Disney Dreamlight Valley: first impressions

Xbox Game Pass members can play the early access version of Disney Dreamlight Valley now. See what we think after several hours with the life simulator!

It’s a dark and stormy night Disney Valley of Dreamlight. Thunder crashes in the sky above Mickey Mouse’s house, and lightning casts my shadow on the front door: the outline of a figure armed with a pickaxe, silently waiting for Mickey to wake up. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I am not here to kill Mickey Mouse. When he wakes up, I’ll ask him to hang out. He’ll agree, maybe thinking we’ll have a good time cooking or gardening together, but no; I’ll tackle him the moment he comes out and have him follow me on an endless quest for gems to sell at Goofy’s stall – there’s a teapot I have in mind in Scrooge McDuck’s shop, and nothing, not even the personal schedule of Mickey Mouse. , will get in my way. Despite my evil capitalist designs on the teapot, Disney Dreamlight Valley is actually pretty lighthearted. Its theme is the ideas of friendship, magic and work for the good of all. There are many, many things to collect in Disney Dreamlight Valley, and many ways to earn them. It’s still too early to tell if this will get too repetitive and boring later on; this is a First Impressions piece, and based on the first few hours alone, I’m having a great time with Disney Dreamlight Valley.

Like many other life simulators, Disney Dreamlight Valley allows you to leave the stress of city life behind and, while relaxing in the peaceful countryside, we somehow find ourselves in Dreamlight Valley; a once prosperous place that is now overrun by Night Thorns and darkness. Soon after, we meet Merlin, who explains how Oblivion caused the Valley’s inhabitants to flee or stay and lose their memories. (Merlin, it should be noted, made the mad scientist laugh, a full back laugh.) Merlin believes that our character has the magic to get rid of the Night Thorns, save the Valley and bring back its inhabitants. At this point, you’ve customized your character to look however you want, and although you start out in a white shirt and jeans, this is soon rectified; New clothing items are scattered throughout the Vale, with more becoming available as you level up friendships with its inhabitants, or they can be purchased from Scrooge’s shop, or designed from scratch with the Touch of Magic customization tool. . With Merlin’s guidance, we claim a home for ourselves, explore the Valley, and begin to set things right.

The large number of stuff it’s a bit overwhelming at first; you have Star Coins, Dreamlight, Dream Shards, Night Shards, Moonstones for the Star Path (which seems to be the Disney Dreamlight Valley version of a Battle Pass), Gems, Crops, Seeds, Resources, Clothing, Furniture, Fragments of memories, recipes and much more. I’m getting familiar with what can be used for everything, so I’m still hoarding most of it, but it seems like Star Coins are your main currency to buy everything, while Dreamlight is the resource we’ll use to unlock new biomes in the valley. Things seem pretty expensive: 5000 Star Coins for the first backpack upgrade? — but I’ve been able to earn a fair amount by selling gems to Goofy, cleaning up smaller Night Thorns, and earning packs by leveling up friendships. The meals I’ve cooked so far don’t seem to sell for much, and instead seem more useful as gifts to quickly boost friendships. Oh, and don’t forget to claim your Founder’s Pack rewards and Welcome to Dreamlight Valley goodies, including a little candy-covered crocodile, which should be in your mailbox.

I’m torn on how annoying this game can be. You often run out of energy, but there are always apples and other fruits, which you can eat to replenish yourself and they grow back quite quickly. Crops, so far, also grow relatively quickly, and it’s easy to take care of the game’s many other tasks while you wait for them. So far, I haven’t minded going around the Valley in a loop on my own to sell gems, but this can get more frustrating later in the game. When you reach friendship level 2 with a character, you can also invite them to hang out with you and give them a particular bonus, such as the ability to collect more fodder while they’re with you. You are meant to fuel friendships out of feelings of love and kindness, but I admit that I cultivated these relationships in order to progress the plot; I needed three friends for Level 5, which meant I was briefly stuck in a cycle of force-feeding fruit salads and grilled vegetables, which was all I could do with my endless supply of carrots and apples. Oh, does Scrooge McDuck want bars of iron and topaz? Bad luck, he’s going to order another fruit salad. Each character also has their own schedule, and there are periods when they are asleep; presumably, if you needed them to progress the plot, you’d be stuck until they wake up. You learn new crafting recipes as you progress and earn more furniture with various rewards. You have the freedom to make and place these items wherever you want, and you can redesign the Valley whenever you feel like it. On the plus side, you get a lot of freedom with this decoration. On the downside, the controls for placing furniture and buildings, and decorating clothes, are currently very clunky and awkward.

disney dreamlight valley biomes

We will keep busy in Dreamlight Valley: exploring, gathering resources, farming, cooking, decorating, creating, building friendships and helping each character. There’s the main quest, to restore Dreamlight Valley and undo the effects of oblivion, but each character also has their own quests for you to follow, and it’s easy to see how Disney Dreamlight Valley could be updated frequently with new content. Disney Dreamlight Valley has that enticing “start from scratch” mentality that has proven so irresistible in other life sims that have also dropped you in the middle of nowhere with only a decrepit shack to your name. There’s this irresistible urge to clean up the Valley and help solve everyone’s problems, which is compounded by the level of nostalgia these characters can invoke; songs from your favorite Disney movies play as you run through each biome, and characters can sometimes reference events from their family stories. It would be easy to deck this game out in Disney paraphernalia and rely on that strong sense of nostalgia to make the game work; however, with only a few hours to play, it looks like Disney Dreamlight Valley has a lot going for it. .

The possible grindiness of this game is very much reflected in the Disney Dreamlight Valley Achievements; no matter how fun it is right now, collecting 1,800,000 Star Coins, harvesting 4,500 vegetables, killing 3,000 Night Thorns, and starting 1,000 daily discussions will take quite a bit of time. I’m enjoying the main gameplay loop at the moment: taking out Night Thorns is quite fun, and there always seems to be a lot to do; the only question is, how long before this goes out of style?

Summary

It’s unclear if Disney Dreamlight Valley will get repetitive and boring in the future, but judging by the hours I’ve spent playing in Early Access and the fact that I can play with Xbox Game Pass (and not have to shell out any Star Coins from the real life), makes it a free pass.

Heidi spent four or five hours playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (Early Access) through Xbox Game Pass. She didn’t get a single achievement in this time and doesn’t expect her to do so any time soon.

Free pass

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