I recently became aware of the PlayStation Talent program in Spain whilst I was reviewing Timothy vs. the Aliens. Since then, I’ve decided to keep an eye on games emerging from the program as there is a load of great games getting released. In a few weeks, we should hopefully get Flynn & Freckles and a few weeks ago we got Deiland – Harvest ‘Moon’ in the literal sense! Originally a mobile game on iOS and Android, Chibig have created an enhanced version of their extremely popular space-farming game on PS4 whilst also placing it on Kickstarter for a PC version (exactly the same as what Timothy vs the Aliens is doing). So, what we have here is a game with a story based heavily on the children’s storybook ‘The Little Prince’, and Harvest Moon – all whilst you currently reside on a tiny planet.
The story is a kind of generic one but with its own twist on things. The universe created a child, name Arco, and sent him down to his own dwarf planet, named Deiland, in order to awaken the rare and valuable Crystal deep within its core. Arco is our protagonist and it’s your job to not only grow your own food and forest your own lumber but also interact with various alien life forms who will regularly stop by in order to say hello and give you quests. You begin with the bare essentials but over time, you will learn how to create more advanced tools, cook better food, create rare materials, and even put together magical potions.
As the story progresses, you will meet new and exciting people, venture to another world, and even make friends with a crafty feline! But not everything is smooth sailing – creatures will attack your harvest, meteors will fall from the sky, you can accidentally walk too close to your crops/trees with a torch and set them ablaze, and you may even have to fend off a pirate or two! The life of a small prince who is trying to conceal his identity and location is never an easy one and is always full of surprises and excitement.
The gameplay mechanics are nice and simple and will be natural to anyone who has played a farming sim such as Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley before. After an initial tutorial – in which you are forced to create certain things – you are left with free-reign to do whatever you wish. As the planet is only small, you have three patches of land in which you can harvest crops (although you need wells before you can use two of them). You can plant trees in order to either chop them down for wood or simply wait for them to fully grow and drop more seeds for you to plant, go fishing, or mine for stone.
I’m not going to lie – the first few hours can get a bit monotonous as you will be spending the majority of your energy each day harvesting or gathering resources with the odd visit from an alien here or there. However, once you start fulfilling requests (usually they give you a recipe and tell you to make it for them – or they ask for X amount of something) and you gain the ability to create better tools and farm different seeds, it gets a lot more interesting. Not only will you soon be fishing on a pier, mining in a cave, planting various trees, or turning ores into valuable minerals, but you’ll also be able to visit another planet and make some new friends over there as well.
As the game was originally a mobile port, the mobile game was based on microtransactions and wait timers – this game has no microtransactions but the wait timers are present. Don’t worry though, they aren’t anything crazy! You may have to wait about 8 minutes for a certain crop to grow or wait a few minutes for a fish to appear but that’s it. In terms of the crops, you can build wells and throw water on them to speed up the growth timer and then when it rains, you can direct the rain to the well in order to refill it.
What I found really interesting about Deiland was the encounters you have with the aliens as they all have their own personality and even accents to some extent – you don’t hear them talk but the way the words have been typed out allows you to imagine how they are saying it in your head. One thing I should point out here is that there are some grammatical errors in the text – it’s nothing major but every now and again you do see sentences with the wrong tense or the wrong spelling of a word. This is just because the developers are from Spain and are only small so have probably done a lot of the translating themselves.
Returning to the characters though, each alien has it’s own speciality, one will deal in metals and gems, one does the cooking, one does magic, and later on, you even encounter one who rides a giant insect. Everyone has tasks for you to do and they will give you different rewards based on what they want you to do. Some will even reward you with new building structures such as the sheep barn or some may just give you the ability to plant cherry trees or fish for salmon. This makes every encounter fun and exciting as you never know what you’re going to get next.
Another great feature is the zoom-out mode. Because you are on a tiny planet, you can hit Triangle and you will see a zoomed out view of the planet which allows you to rotate much quicker and see things live as they move – so if you’re looking for a mushroom or even an enemy, this makes it much easier. This mechanic is also used when it both rains and you have a meteor strike. With the rain, you can move the planet and guide the rain where you want it and with the meteors, you can move the planet so they don’t smash anything.
The first thing that drew me towards this game was the art style and the overall graphical design – It’s not photo-realistic yet it looks beautiful and adorable. Everything is stylised and brightly coloured with its own particular look – everything from the different spaceships you encounter, the creatures who attack you, the plants you have grown, and the people you meet – they all look amazing. I’ve downloaded the iOS version of the game and you can see the similarities but after playing it on PS4, I can’t see myself playing it too much on the mobile (sorry guys!). However, I would love it if you brought Ankora over to the PS4 as well!!
The sound design is delightful – the music does loop a bit but it’s calm and relaxing and fits the tone perfectly – I found myself jumping into Deiland for about 30-60 minutes a day over the last few weeks but I can see you putting a lot more than that into it if you wish to get through it faster, I was just trying to make it last longer as I don’t want it to end.
Deiland is an adorable little farming simulator which will appeal to lovers of games such as Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley. The game does have it’s fair share of monotonous grinding/farming for resources so you can sell them for money in order to buy more things – so whether you’ll like it will probably come down to if you like simulation games like this. Other than the aforementioned titles, Deiland is a great farming simulator on the PS4 which is accessible by people of all ages as there isn’t anything too difficult involved. Seriously, I am loving all these great games coming from the PlayStation Talents program – they are definitely something to keep your eye on.
**A code for the game was kindly provided by the Developer for review purposes**
- Art style and music fit perfectly
- Hours of gameplay as you help everyone out whilst farming
- Great update over the mobile version
- Accessible by people of all ages
- There are some bugs and trophy issues (the developer is actively fixing all the issues they are told about)
- Can be a bit monotonous at the beginning
- That damn Bom keeps stealing all my food!