Reviews - Updated on September 23, 2022

The idea of ​​Disney Dreamlight Valley seems so winning that it is not clear why such a game has not yet existed. A fairy tale world in which a character you create meets famous “cartoons” and helps them with the housework, decorating everything around them to their liking – yes, children have dreamed of something like this all their lives! The authors of the novelty took Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Stardew Valley and other hits as a basis, threw in their own ideas and made a life simulator in which you can really disappear for a long time even now, at the early access stage.

long sleep

The protagonist (or heroine) is a person tired of everyday affairs who went into the wilderness to nostalgic for childhood. After falling asleep, he enters the world of dreams, the Dreamlight Valley. This place is going through hard times – if earlier friendship and magic reigned in it, now it is infected by the Night Thorn, which clouded the minds of all the inhabitants. They began to forget their past and each other, and some of them completely hid in the Castle of Dreams, so as not to look at the devastation and not live under a dome that covers the sun.

Having met Merlin, we get a house at our disposal and begin to put the valley in order. We meet Mickey, whose house is located next to the beds, then we find Goofy, who is busy fishing nearby. Well, where without Scrooge – he, like any businessman, even in such conditions does not miss the opportunity to open a store. We complete their tasks, the dome disappears, everyone rejoices, and it’s time for us to look for other Disney characters and invite them to our place.

The time of day in the game depends on the time set on the console.  So those who play only in the evenings will not see the sun if they do not change the settings.

The time of day in the game depends on the time set on the console. So those who play only in the evenings will not see the sun if they do not change the settings.

The game has a lot in common with other life simulators, but at the same time, the developers tried not to copy the ideas, but to improve them. Here you can buy seeds and grow all kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers and cabbage. In other games, you would be forced to collect water to water seedlings, buy new watering cans and shovels after the old ones break down, pull out weeds, and so on. Right there, everything is nowhere simpler: the water is endless, you can water up to six plants with a watering can at the same time, all the tools are durable, and most importantly, you can harvest very quickly. Wheat generally grows in almost a couple of minutes. Special thanks for the ability to hold down the button when planting seeds and harvesting, so that the character automatically moves from one bed to another.

It’s the same with other entertainment. Hit with a pickaxe on deposits of precious stones – after a short break, all deposits will be restored. While fishing in one place, another one will appear in a nearby pond. Collect the flowers that grow at every step – new ones will grow in a few minutes. There are no timers in Disney Dreamlight Valley, you are not forced to wait until the next day or go to bed due to lack of classes – in principle, you cannot sleep here. And the energy that you spend on each action is instantly restored when you visit the house and replenished with food – either a specially prepared dish or fruit from a tree.

Five-star dishes can be sold at a high price, and they restore a lot of energy.

Five-star dishes can be sold at a high price, and they restore a lot of energy.

There are never moments when you wander aimlessly around the world in an attempt to keep yourself occupied with something. I wanted to go fishing to cook delicious dishes from the catch, inventing recipes on the go. I wanted to – I went to mine stones that can be sold for a large amount.

It is best to do all this together with some kind of hero – when you get to know the character, you choose his specialization. For example, someone will periodically throw you bonus fish while fishing or double the number of items dug out of the ground. The more time you spend with a companion, the faster your friendship level grows, which unlocks house decorations and quests.

Everyone needs something

The presence of tasks will appeal to those who could not find a reason to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons for a long time. Although the feeling that you play the role of an errand boy does not leave you, you do not carry out assignments without pleasure. You need to buy something, then make something, then cook, then collect. First of all, I recommend saving up gold to increase your inventory – there is always not enough space if you collect everything in a row. For quest cells in the backpack, you will need a lot: someone needs certain flowers, someone needs resources. As a reward, you get an increase in the level of friendship, new drawings for items (and sometimes the items themselves), and other bonuses.

If you give gifts to heroes, the level of friendship increases faster. Neighbors are especially happy with some gifts (their list changes every day).

Over time, other characters will join Mickey, Goofy and Scrooge. But first you need to go to their worlds, complete a couple of tasks and invite them to the valley. Here it becomes obvious that the current Disney Dreamlight Valley is indeed an early version – many doors in the Castle of Dreams are closed. You can go to Remy’s restaurant, where we help him prepare meals, to the island to Moana and to the junkyard to WALL-E. The tasks they give out are very simple, and very soon you will return to the valley to build houses for each of them and do the same as with the starting heroes – increase friendship levels, spend time together and open new quests.

It is especially pleasing that the heroes do not just appear and begin to live side by side – over time, they become more and more useful. Goofy shops open in different regions, and the assortment in them varies. Moana starts to fish – you should periodically go to her and pick up the catch if you don’t want to spend time fishing yourself. WALL-E grows vegetables. Plus, some characters improve your tools, granting new opportunities when exploring the world: with a pickaxe, for example, at first, not all obstacles can be destroyed.

