The citizens are greeting me as I make my way through the valley, WALL-E quietly trailing behind. He is eager to show me the new garden project he needs help with. It’s peaceful. I’m picking some flowers and wood which I plan to sell later in Goofy’s shop to fund much-needed repairs for my small cottage. Mickey is glad to see me again, but wondering what has taken me so long since the last time. They truly do give me a warm welcome every time…
And that’s one of the reasons why I find myself opening the game again and again.
Disney Dreamlight Valley is an action-adventure game but on the cozier side. It’s designed for all ages, yet the storytelling ensures that even older audiences can get a lot from it. Your role is to take care of the Valley as well as help the citizens in their struggle against the curse that made them lose their memories. In one moment, you may find yourself cooking Ratatouille with Remy, a charming rat with great cooking skills, and the next sailing the waters with a strong-willed girl, Moana. As the story progresses, you’ll witness the once miserable and empty valley turn into a beautiful, abundant place – a place that you and your favorite 29 friends from Disney and Pixar movies call home.
The game might get somewhat repetitive at times, especially in the beginning if you stick to the basics and conscientiously perform daily tasks to collect money and moonstones – the in-game currency. Though there might not be a wide variety of different side quests to choose from simultaneously, at least one pops up regularly. This aspect can be seen as a positive feature if you are like me and enjoy basic chores like cooking, fishing, and gardening. In the beginning, the valley is relatively small and there isn’t much to explore, which can make gameplay boring. Or motivating, since you can explore the world more once you progress in the game.
Lastly, you may not have as much influence on the storyline as you’d like; the game ensures that you maintain good relationships with everyone. So, if you are seeking constant action and conflicts, this game may not be an ideal choice for you. What you can, however, affect is what the Valley will become. When it comes to decorating the world, you can spend as much time as you desire.
The feature that separates Dreamlight Valley from generic gardening games is the well-written and engaging story that is easy to hop on. It makes you sympathize with the characters and that, if anything, is the way to make a player commit to the experience. There is always something to do in the Valley and you can find yourself fully immersed in the game – often completing just a few more tasks before logging off.
The game truly has an atmosphere of its own; it takes you to an exceptionally magical world where all worries seem to disappear. And the best part is that you can finally interact with almost all the characters from the Disney franchise in this stunningly beautiful setting. It brings a good touch of nostalgia to a modern context so it’s not a surprise that this game could be a dream come true for a Disney fan.
Developers: Gameloft, Gameloft S. E
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and series S, Mac operating systems
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Genres: action, adventure
Images are screenshots of the gameplay, taken by the author.
Annika is a casual gamer drawn to experiences with cinematic narratives and immersive atmospheres. Seems to find a new interest every week but one thing's for sure – if it involves animals, cyberpunk, or horror, she's all in.