DEILAND: POCKET PLANET REVIEW (SWITCH)
A crystal crash-lands on the minor planet Deiland, and out of that crystal comes Arco – a 10 year old boy who must defend the island’s fauna and flora from monsters. To survive on this tiny planet Arco must harvest crops, grow trees, mine for valuable ores, craft useful tools, become a chef and evolve into an alchemist. Arco isn’t completely alone in his mission though: various inhabitants of space land on your planet to give you chores to do and to trade resources. The most important one is Mun, who works for the space police. She’s investigating your appearance on Deiland and wants to protect you from all things mischievous and evil.
Deiland makes every attempt to trick you into thinking it’s a farming sim but it’s actually an RPG with a strong emphasis on resource management. Every action you perform uses resources. At the bottom is stamina which you use to plant seeds, dig up plants, chop wood, fish, and mine ore. This gives you XP and resources to either sell to NPCs or to craft items they have asked you to build/bake/brew. This gives you more XP, money to spend on resources, and levelling up generally pushes the story forward. You do this for several more hours until the credits roll.
Monsters will invade the planet which Arco will need to kill for XP and resources. They’re not a threat to either Arco or to Deiland as they won’t attack unless disturbed, and they never seemed to endanger the crops or the animals living on it. The combat is seriously underdeveloped and unsatisfactory too. Much in common with its solution to grinding, combat is a simple tapping task until the enemy dies.
The most disappointing part of Deiland is the lack of customisation. Arco has an entire planet to himself and nothing to really do on it. As you spend so much time smashing rocks for XP and waiting around for NPCs to visit it would have been awesome to be able to flesh out the planet and make it feel like home. Unfortunately, you can’t expand your farm or introduce more than sheep and chickens to your planet, and you can only decorate Deiland with a couple of torches and statues. You can’t craft clothes or change Arco’s hair colour. You can’t express any creativity or make Deiland your own little world. Deiland is full of ideas that have only been met half way, and its evident from start to finish.
Should you play it? No!
Why… Deiland isn’t a console experience. It wants to be a casual, relaxing pick-up-and-play but because of its clicky-clicky grinding mechanic it awkwardly lands in the shallow pool of mobile gaming. Every part of Deiland – from the planet to the story – feel half-baked and hasn’t been fully realised.
But… Due to its simplicity it’s a great stepping stone for anyone considering more complex farming sims or fully-fleshed RPGs, and despite lacking ambition it’s an enjoyable game.
Reviewed on Switch
Playable on: Switch
Released: 15th April, 2021