Disney Dreamlight Valley Review – A Whole New World

A Detailed Review Of The Disney And Pixar Life Sim Extravaganza, Disney Dreamlight Valley

The Life-sim genre in Video Games has continuously aimed to provide the most comforting and laid-back experience for gamers, which is easily apparent from titles such as The Sims or Animal Crossing. It is a genre that aims to appeal to its fanbase and people interested in that specific category of games by creating casual and extremely laid-back adventures. Similarly, Disney Dreamlight Valley is a farming Life-sim that lets you experience adventures with iconic Pixar and Disney characters, so we have put together a review for it to see if it is worth diving into or not.

The game is set to release next year in 2023 as a free-to-play title, but players can opt to purchase it right now in early access to get a head start. The developers at Gameloft have stated that the game will support a live-service format where they will gradually add free content through major updates, introducing new quests, items, mechanics, and more for its player base.

The gameplay is a hybrid between Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, where you can partake in the usual life-sim mechanics but the unique selling point of this game are all the fictional characters from your childhood. So without further delay, let’s discuss everything that you need to know so far about the game in its early stages in our Disney Dreamlight Valley review.

Story And Setting

Disney Dreamlight Valley Story
The Story

This magical journey begins with you, the player, wanting to leave the strenuous life of the City to live far away on a colorful and remote island. It doesn’t go too deep into details or logic because, at the end of the day, the game provides a whimsical adventure where you can meet your favorite characters.

One of these is Merlin the Wizard from The Sword In The Stone, who will introduce and welcome players to the Dreamlight Village on their arrival. He will fill you in on the details that the entire place has been plagued and seized by a dark and corrupted evil known as the “Forgetting’. Simply put, one can consider it as the usual plot device that will allow players to pursue and unlock different forgotten parts of the map to continue the mainline quests and progression.

The forgotten has spread throughout these different areas, even the starting point in the tutorial, so you must cleanse these locations to access them freely and interact with the lands. Furthermore, as you progress through the narrative, you will discover more iconic characters from your favorite childhood shows or movies which will shed more light on what’s happening in the world. The locations are all designed and based on the worlds of these characters, like the snowy locale mimicking Arendelle from Frozen.

Merlin DDV
Merlin The Wizard

Among these characters, you will be able to interact with the legendary trio of Mickey Mouse, Donald, and Goofy. Players can converse with them for objectives or small-talk with three different dialogue options that you can pick, which progresses your relationship with them. Not to mention there are also other characters such as Anna from Frozen and Remy from Ratatouille who all remain true to their personas in their films, such as Remy acting as the head chef in the village.

I loved the idea of incorporating Disney characters into the world, which makes the game feel unique from other titles in the same genre. As a fan of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, it feels wonderful to be able to live out a charming lifestyle amongst my favorite characters from famous cartoons. There are a great number of easter eggs and references that I found while exploring the world for my Disney Dreamlight Valley review, which was a surprise for sure, but a welcome one for any fan getting to play the game.

Wall E DDV
Wall-E in Disney Dreamlight Valley

Many of these easter eggs are callbacks to the characters, correlating to their shows or movies, while some are simply their signature tunes that will play in a remixed design to tug at your nostalgia as you are exploring parts of the Island and village.

Whether it’s the first time meeting the adorable Robot, Wall-E, or gossiping with Moana at the Beachside, the story and setting of this game are nothing short of a purely joyful experience that most Disney fans will absolutely adore.

Gameplay

Disney Dreamlight Valley Review
The Gameplay

Disney Dreamlight Valley has a variety of systems in place to keep its players entertained as they farm, build and live their lives in the village. From foraging and crafting valuable resources, to catching bugs and fish, as well as growing your bonds with the NPCs. There is so much depth to how you can spend your time leisurely immersing yourself in your avatar’s life in the town. I was able to reach the limit of the Story Quest for now, which will be expanded and updated with the passage of time. Aside from that, let’s briefly discuss some of the key aspects that I saw in my Disney Dreamlight Valley Review.

You can freely customize your avatar using any means, from their hair to their skin and other features at the character creation screen. And later on, you can edit them in-game too. You can browse through the shops in the market to purchase new clothing items to help them stand out, many of which include thematic items from the various Disney universes, which are pretty awesome since they refresh and alternate in stock.

Disney Dreamlight Valley Review
The Dreamlight Currency In The Log Book

However, we first need to talk about how you acquire the means of purchasing these clothing items. Among many other things beneficial for your regular lifestyle in the game, Disney Dreamlight Valley uses two types of currencies; Gold coins and Dream Shards. There are different methods and ways to obtain or earn both of these.

Players can earn gold coins in huge quantities simply by either removing thorns from Forgotten areas or even by fishing rare aquatic animals. Generally, you will want to focus on selling the rare gems in your inventory, which can be a random drop or reward in the world. Furthermore, you can craft high-rated food dishes to earn coins, and the recipes for these dishes can be mostly found by helping characters such as Remy.

Meanwhile, Dream Shards can be obtained by completing different milestones associated with your character and the main system ofprogression, which can be easily tracked via the log book. You are also able to earn these simply by completing your daily chores or by helping characters out in the world.

