Disney Dreamlight Valley is an adventure life-sim filled to the brim with quests, exploration, and engaging activities featuring Disney and Pixar friends. Even in its unfinished early access state, it’s an incredible blend of city planning like Animal Crossing with added quests, storyline, and real time events. The goal is to restore the valley to how it was by befriending all the Disney and Pixar characters and completing their quests to become closer friends. This in turn allows you to unlock new abilities, new areas and become wealthy enough to design and build your dream Disney home. If you’ve played Animal Crossing before, then you will see the similarities this game has with Disney Dreamlight Valley. Disney Dreamlight Valley has all the normal features you would expect for a life simulation with farming, fishing, digging, and mining being the main activities to do in the game when you aren’t befriending the characters.
A Whole New World
Disney Dreamlight Valley sets the scene by explaining how the valley has fallen to ruin. Once a beautiful and happy land, where Disney and Pixar characters lived in harmony until a dark event called the Forgetting ruined this, night thorns grew across the land and destroyed all the wonderful memories tied to the land and each other. Your job is to restore the land and restore your friendships with the characters.
At the beginning of the game, the story is intriguing as you are given hints as to how the forgetting happened, however the actual cause is not revealed until further on in the game. The quests can be genuinely entertaining for example there was one quest to save Donald Duck who was trapped in a spooky forest whilst another quest was to distract a troll in Arendelle. However, some quests were tedious and felt long winded with a lacklustre reward which made you feel glad the quest was over. There are also some quests that are based around decorating the new areas you are unlocking when completing other quests which was frustrating as on the Nintendo Switch version, there is a limit to how many items you can place in the whole valley. A lot of the times I found when trying to decorate, my Nintendo Switch would crash out of the game because of me trying to decorate the valley and my house. With this game still being in early access, hopefully they add some more action-packed quests and figure out how to improve the decorating limit on the Nintendo Switch without the console crashing.
With the continuation of the storyline and unlocking more areas, you’ll get to see colourful worlds and an array of personalities within the “heroes” and the “villains” of your favourite Disney movies. Each character is incredible as they are full of life and accompanying them whilst doing an activity brings back vivid flashbacks to my favourite films growing up. You never get used to running around the valley and hearing Donald Duck get into a frenzied rage in the background whilst you are fishing with Goofy. When you are roaming around the valley, the music in the background is magical sounding and sometimes popular Disney songs play as well.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!
A fun addition to the game is unlocking Scrooge’s shop for the first time and finally being able to buy colourful and Disney inspired clothing and furniture to customise your character and the valley. The character customisation and furniture options to decorate your town and home are fun and quirky and is a mixture of modern furniture and inspired by Disney and Pixar films. The amount of clothes you can get makes it even better when hanging out with your favourite buddies as you can twin with them, and some quests even get you to change your outfit to continue the quest. Another fun feature that was added to the game is the amount you can customise your face and hair for example your hairstyle being exactly like Ariel’s. You can also add exciting face paint options like Christmas inspired peppermint pattern or Mickey shaped freckles. Within decorating with furniture, you can search your furniture (and even clothes) by categories of the film it’s inspired by, colour and themes which makes decorating even easier.
An issue I found however, is the sheer amount my Nintendo Switch crashes when trying to decorate the valley (which I have already mentioned) but also when trying to move an item just a little bit, the item would move much further than anticipated. This is because the game is sensitive and this makes it difficult to accurately place items.
You Ain’t Never Had A Friend Like Me
When it comes to crafting or cooking, the game makes it super simple to do as you don’t have to carry the materials in your pocket when you want to craft or cook. This makes everything much easier as it allows you to keep your pockets tidy and have more room in your pockets. Becoming closer friends with the characters is fun as everyday the characters have new favourite items that you can gift them to raise your friendship level. Every time you reach a new friendship level, the character rewards you with anything from a motif or the clothes they are wearing, and the friendship levelling up also allows you to unlock more quests.
Another fun feature that was added to the game was timed events called Star Paths which allowed you to unlock exclusive rewards in exchange for doing daily activities. These timed events allowed me to do tasks that I hadn’t done in a while for example fishing with a buddy or mining with Scar for example. This also motivated me to play as much as possible to be able to unlock all the exclusive rewards as every timed event has amazing rewards like a Ferris wheel which is styled after the one in Disneyland's California Adventure.
Vanellope Races Into The Valley
With the latest update to Disney Dreamlight Valley, Vanellope from Wreck It Ralph was finally introduced which bought some new quests. This update also introduced a fun new feature called Dreamsnaps. Dreamsnaps allows you to earn more moonstones which helps with the events and can also get you some exclusive rewards for example new customisables like an outfit that you can’t get without spending moonstones (or money if you don’t have enough moonstones.) The Dreamsnaps is focused on a specific theme or some specific colours that you take a picture of and submit, you then vote on other people’s submissions anonymously which earns you more moonstones.
Disney Dreamlight Valley: Final Thoughts
I am super excited to revisit Disney Dreamlight Valley once it’s out of the early access and everyone can play. I still am unsure how much more I will play when the game is free as it’s unclear how frequently content will be added/updated once the game is free to play. That said, the game has entertained me for dozens of hours.