There are a lot of farming simulation games on the market nowadays. And to be honest I’m not the biggest fan of them mostly because I believe they can be a big-time sink. When I saw Chibig‘s Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition on Nintendo’s eShop I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the one that required minimally day-to-day hands-on gameplay to succeed. I couldn’t be convicted of being wrong if solely based on the game’s title and the game’s screenshots which is a tiny rotating planet you can along on. Unfortunately, the cuteness of the presentation faded after a few hours of play. Welcome to our Nintendo Switch review of Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition!
At face value Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition, or as we’ll call it DPP, reminded me a bit of a lite-version of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It seemed like it could provide cute graphics, some gathering, crafting, farming, bits of combat, and some RPG elements. And it does try to do all those things. In fact, story-wise DPP is a very family-friendly game. In the early play, it delivered almost everything I was looking for in this type of game. There wasn’t a lot of a background story to buy into and very little hand-holding. I was given a few quests and off I went.
While it was all fun initially I soon fell into a state of frustration at times and then recovered only to then start feeling like the game was becoming tedious. For example, quests are occasionally delivered by visitors to your planet. Not only do they visit out of the blue but you have like only thirty seconds to find them a parking space no matter what you’re in the middle of doing. You then get them landed safely only to find they landed just to tell you they don’t have anything new to tell you.
The game is also based on seasons like many of these simulators so the game can be forgiven for that design decision. But because of this, you’ll sometimes find yourself short on resources. For example, wood with no trees on your tiny little planet left to chop. You’ll have seeds you can use to plant some trees but oh wait you’re in the wrong season to plant trees. At one point I had nothing better to do but collect like 300 stone blocks and a boatload of mushrooms because my quest log was halted as I needed wood to craft an item to advance. You can only do so much breaking of stone before it becomes “not fun”. I had stepped away from the game for a few days at one point to attend to other gaming matters. When I came back I forgot how to tell a visitor to “land”. It got to the point I had several visitors not landing because I couldn’t tell them to touchdown. This all led to going back to breaking rocks.
Other shortcomings include dialogues that pop up and disappear before you can read them since the “A” button is the same control for breaking/gathering as well as confirming dialogue. Early on it also becomes easy to exhaust resources and hard to make money selling things. This leaves you poor and selling rocks and mushrooms using an interface that only allows you to sell one at a time.
Another example of the interface that is occasionally lacking occurred when I accidentally created a fire pit in the middle of one of my fields. I had no way to undo it or remove it. Every time I went to plant something or harvest something from that field I had to avoid lighting the unlit fire pit.
I really wanted to enjoy Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition to the fullest especially since I was the instigator in requesting a review copy. And clearly, once you get past the occasional resource hurdles in your quest log the game does everything one could hope for in a short attention span “farming simulator pocket edition”. The game can be absorbed in small doses as a plus but I fear after you encounter some of the balancing issues you won’t want to come back.