Thursday, 16 August 2018 09:00

Deiland Review

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Chibig’s Deiland is an action RPG with farming simulator elements that takes place on a planet so petite that the horizon will roll as you explore from one end to the other. On the surface, Deiland promises heartachingly charming animations and an engaging story with a character that’s easy to love. Under the hood, Deiland falls short in every category, ultimately delivering a title that is moderately enjoyable to play, but with no real identifiable or memorable traits.

Welcome to Deiland

You’re Arco, a young boy who’s arrived on the planet Deiland, and who’s tasked with not only providing for himself, but providing for and protecting the mysterious planet he now calls home. The planet is extremely small, both in lore and in reality, and you’re able to traverse its length as it swivels under your feet in just a few moments. You’re first approached by Mûn, an explorer that’s part of the Interstellar Patrol, as she guides you in your initial steps towards colonizing Deiland for — well, just for yourself, really. Deiland is no stranger to mystery, and as Arco himself has no recollection of who he is or why he’s there, that leaves plenty of room for a story to be developed as you play.

The primary driver is the arrival of merchants and strangers to the planet on ships, which you must manually direct and command to land. These people will often bring with them items for you to buy, a chance to sell your own items, and, most importantly, quests that will move Deiland forward. Unfortunately, these people arrive seemingly at random, and sometimes you’ll have a visitor that will literally have nothing to offer you, forcing you to wait for the next cycle to see if you’ll get something that’s hopefully a little better.

Don’t Starve (Don’t Worry, Though — You Won’t)

Deiland employs several mechanics which have a great deal of potential, but which fall short of impressing. For instance, you need to keep an eye on Arco, as he does have stats that you need to take care of to ensure he runs like clockwork. He gains experience as he mines, farms, and otherwise, but he also loses energy, becomes hungry, and has a health bar. When you level up Arco, you’ll be given options for giving him minor buffs to things like his strength in combat or his prices with merchants. These buffs have no depth, and don’t seem to affect gameplay very much.

To regain energy, simply send Arco to bed. He has a cabin where energy can be regained, and you’ll need to rejuvenate him frequently as most of the activities you’ll have him perform will deplete his energy. Hunger is even simpler. Just feed Arco. The farming simulation aspect of Deiland provides Arco with food and supplies that will sustain him and offer crafting opportunities for better items and quest completion.

Carrots and Combat

The farming simulation side of Deiland is what you’ll be spending most of your time on, and because real-world time is used to measure when your crops are ready, and that real-world time is not counted when you’re logged off, it can be a serious drag to have to wait for your crops to finish spawning so you can make just a handful of the initial ingredients you need for a more important item. Three basic fertile soil patches are what you’ll have to work with, at least at the start, so you can count on only being able to grow three staple crops at a time. Watering these crops will help them to finish faster, but there’s still an unenviable time grind awaiting you.

Occasionally, you’ll be warned of a monster spawn, and you’ll be encouraged to venture off to your potential doom to take care of the threat. Fortunately, it’s never really much of a threat. Monsters grow in variety as time progresses, but there’s no actual combat system in place other than hammering a button, although magic does become an option later in the story. Monsters will also threaten your crops, and you’ll have to deal with things like meteor showers that could set all of your hard work on fire in an instant.

Upgrades and Buildings

You’ll be able to access more buildings and items the more quests you do, and you have the ability to upgrade your house, as well. Upgrading your house will give you perks like a workshop and a laboratory — places that you’ll need to start thinking about to make certain items you’ll need for quests right off the bat. Upgrading your house does feel good, but getting the materials to do so can be a headache. You’ll need to mine rocks and chop trees in addition to growing crops, and since specific items only potentially drop from mining (like metal and gold), you could be standing there banging away at the same rock, which conveniently never changes, for many days at a time.

Deiland’s gameplay is supported by heartwarming art and gentle background music that keep the atmosphere casual and low-stress — even when monsters (which are adorable) are attacking. There’s a tremendous amount of potential for this indie, but as it currently stands, its many and varied parts have no particular strengths in any of them, and therefore everything is relatively bland. The world may be beautiful, and it may be small, but for now it’s strikingly empty.


The Verdict: Average

Deiland, charming and adorably animated as it is, travels at a glacial pace that will quickly lose the interest of hungrier gamers. As a casual farming simulator, it’s mildly satisfying, but getting to the more complex and interesting tidbits of this title takes a mind-numbing time grind that most players will, likely, politely decline.

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Taryn Ziegler

Taryn is a digital content strategist with an avid appetite for literature and gaming. She graduated from the University of Washington Bothell with a degree in Culture, Literature, and the Arts, and since then has been engaged in copywriting for businesses from AutoNation to DirtFish Rally School. While she'll happily play most games set in front of her, Taryn heartily prefers a good ol' turn-based strategy RPG, such as Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and Divinity: Original Sin.


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