Scrooge McDuck
The Friendship System

Speaking of which, throughout the game, you will be able to participate in relationship growth activities with the various characters of the village. Reaching a certain threshold in their friendship status will reward players with different stat boosts, items, and accessories for your Avatar. The game provides quite a few ways to boost the progression, as you can invite characters out for fishing or gardening and even gift them their favorite items. These items refresh on a daily basis so keep that in mind if you are looking to grow your bonds with them.

The game is much more open-ended than other titles similar to it, such as Animal Crossing, where the key differences are that your tools will never break and the watering can doesn’t have to be refilled again to use it. You are also able to instantly access purchased items or new furniture inside the game instead of having to wait for the next day. The only exception is that the game still plays out on a real-time basis, meaning if it is nighttime in the real world, then it will be the exact same scenario in-game. This can be a minor headache, especially for people who are only able to play during certain time periods or schedules.

You are able to grow your own garden to facilitate basic needs such as growing fruits or vegetables and selling them in the market or using them in your recipes. Crafting an entire house plays a pivotal role as the game offers many customizable options, such as furniture, which further branches out into essential items such as ovens or fireplaces to decorate or help make each room stand out.

Disney Dreamlight Valley Review
Fishing and Mining in the World

Lastly, a stamina system comes into play for your character as it determines how much you can do in a single day. However, this can be easily negated by consuming berries or other food items, which will allow you to squeeze in a few more tasks or chores. These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the seamless creativity available in the game right now and the Quality-Of-life features. Here’s to hoping Gameloft will strive to maintain this feasibility as the game receives new features and mechanics towards its official release in the coming year.

Overall, there is enough content here that it will satisfy any gamer looking to invest their time in a title with a similar system of progression to something like Stardew Valley. The tasks and Main Quests are pretty basic in structure, and you do not have to do anything complex to complete them. The variety of customization options is exciting, and being able to spend most of your time socializing with different NPCs of the Disney and Pixar verse is sure to entice any fan to try it out. The only hindrance that I faced was the game not guiding me on what to do next, so more often than not, you yourself will have to figure out where to go, or which activity to prioritize next.

Visuals And Performance

Dreamlight Valley Visuals
The Visuals & Performance

Disney Dreamlight Valley is a sight for sore eyes as each part of the Island and Village is intricately designed with various hub areas that will slowly unlock as you progress throughout the game. It uses a cartoonish engine that is going to be really appealing to all sorts of ages, and does well to bring these fictional characters alive.

The lush environment and rich textures are gorgeously rendered, and it almost feels like a AAA video game at times. From cozy cottages taken straight out of Snow White to the breathtaking scenery of the Castle in Cinderella, there are layers upon layers of charm hidden under every corner of Dreamlight Island.

In terms of performance, we would highly recommend investing in either the console or PC ports and avoiding the Nintendo Switch version for now. This is because the game suffers from frame rate drops and occasionally seems to stutter in the more dense areas, making it hard to play smoothly.

Aside from that, Disney Dreamlight Valley is perfectly optimized so that even lower-end systems can easily run it at applicable settings for optimal and smooth performance. There are little to no issues or bugs that I experienced during my time with the game, so you should be able to enjoy it without any interruptions or roadblocks.

Disney Dreamlight Valley Verdict

Dreamlight Valley verdict
The Verdict

Whether it’s nostalgia or simply the fact that you want another life-sim to immerse yourself in, Disney Dreamlight Valley is the ideal title that you should check out to fulfill those desires. The game might be in its early stages, but there is enough here to scratch the itch of grinding and growing your own home and lifestyle within this fascinating world

There are tons of activities that will overwhelm you during the beginning hours of the game, but as basic as they may be, the game will find many ways to add a layer of charm to them. It can come in the form of helping the Little Chef from Ratatouille with his cooking tasks or helping Mickey Mouse himself investigate occurrences happening due to the ‘Forgetting’ plague. With a few more tweaks made to the progression and incentives, it will easily be able to surpass the competition in the genre until the official 1.0 release.

Overall, the game is definitely worth checking if you’re looking for something light-hearted to play and immerse yourself in for a couple of hours, or if you simply want to spend time interacting with your favorite childhood characters from both the old and new generations of Disney.

This wraps up our Disney Dreamlight Valley Review. We hope that it helps you decide whether or not you want to invest your time in this game until it is fully released next year. The title is available right now on Xbox Systems as well as the PS5, PS4, Switch, and PC via Steam.

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Disney Dreamlight Valley Review
Overall
4
  • Gameplay
  • Controls
  • UI
  • Story

Verdict

Whether it’s nostalgia or simply the fact that you want another life-sim to immerse yourself in, Disney Dreamlight Valley is the ideal title that you should check out to fulfill those desires.

Pros

  • Imaginative Storytelling.
  • Cheerful Cast Of Characters.
  • Great Customization Options.
  • Joyful Quests And Tasks.
  • Free Of Microtransactions So Far.

Cons

  • Clunky Controls.
  • Simplistic Progression.
  • Lack Of Save File Slots.

Matt Hunter


With four years of experience as a tech writer on a multitude of websites, Matt Hunter currently reports to eXputer with the latest in gaming.

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