By Adele Chapline Smith | Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — Inspired by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved 1943 novella “The Little Prince,” “Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition” (Chibig) is a charming and imaginative sci-fi-tinged farming simulator.
Although free of any genuinely objectionable content, magical flourishes within its plot make this a potentially confusing choice for impressionable players.
Like Saint-Exupéry’s royal lad, the protagonist here, a young boy named Arco, finds himself alone on a tiny planet, the orb from which the game takes its title. A series of visitors, whom he gladly befriends, teach Arco how to craft useful items, till the land, cook and fight monsters.
Behind the daily tasks looms a fanciful story line about princes sent out across the galaxy to protect minor worlds and awaken the crystal heart in each one’s core. Arco and his peers also are charged with shielding these precious minerals from forces seeking to exploit their power.
Arco’s positive and generous personality — he’s eager to help all those he encounters and willingly undertakes quests to assist them — constitutes one of the most appealing elements of “Deiland.”
In addition to the other skills he acquires, Arco learns to fish. To do so successfully, however, gamers controlling him must push the correct button at just the right time, a tricky maneuver that might prove frustrating for youngsters.
Since each of Arco’s crops can be planted only at a particular time, players will need to be strategic during growing seasons to ensure that they stockpile enough supplies for the colder months. Other challenges include the advent of meteorites, storms, hurricanes and shooting stars — all of which require appropriate action on the part of gamers in response.
Arco’s battles against his nonhuman opponents are thoroughly stylized and the game’s fantasy ingredients are similar to those found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. The attribution of mystical qualities to minerals, however, which vaguely echoes New Age-style rigamarole, may be of concern to at least some parents.
Older kids unlikely to be affected by such details as well as their elders will find this a relaxing and peaceful experience. As players set their own unhurried pace, moreover, they’ll have time to appreciate the beautiful artwork of the environment within which Arco’s adventures unfold.
Playable on Nintendo Switch.
The game contains cartoonish combat and fantasy magic. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. Not rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Smith reviews video games for Catholic News Service.