Video games

Our first impression of ‘Disney Dreamlight Valley’: Making my own magical neighborhood

My weekend with an imaginative new game.

(Featured Image Source: © Disney. © Disney/Pixar. © 2022 Gameloft)

(Early preview copy provided by publisher)

Calling myself a Disney & Pixar fan is an understatement. Daring heroes, legendary villains, and memorable adventures, I have always been captivated by the worlds and characters they create. Disney Dreamlight Valley appealed to me as another way to experience my fandom. A fun-looking life simulator where you live life alongside iconic characters. I knew it had to be something I tried.

Little did I know that it would pull me into a magical world!

Disney Dreamlight Valley is developed and published by Gameloft. In it, players take to exploring a magic-filled world, building and living beside Disney and Pixar heroes and villains, and helping it recover from an evil blight called the “Forgetting.”

Think Animal Crossing, but your neighbors are Moana and Scrooge McDuck.

Using the game’s character creation system, I made my avatar and took to gathering supplies (plants, ore, fish, and more). Unlike most survival games, supplies felt abundant. Their respawn times were quick. Hopping between fishing and tending to crops kept me constantly engaged, only stopped by the size of my inventory, though it can be expanded. The regular tendency for farm/survival game burnout wasn’t present, that part where you could say you were done for now because there nothing left to get or check. It creates a very relaxing system where the choice to play was my own. Gaming sessions could be as long as I want, and that made it even more fun!

The materials gathered can be used to craft items and food. I traded my crafts to finish missions, with excess materials being used to fulfill the requests of Mickey Mouse (this game’s Tom Nook) for the in-game currency. The mission system is useful and easy to understand. Completing missions to earn Dreamlight & unlock additional buildings and new neighbors. Travel to different worlds to recruit characters and have them come back to the valley. Each world was imaginative snippets of classic and recognizable Disney settings. The details made each one feel inviting, while their size had me wanting more.

Helping each character unlocks an appropriately themed reward or character: Mickey will unlock Minnie, Wall-e will unlock the valley garden, Remy will unlock the restaurant, and so on. Level up your relationships with the characters for even more collectibles!

The missions makes the game’s progression systems are straight forward, with subsequent missions taking a bit more effort each time. Missions also unlock themed items, with the game currently enjoying a Pixar fest. Additional awards being available to premium accounts and Dreamlight Valley’s monetization system that I didn’t find too intrusive. While certain themed items require higher amounts of Dreamlight, quite a lot of the cosmetic items, clothing, and expanding your house can be obtained through just playing the game.

You use in-game gold to expand your house, adding additional rooms to show off your collectibles!

With a fun setting and engrossing gameplay loop, the fun of Disney Dreamlight Valley is creating your own neighborhood of your favorite characters and locations, presented in an immensely cute and charming art style. I played on my PC and Steam Deck, and while the game looked great, it would have moments where the graphics would have to catch up. Not a major problem and something that will more than likely be fixed through updates and patches, but it did make for awkward moments and a few graphical hiccups.

If you’re a fan of Disney or life simulation games, I highly recommend it!

© Disney. © Disney/Pixar. © 2022 Gameloft.

Disney Dreamlight Valley is available now for the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, and PC via the Epic Game Store & Steam. It is included in Xbox Game Pass.

(Preview copy provided by publisher)

Like anime? Anime NYC powered by Crunchyroll 2022 is set for November 18-20th! Check out the official site to grab your ticket, learn more about exhibitors & attending guests, and what awaits you at Anime NYC!

And stay tuned to Nerdier Tides as we get you ready for it!

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