If you’re looking for your next cozy adventure game, Disney Dreamlight Valley is the game for you. This game is reminiscent of Animal Crossing, but with more narrative structure and the fun, unique addition of Disney characters. The title became available for early access on September 6, 2022, but is set to launch as a free-to-play title in 2023. Let’s jump into what this game is all about and why you should consider checking it out!
- What is Disney Dreamlight Valley? It’s a cozy, quest-centric adventure game that features Disney characters.
- Reviewed On: Twitch
- Price: $29.99
- Developer: Gameloft
- Publisher: Gameloft
- Release Date: Available for early access on September 6, 2022
- Website: https://disneydreamlightvalley.com
A Whole New World
The game opens with your character needing a break from your bustling life in the city. You decide to return to a quieter place from your past, where “as a child, you found life was simpler.” After falling asleep in the grass, you awake at nightfall in a mystical land covered in gnarled, purpled thorns (Night Thorns) and are greeted by resident wizard, Merlin.
Merlin shares with you that you’re in Dreamlight Valley, an idyllic land where Disney and Pixar characters lived in harmony under a supportive ruler. That is, until the Forgetting started and the rightful ruler disappeared.
Since then, Night Thorns have spread across the land and severed the memories that the characters had with the valley. Stricken with amnesia, the inhabitants of Dreamlight Valley returned back to their homelands, their portals locked behind the doors of the Dream Castle.
Now it’s up to you and your newfound magic (that’s right — you get your own magical abilities!) to bring the valley back to its former glory and help piece the characters’ memories back together so they can join you back in the valley!
Home Sweet Home
When you first arrive, you have two other village characters outside of Merlin — Scrooge McDuck and Goofy. Your first quests involve helping them get their respective shops set up. Once you’ve done that, you can start to purchase things from Scrooge and sell your produce to Goofy.
Using your magic, you can remove the Night Thorns that have sprung up all around the domain. Along the way, you can start collecting tools that will help you upgrade your harvesting abilities. Similar to Animal Crossing, you’ll have a shovel, fishing pole, watering can, and a mining pick to help break down rocks and collect gemstones. (These will come into play later when you need to start crafting things for friendship quests!)
The game does a great job of helping you understand the controls and learn basic skills, such as how to prepare food and what it looks like to collect memories to help combat The Forgetting. One of the first story quests you need to tackle is helping Merlin unlock the doors of the Dream Castle. Once you have that quest completed, you can start using the portals to different characters’ lands and invite them back to your valley.
Be Our Guest
On the ground floor, there are three portals you can choose to start with: Remy from Ratatouille, Wall-E, or Moana. We started out with Remy (my partner’s favorite Disney character), which transported us to his restaurant, Chez Remy, where we got to cook with him and learn new recipes.
By completing the quests for each character, you start the process of bringing back their memories, letting them move back to the valley with you. For example, Remy will open up his restaurant there to feed the other inhabitants of the valley. Once a character moves back into the valley, you can continue to bring back their memories by helping them with friendship quests and unlocking more skills.
A Friend Like Me
Eventually, you can unlock more portals and bring back more characters from beloved franchises. This includes heroes from Frozen and The Little Mermaid, traditional characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and fan-favorite villains like Scar, Ursula, and Mother Gothel. I personally think the villains add a fun layer to the game, but they may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
That said, there are benefits to bringing in a wide cast of characters. In addition to friendship quests, you can also build up your friendship with the characters by talking with them or doing errands for them. As your friendship evolves, you also receive cool character-specific items. You can even assign certain characters to be your companion for specific tasks. Moana can help you with fishing, for example, and Scar can help you with mining.
Unlocking the Magic Within
Customization is one of the biggest strengths Disney Dreamlight Valley offers, and it starts off immediately with avatar creation. The programmers did a great job including a diverse variety of culturally relevant hair styles, gender expressions, and body types, as well as including fun things like glitter, makeup and hair dye.
For outfits, there’s numerous options you can unlock, from ball gowns and Disney accessories like Maleficent’s horns and wings, all the way to cute standard attire like shorts and jumpsuits. Plus added accessories like jewelry, coats and shoes. There’s also an added level of fashion customization where you can design your own clothes after collecting Disney motifs.
This customization also extends to the valley and your home. You can elaborately design and decorate rooms in your house after purchasing items from Scrooge McDuck’s shop. While there are many specialized items organized by fandom, basics like wallpaper, rugs, and flooring options currently don’t come up as often in the shop. They’re also often busier designs, which can make it more challenging to design your home based on your aesthetic preference.
You also get to customize the valley itself. As more characters come back with you, the map grows to incorporate the new terrains they call home, such as a tundra for Frozen and a desert plateau for Scar. You can customize where these terrains are located, as well as having control over the city square, where buildings are located, and where you want to plant orchards or farming patches.
With there being so many things to do, from quests to customization, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. Fortunately, it’s easy to organize your quests, and none of them are time sensitive (even though some do build on others).
Overall, Disney Dreamlight Valley gives players plenty of activities to do, while also capturing the cozy elements that games like Animal Crossing and The Sims deliver. Together, this creates a satisfying game that will add a little bit of magic to your life.
Zoom Out: Verdict
For still being in early access, Disney Dreamlight Valley is a really solid, fun and delightful game to play. While some players have mentioned having a few technical bugs with character interaction when they’re in the water, there are remarkably few and far between. The plot, while a little predictable, is still enjoyable and the quests and activities are really fun and character-focused. It’s essentially everything you’d expect and want out of a Disney game.
- Fun quests
- Great customization options
- Cute character interactions
- Some bugs with characters (specifically movement in water)
- Lack of wallpaper and flooring designs
- Interactions with villains (if that’s not your thing)