In Disney Dreamlight Valley, Donald Duck is suffering another nervous breakdown. Embarrassingly, this behavior has progressed to the point where the fish are flat on their bellies, kicking and screaming, flippers and feathers virtually a blur. But I share some of the blame. Donald D. just wants a place to call home, but his houseboat got flooded and I can’t locate the rope to help him fix it.
As it turns out, seaweed is rare than gold, making it the Valley’s most precious commodity. In my experience with Disney Dreamlight Valley before its September 6 Early Access release, a lack of resources has been a recurring theme. Even though it is necessary to make twine and rope, which are important to completing many of the initial objectives in Disney Dreamlight Valley, the seaweed meant to be abundant in various locations of the Valley is missing in action.
Thus, about a week (and nearly 40 hours) later, Moana’s boat remains broken, Wall-garden E’s is still in ruins, and Donald is still without a place to call home. These sporadic failures should be expected given Disney Dreamlight Valley’s Early Access classification. They should be fixed in a future patch as developer Gameloft continues to iron out the game’s kinks.
The game doesn’t do much to help you progress when you reach a wall, so it’s not a particularly lovable feature right now. Fortunately, there is a lot to keep you busy if you don’t mind engaging in some busy work. If you’ve played life simulation games like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ll be well-versed in the concept.
As you do activities like fishing, farming, cooking, and conversing with friends, you’ll earn Dreamlight. The main currency is used to unlock new parts of the Valley (the expanding area which houses your villages) and other Realms (more on later). Quick victories can be achieved through routine, replenishing daily tasks, and these can supplement longer-term objectives like increasing your social circle to a specific size.
One wonderful feature is that acquiring more Dreamlight becomes simpler the more content (both locations and playable characters) you uncover. In comparison to Animal Crossing, Disney’s Dreamlight Valley is more story-driven and has shorter loading times. There’s a lot less bother thanks to the Valley’s fantastic quality-of-life enhancements, such as a never-empty watering can, indestructible tools, and the ability to replenish energy with a handful of berries.
While there is a day/night cycle that syncs with your own, very little progress is locked until the next actual day (à la Animal Crossing). You can also earn money by selling the things you find or grow and earn experience points (XP) by completing missions assigned to you by the Disney and Pixar characters you befriend.
The Forgetting must be overcome if the Valley is to be populated by the heroes and villains of your imagination. Horrific thorns prevent passage to dwellings and entire regions, and they also cause severe memory loss among the locals. The Valley needs your help cleaning away the vines and bringing back all of its citizens, and thankfully Merlin is level-headed enough to realize this, as well as the fact that you are the only one who can do it. You enchanted being you.
Your new existence in Disney Dreamlight Valley will consist of reaching out to individuals who left the Valley and assisting the residents who have remained, such as Scrooge McDuck with his general store and Mickey Mouse with his community garden. Specifically, this is done by granting access to various Realms with different themes with the use of Dreamlight.
Despite Dream Castle’s abundance of portals to the many Disney and Pixar realms, only Moana, Ratatouille, Frozen, and Wall-E have active Realms. Each Realm has at least one playable character with their own unique backstory and set of objectives inspired by the films from which they were spawned. It’s exciting to discover where each Realm will take you, whether you’re cooking with Remy or exploring with Moana.
It’s true that the Realms are smaller than I expected them to be, especially Wall-E’s, but you’ll find yourself going back to them again and over again as you progress through the story and strengthen your bonds with each of the playable characters. This is essential in Disney Dreamlight Valley, as doing small things for your new friends daily, such as hanging out, giving gifts, and checking in, can help develop your relationships to the next level.
It’s a good idea to do this since it’ll not only give you some entertaining missions to complete, but it’ll also unlock some cool new gear and clothing for your characters based on the story you’re telling. Intriguingly, completing specific objectives can grant access to a better version of a tool that can be used to overcome a barrier or reach a new location.
Sadly, none of this is made particularly clear, but it’s always exciting to discover something new about someone when you spend more time with them. Some very fantastic dialogue and narrative flourishes bring the whole “living with my favorite Disney characters” fantasy to life.
Disney Dreamlight Valley isn’t afraid to poke fun at these recognizable characters or even make jokes about them while also providing excellent references for movie buffs. Because of this, Disney Dreamlight Valley feels like a realistic simulation for Disney enthusiasts of all ages.
Younger players won’t be put off by the game’s complexity, and longtime Disney fans will appreciate its blend of nostalgia and modern charm. The Star Path feature, Disney Dreamlight Valley’s equivalent to a Battle Pass, is the only item lacking (apart from seaweed) from this Early Access adventure. Using premium cash (sometimes known as “real money”), you can purchase region-specific cosmetics that aren’t available in-game.
The first one is a month-long and is dedicated to all things Pixar, such as Incredibles gear and Up pins. As the Early Access period progresses, it will be intriguing to see how this functions and what the pricing is like for various Star Path alternatives. Disney’s Dreamlight Valley is an excellent new option for live service gamers.
It’s entertaining, packed with information, and well-planned. The process of designing and arranging the layout of your Valley is also really addictive, and it makes me wonder if it will inspire the same level of community involvement in the Valley as Animal Crossing: New Horizons did.
Because of course, Disney fantasy has been added to the otherwise severe task of island planning. Some kinks and glitches need to be worked out, but that’s what the Early Access period is for (the full game launches as a free-to-play title in 2023). Where it goes from here intrigues me.
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