Disney Dreamlight Valley Early Access Review: A Lifetime Simulation for Mickey Stans
Disney Dreamlight Valley is a sparkling life simulator where you – after somehow slipping from the real world into a kind of Disney-sponsored coma – find yourself living alongside all your favorite intellectual property. Your mission ? Emotionally manipulate the horrible dog-beast Goofy by feeding him dandelions and sea bream until he becomes your best friend, then start working on Scrooge McDuck and the rest.
Before we dive too deep into this stuff: if you’re here because you have a kid and you just want to know if Disney Dreamlight Valley will make him happy, and Ratatouille’s rat doesn’t say the f-word, and that at no time Ariel is crawling on the beach trying to recruit them into a multi-level marketing scam, then you’re golden. Disney Dreamlight Valley is a high-end Animal Crossing rip-off that will make Oversized Mouse fans irreversibly stunned. Your children may need a special operation to stop them smiling.
A word of warning though. In its early access state, there are still some quest-breaking bugs. You may have to console a confused and heartbroken child when WALL-E refuses to be his friend because a fire extinguisher has slipped out of his inventory, a situation no prenatal class can prepare you for. For older gamers and Rock Paper Shotgun indies who also love WALL-E and have lost the fire extinguisher, please contact us to learn more about my weekly support group.
Disney Dreamlight Valley is inspired by Nintendo’s immensely popular Animal Crossing life-sim, though instead of interacting with a gossipy cast, your town is populated by a growing number of beloved characters from the past and the present. Disney’s present, each snatched from the Katamari copyright ball of the ravenous media empire.
While other life sims might have you collecting berries and wood to craft a birdhouse, in Disney Dreamlight Valley it’s people like Mickey Mouse and his grotesque colleague Goofy who ask you to collect berries and wood. to make a birdhouse. Sometimes it can feel like being sentenced to community service by a mid-level celebrity, like you crashed your car into Florence Pugh’s shed, and now Florence Pugh makes you catch three types of different fish, otherwise you will go to jail. It’s a bit like this.
The main goal of Disney Dreamlight Valley is to become everyone’s best friends by giving them gifts and attention until they finally admit they love you.
Despite the tedious scavenger errands, Disney Dreamlight Valley rarely topples into busy work. The universe rewards you with a steady stream of coins, items, recipes, orbs, and shards for doing just about anything, making it hard to avoid passively hoarding most stuff you need to complete quests anyway. But if there’s one motto Disney cares about most, it’s pure, uncut. friendship – Disney Dreamlight Valley’s main goal is to become everyone’s best friends by giving them gifts and attention until they finally admit they love you.
You can do this by asking a character out, causing them to run behind you and wildly celebrate everything you do. Ask Goofy out and every action you take will increase your friendship rating. Whether it’s snatching carrots or hitting a rock or trying jorts, nothing you do can displease him. It is physically impossible to avoid becoming Goofy’s best friend. Just by standing near him or looking vaguely in his direction, the bond of your friendship slowly calcifies, whether you like it or not, until one day he delivers the eulogy at your funeral.
Other friends are also available to hang out with, and the game’s story revolves around visiting new realms to meet Disney characters and convince them to come live in your village and act as some kind social buffer between you and the horrible long dog Dingo. These quests are far more interesting and full of character than routine town quests, and once you’ve successfully recruited the likes of Moana, Ariel, and WALL-E into your ranks, you can improve your friendships with them as well.
Just like in real life, a higher friendship score gives you exclusive new stickers, wallpapers, clothes and furniture for your home. Customizing your character and your home is a game in its own right, and much like Tom Nook’s rotating selection of furniture and clothing in Animal Crossing, Scrooge McDuck’s store has new Disney items to peruse every day.
Themed furniture and clothing sets allow you to work towards the greater goal of transforming yourself and your home to match your favorite Disney movie, too. You can buy Frozen’s Frozen Throne, for example, then wear Frozen’s Frozen Robe, then sit on your Frozen Throne in your Frozen Robe as if you were Frozen herself.
For Disney fans young and old, the chance to dive headfirst into the magical worlds that defined so many childhoods, meet every character and wear every outfit, is nothing short of an experience. transcendental. Even a half-hearted Disney fan will get chills as the catchy opening notes of “When You Wish Upon A Star” fade away, just as you search the beach for bits of old seaweed like a salty gremlin.
For the terrible people with no love in their hearts, it’s a little harder to forgive Disney’s Dreamlight Valley in its current state. Glitches are to be expected in Early Access, but quest completion bugs and repetitive grinds put this life sim on shaky ground. You’d have hoped Disney had enough pockets to create more voice-acting and properly animated cutscenes, and the exorbitant price of some Scrooge McDuck items should give parents an early sense of unease. The game will be free-to-play when it launches in 2023, and the game’s monetization mechanics are yet to be implemented.
Yet many of the ingredients of a truly wonderful life simulator are already in place. All it takes is a little more magic for Disney Dreamlight Valley to really shine.