I haven’t played a farming sim that started off by hurtling the protagonist down to a secluded planet in a special crystal before, but that’s EXACTLY how Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition begins the player’s journey. Taking on the role of a young lad named Arco, you inhabit the titular planet of Deiland and set off into a life of farming, with the many visitors that make a stop on your new home helping flesh out the narrative and the mysteries that lay across your planet (and the many more around you).
Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition’s core gameplay loop revolves around living your life on the small planet, with the player able to do a bit of farming, create new structures, craft items, go fishing, complete quests, and even beat up any hostiles that decide to step foot on your land. In many ways, it just feels like your traditional farming sim, though the unique Mario Galaxy-style of planet you inhabit does add an appreciated twist to the formula.
For the most part, there’s a lot of busy work to be done as you progress through the game and expand your planet, with the aforementioned quests playing a big role in this. You’ll occasionally get visits from other characters, with each landing on your planet, sharing a small interaction, and then tasking you with doing *something*. It might be a case of crafting an item or simply gathering resources; either way, they add an incentive to your day-to-day tasks in Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition and will certainly keep you busy.
Completing the quests was the most enjoyable aspect of the game, with it encouraging me to play in a specific way where I was working towards a set goal – there’s a lot of freedom in the game and it could be a little overwhelming deciding what do, so it adds a bit of a purpose to your actions. However, the game isn’t always forthcoming in detail as to how you can actually complete each task, with some of the items you need to find only being available in certain seasons, requiring you to defeat specific enemies, or only able to be crafted when you have the right tools at your disposal. Of course, this is something that can encourage player discovery and experimentation, but it would have been nice to have had a little bit more direction.
The sporadic and random nature of the visits could halt your progression through the game too, and often left me stuck in the same routine as I awaited a new character’s arrival. I’ll admit, I am nit-picking a bit with this – especially since I enjoyed the casual nature of the day-to-day farming of the game – but Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition was always at its best when my actions had a purpose.
As you complete quests you’ll level up, with the player able to improve things such as their health, stamina, speed, and attacking capabilities. It’s something that isn’t typically present in the farming genre, so it was nice to have some RPG-like mechanics tied to the game where you continually develop your character the further you progress.
Whilst health, stamina, and speed can prove especially useful when performing your day-to-day tasks, your attacking capabilities are most significant when facing off against enemies. It turns out your planet isn’t always the safest, whether that’s because of the creatures that also inhabit it or because of unwelcome invaders. Either way, players are expected to defend themselves, but this is where Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition can falter a little. There wasn’t much to combat outside of running around to avoid attacks and occasionally mashing the attack button to deal out some damage of your own. It just felt a little bit underwhelming and lacked the excitement to make battles feel like more than a chore.
At least everything else in the game is satisfying though, whether that is when customising the planet, doing a bit of farming, or even protecting the planet from meteors (which you do by rotating your planet to ensure they don’t hit any of your structures). Whilst everything in the game is pretty simple in design, I couldn’t help but to find myself addicted to the gameplay loop and utterly invested into making my planet thrive. It was always nice to get upgrades for my tools to make farming life easier, whilst venturing outside of your own planet added a nice twist to the formula too.
It’s relaxing and never grows too strenuous, and believe me, there’s PLENTY of space for games like that in my life. There’s no need to plot out every individual aspect of the farm or micro-manage your schedule to adhere to seasonal restrictions… it’s farming in the most casual of forms (and I mean that in a good way – I spent plenty of hours playing whilst listening to podcasts or putting up with my other half’s TV shows). On the flip-side, it might not offer enough depth to really catch the interest of those well versed in the farming genre, so your enjoyment of the game will ultimately come down to what you hope to get from it.
Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition is a lot simpler than other titles in the farming genre, but its casual approach to gameplay was still easy to invest myself in – even if the quests could lack direction and the battling proved to be a bit dull. There’s just something about the day-to-day tasks of the game that felt so addictive, whilst building my farmland on the planet and seeing it thrive was equally rewarding.
For better or worse, there’s a lot less depth than that seen in the likes of Story of Seasons or Stardew Valley, but that doesn’t mean its farming experience is any less fun. If you’re looking for a charming title that won’t test your mettle too much, Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition is a lovely little farming-sim that’s worth a try.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC
Click here to visit the official website.