At the same time, you are not driven anywhere, you do not need to do what you do not want to. Do not take new quests, do not complete old ones, give gifts, do housework, feed squirrels – this is a real life simulator where you decide what to do, and there are no restrictions. Well, in addition to money, which is often not enough – then you need to improve shops and shops, then increase inventory. But this is easily solved by fishing and mining – spend about half an hour.

A lot of fabulous

This I have not yet touched on the huge number of items of clothing and jewelry for my home and world. You can find new clothes in the valley and you can buy them – from T-shirts with the Disney logo to suits, dresses, jackets, hats and glasses. The dimensions of the wardrobe allow you to create a unique character, and the appearance chosen at the beginning of the game can be changed at any time. I’m not a big fan of dressing up, but here one thing is more beautiful than the other – you don’t even know what to wear.

The characters live their own lives: they walk, fish, sit on benches and communicate with each other.  Sometimes they even discuss the player character!

The characters live their own lives: they walk, fish, sit on benches and communicate with each other. Sometimes they even discuss the player character!

There are also many interior items, and their number is constantly growing. At first, the character’s house is tiny – there is nothing to put there except for a bed and a stove. But if you save gold, you can significantly increase the dwelling. All sorts of posters, carpets, bedside tables, mirrors – eyes run wide. You can decorate not only your house, but also the valley – through the same menu, you can put almost anything and anywhere. The only thing that upsets is the control during the placement of objects. With one stick you move the camera, with the other you move the cursor, and getting to the right place turns out to be more difficult than we would like. Judging by the number of complaints, the developers are at least aware of this inconvenience.

Even more costumes and items can be obtained in the battle pass. It’s strange to see such a “feature” in a game with Mickey and Goofy, but oh well. The first pass is dedicated to Pixar projects. By completing tasks, you can unlock a bed in the form of a car from Cars, an Elastigirl costume, a display case with Buzz Lightyear’s spacesuit – there are not many prizes, but they all fit perfectly into the interior. Tasks can be dreary – for example, sell 200 ears of wheat or cook 25 dishes with perch – but still doable. In three days I knocked out everything I wanted – there are no timers even in the pass.

Unusually cheap

The biggest question, of course, has to do with monetization. The game will become shareware only next year, and now the founder’s packs are on sale. Even the owners of the basic set (also available in Game Pass) get a lot of in-game currency. It is enough to buy the first pass and several subsequent ones, and this currency is also among the rewards in the first pass. There are no other goods in the game, there are no shops or anything like that – there is no reason to take a wallet. Disney is notorious for squeezing money out of its fans, and this is like the calm before the storm.

Perhaps the company, together with the developers from Gameloft, decided to bet on the quality of the game, and not turn it into a mobile phone with different currencies and timers. The game is so addictive that I spent three days without getting out doing quests and growing cabbages and hardly broke away for the sake of this text.

It is especially commendable that the writers did not make the characters simple dummies, issuing quests, but wrote dialogues full of references to their past. Goofy talks about his big family, Scrooge recalls the Yukon miners and the Gavs brothers … It’s a pity that the novelty was not translated into Russian, but the list of available languages ​​is generally quite meager for a game from such a publisher – perhaps by 2023 the situation will change.

At Remy's restaurant, customers are hoping to get the dishes they want from you.  But you can ignore them.

At Remy’s restaurant, customers are hoping to get the dishes they want from you. But you can ignore them.

It is interesting what awaits the game in the future. Right now, there are a little less than two dozen characters available (I didn’t mention some to avoid spoilers), and Disney can add characters for years, filling the project with fresh content. For example, Scar, Simba and Stitch were shown in the trailers, but so far they are not in the game. And in the fall, they promise to add favorites from Toy Story. What new mechanics are unlocked with their appearance? Will there be enough space in the valley for their cabins, or will they have to choose who to invite? Right now the game has enough entertainment for the weeks ahead, but I hope that updates will not be rare.

There is no multiplayer in Disney Dreamlight Valley yet – the developers say they plan to add co-op before the game leaves early access. But there is cross-progress between all platforms except the PlayStation. An online connection is not required here – if you can’t get online or the servers “fall”, the game automatically switches to offline mode. The only inconvenience associated with this is the disappearance of the battle pass tab. Even if you bought it, it is impossible to complete quests and open rewards without connecting. Residents of Russia do not yet need a VPN – they allow servers here, unlike MultiVersus.

Disney Dreamlight Valley still seemed like a charming and very cozy game from trailers and screenshots, but it could be assumed that its advantages would end there. However, in reality it turned out the other way around – just the cons are quite difficult to find. Perhaps over time the game will begin to turn into a pumpkin due to merciless monetization and other inconveniences, but today it is a terribly exciting and promising life simulator.

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