It’s like 2020 all over again.
Remember when Animal Crossing New Horizons was released and it was all anyone talked about? Well, it’s happening again.
Disney caught wind of what we cozy gamers really wanted and just like Wall-e, compacted it all into one all-consuming game. I’ve not played anything else since it was released in Early Access on the 9th of September.
Sure it’s broken on Switch, there’s no denying that. But that can’t stop millions of people from playing it (Over 1 million downloads at the time of writing!). I count as 2 since I bought it on Steam and Switch. Yes, I bought a soon-to-be free-to-play game twice.
I blame growing up on sickly sweet princesses and stories full of hopes and dreams.
WHAT IS THE STORY OF Disney Dreamlight Valley?
Disney is taking the popular life sim genre and combining it with the adventure game genre, full of quests, magic and well-loved characters.
Once an idyllic land, Dreamlight Valley was a place where Disney and Pixar characters lived in harmony—until the Forgetting. Night Thorns grew across the land and severed the wonderful memories tied to this magical place. With nowhere else to go, the hopeless inhabitants of Dreamlight Valley retreated behind locked doors in the Dream Castle.
As Goofy will keep reminding you, there’s something magical about you. It’s up to you to bring back hope to the valley and restore the memories of your new friends.
Unlike Animal Crossing there are extensive storylines for each neighbor which will require you to forage for ingredients, craft equipment, decorate the island, and much more.
A PART OF YOUR WORLD
If you’re a regular to my blog you know by now that I only ever review games I’ve played extensively, at the very least to 70-80% completion.
That was never going to be the case with Dreamlight Valley. At this point, I’ve clocked 30+ hours and I’m still no closer to completing the friend quests.
How has this early access game, which isn’t anywhere near completion yet might I add, got a hold on me like this?
I’ve spent more time farming than in any other game. Veggies barely grace my very real fridge but in DDV I’ve dug whole fields of them! I’ve spent all the money I’ve earnt from growing them on cozy furniture (mostly Beauty and the Beast) which I’m yet to place in my house, and I’ve had more conversations with a tiny trash compactor than is acceptable for a grown woman.
At this point, I’m convinced that I’m probably in training to become a Disney Princess.
AMBIANCE AND AESTHETICS
You’ve met me, right? You know how much I’m in love with thunderstorms. Is there a word for someone like that? There has to be because obsessed would be putting it mildly.
Well, when I first saw the lightning I almost fell off my chair in excitement. I wouldn’t shut up about it. Now, whenever I log in for a short *cough 2hrs* gaming session I actually pray for rain.
I’ve not experienced that in a game before. If you shut your eyes I’m telling you it’s like it’s raining for real… but without the getting soaked part.
Being in Dreamlight Valley is like stepping into a Disney film.
Visually the environment is cute, the characters look exactly as you’d expect and it controls well.
I found it a little easier to design and place furniture on PC than on Switch but other than that I saw little difference in controls.
As with any customizable game, there will always be the players who go to town on the aesthetics and make you feel like you’re playing the game all wrong.
Don’t get sucked in.
Honestly, this is probably why I’ve spent too much time on this game already, because of those YouTubers and IGers who are already perfecting their homes and gardens.
Play Disney Dreamlight Valley your way. Express your own style and forget about perfection.
Take it slow, have fun and make friends.
MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS
Disney Dreamlight Valley has been taking a leaf out of the indie devs’ manuals by harnessing coziness.
With the option to turn off repetitive music and character voices (Donald, I’m looking at you kid) and just listen to the weather there is a real sense of comfort and care.
For a game that will eventually be free-to-play on full release next year, I wouldn’t sleep on this. I actually think it’s worth purchasing for early access.
Just get the cheapest package. Unless you really care about a pretty dress and a companion that does zilch.
Expect a few bugs as the game is still in the process of completion. I’ve encountered crashes and weird character bugs. Just be sure to save regularly despite the autosave.
And if you want to see the gameplay before you commit I have a couple of videos up on my YouTube.