep your hunger meter in check would suck away your hit-points, but never enough to cause a problem. Occasionally meteors would show up and you have to rotate the planet to determine where they land. This can have an adverse effect if you accidentally burn down your entire forest and don’t have rare seeds to regrow certain trees. At random times, monsters will turn up. They never caused a problem and were easy to dispatch.
As addictive as the gameplay can be, there were times when it felt thin. In order to unlock new recipes, you need to complete quests for your friends. A lot of the game was just waiting around for the right person or creature to show up. Some items you need come from monsters during combat. Since they seldom spawn, you can go a few in game years without getting what you need. There were a few quests where I just bought the item from the quest-giver to turn around and return it.
Love Makes the World Go Round
The use of a spherical space was quite unique. When you move Arco around, the globe moves beneath you. It’s a cool effect and made it possible to get to various places regardless of where you currently stood. When I first started playing, I expected to get lost often but that was rarely a problem. A faded arrow always points the quickest way back to your home and you can press ‘X’ to zoom out and enjoy your world from afar while locating what you need. This mechanic also comes in handy for directing visitors where to land and in avoiding meteors. The rest of the graphics are cartoony and suit the setting and story well. The art and story meshed well to give the impression of classic fairytale.
Likewise, the music backed up the fairytale setting. Songs weren’t overimposing and only played on occasion. They always matched the tempo of the game and the relaxed setting. I loved the background sound effects. From the chirping bugs to the wind chimes and rushing waters. It was very peaceful and therapeutic to play at times.
Beware the Spiders
I found a lot of bugs during my review of Deiland: Pocket Planet. Both intentional, ones that had to be vanquished to keep my planet safe, and others less so. It seemed like every time I sat down to play Deiland, I ran into a technical problem. A few of them hindered my progress to a great degree.
For example, when you first meet the pirate, you’re supposed to get shot once and then you begin a dialogue with him. In my case, the dialogue never triggered and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Fighting was impossible because his ship flew overhead. I ran around my entire planet for nearly thirty minutes trying to stay alive at the unfair bombardment. I eventually got so upset I turned off the game. When I came back, the pirate was still there but one shot got us back on track.
This type of issue happened repeatedly. A door failed to open on the final boss’ spaceship. The planet I visited with Mun didn’t load. Unfortunately the list goes on. Usually rebooting solved the problem but it certainly mired my impression of the game.
Deiland: Pocket Planet is a charming micro farming adventure. Its ambience is unique and creative. The story, characters and world cultivate a relaxing landscape for players. The experience is short lived however, with little replay value and few customization options. The frequent technical spouts hammer an otherwise alluring game. If you’re a fan of slice-of-life farming sims, then there’s still unique elements worth checking out.
- Creative Design
- Charming Characters
- Peaceful Journey
- Too Many Bugs
- A Lot of Waiting
- Thin Combat