Have you ever dreamed of traveling to a magical realm to help your favorite Disney characters fend off an evil force? If the answer to that alarmingly specific question was yes, then Disney Dreamlight Valley could be just the perfect game for you. From developer Gameloft, here you’ll act as a savior to the likes of Mickey, Goofy, Donald Duck, and more, all in a life simulation that borrows heavily from the likes of Animal Crossing and The Sims but does enough to separate it from its inspirations.
A nostalgia trip for Disney fans
Disney Dreamlight Valley plops players into the world of the titular Dreamlight Valley, a place where all their favorite Disney characters reside. However, not everything here is magical, as the world has been overtaken by thorns caused by the Forgetting. As its name suggests, this phenomenon has caused everyone to forget their memories, causing the world to go dark. It is now up to you to solve the mystery surrounding this darkness and help save Dreamlight Valley. To do this, you must harness your magical powers to help the villagers regain their memories and restore their world.
This opens the door to a nostalgia trip for those who grew up with Disney’s cast of iconic characters, but doesn’t leave out younger players who are more accustomed to newer films such as Moana and Frozen. You’ll bond with these characters, carry out quests for them, and level up friendship meters that reward you with special items. You can then use these items to customize the world and your house. There are a lot of options here to create your own Disney-themed haven. The questing to build up your relationships adds a really nice wrinkle to the typical life-sim formula, and they’re consistently interesting and rewarding.
Gathering Resources to Customize Your Experience’
Players are first tasked with creating their avatar, and while its character creation tool isn’t the deepest, it does let you construct a suitably Disney-fied version of yourself. Once inside the world, it’s all about resource-gathering, from mining rocks to casting your fishing rod out into the nearby lakes. Carrying out these tasks drains your stamina meter, which can only be replenished by returning to your home. However, you can use certain resources you’ve gathered to cook recipes, that’ll let you eat and boost your stamina while you’re out exploring. You can also use these resources to craft new items and furniture, that can then be placed around the world or in your home. I only wish that furniture placement was a little easier to dive into, as the camera angle is downright horrible — it takes what should be a fun and simple task and bogs it down into a tedious exercise.
These actions are key to gathering money, improving friendship levels, and acquiring the in-game currency ‘Dreamlight Points’ that are used to unlock new realms and gain new allies. There are only four new realms available here in early access to dive into, but there is very little to each of them. Most of them simply feature a single screen where you do a few quests and then bring the character with you to Dreamlight Valley. There was a big chance here to really open up the exploring into new realms, but they really feel like little more than a holding room for characters to bring into the valley.
Right now in early access, there are 17 characters to collect and become friends with, ranging from Merlin and Micky, to Kristoff and Mother Gothel. It is a good range of characters across the Disney properties, with more coming in updates.
More than Just Thorns in this World
While running around the Valley and trying to free the world from the Forgetting and the thorns that come with it, I have also encountered quite a few bugs. Characters will trap you between rocks and will occasionally disappear from the map altogether, and the in-game menu has also frozen completely. This requires me to reboot the game and in some cases, lose a little of my progress.
Disney Dreamlight Valley Review – Final Verdict
Disney Dreamlight Valley lets players dive into a magical world full of Disney characters. It is a colorful, fun, and highly addictive adventure that is let down by a rather curious decision. It was strange to see so little love paid attention to the realms outside of the Valley that I was kind of left wondering why they even existed in the first place. However, inside the Valley is a world that sucks you in and keeps you invested in discovering all the recipes, fish, gems, and more. After 40 hours, while Disney Dreamlight Valley isn’t without its flaws and odd bugs, it is well worth diving into for Disney and life simulation fans alike.
Disney Dreamlight Valley was reviewed on PS5 with code provided by the publisher.