Video Games

Disney Dreamlight Valley Early Access Review

While other life sims sometimes struggle to find interesting ways to use their town-dwelling characters, developer Gameloft jumps into the scene shirtless and flexes his muscles like Maui in Disney’s Dreamlight Valley. Even in its unfinished Early Access state, this is an engaging blend of Animal Crossing-like city planning and the quests and progression system more commonly found in RPGs. It’s all wrapped up in a Disney theme, with an all-star cast of beloved characters that’s ridiculously hard to put down. Act is meant to warrant an Early Access label at this point, but it’s already too easy to lose dozens of hours on this magical simulation.

In the cozy concept of Disney Dreamlight Valley, you’ll rebuild a village, befriend iconic characters and get a little creepy at the look in Mickey Mouse’s eyes. Whether it’s learning how to fish from Goofy and secretly wishing he was your real father, struggling to find space for useless items in your inventory that you absolutely must have, or exploring the world of Wall-E. Really disappointing when I remember visiting. How sad that movie was Your ultimate goal is to collect all the memorable and well-made Disney characters in your town, develop friendships with them, complete tons of fetch quests to unlock new abilities, and access new areas. , is to become wealthy enough to build the Disney dream. home on the way. If you’ve played Animal Crossing before, you should be familiar with Disney Dreamlight Valley. .

All Verified Disney Dreamlight Valley Characters

The main differentiator is that Disney Dreamlight Valley wisely doesn’t focus on the real-world village-building and item-collecting elements that dominate other games. Instead, it relies on its most valuable assets. That character stands front and center as the ultimate unlockable to track down. hit, and spent over 40 hours sprinting happily in a hamster wheel.Not bad for early access.

You might not expect Disney Nostalgia Simulator to have a serious conversation with sailor ducks and chef rats, but Disney Dreamlight Valley does just that and does it better than expected. . The story is dizzyingly meta, but so clever that you have to pass it on to the developers’ creativity. You soon learn about a mysterious disease known as Oblivion that caused characters to lose their memories. A suitably vague premise that made me roll my eyes at first. Then I began to realize that oblivion was really just a very nosy metaphor for my characters growing up and leaving this imaginary world of their creation behind. and forging a bond with its characters is an attempt to rediscover the childlike wonder of my characters, which (not coincidentally) reconnects me with Disney characters. Gameloft, I see what you did there.

From zero to hero

Nearly every activity yields meaningful progress, such as earning money to upgrade your village, or dreamlights that give you access to new areas and realms. Sure, you can upgrade your home, buy new furniture, cosmetics, and all the familiar stuff, but as far as incentives go, nothing beats recruiting your favorite Disney characters to be your neighbors. And spending time with these characters builds social links that eventually unlock rewards and quests. In the latter case, characters sometimes gain useful new abilities, such as breaking giant ice obstacles or tearing through pesky tree stumps. I put off my break, messed up my sleep schedule, and said, “This is the last time I’m going to quit,” over and over again.

That said, while chasing new characters and leveling up relationships is endlessly engaging, the actual quests themselves can be a bit touch-and-go. It is nothing more than picking, making furniture, or making food for someone else. They often feel like a hectic task that artificially prolongs the time it takes to unlock your favorite characters.

Sometimes, though, quests can be really interesting in their own right, rather than just a means to an end. deduced the whereabouts of Donald Duck, who was forever trapped in Another time, it helped Anna reunite with Elsa by distracting Arendelle’s giant stone trolls. Sadly, these intriguing adventures are few and far between in a sea of ​​less glamorous errands.

Again, I used it most of the time, but the novelty of this treadmill slows down towards the end of the adventure. This is a huge shock to a system that has so far paid off so nicely. For example, the last two areas (Dreamlight’s most expensive to access) don’t unlock new characters and feel almost empty compared to previous ones. ‘s content (8 different environments, 4 realms, 17 characters at launch) you’ll have to chew through, but if you can get the hooks as designed, you’ll be able to grind through most of them in a fairly short span. There’s little to do other than log in each day to see what Scrooge McDuck is selling in his shop.

Some quests can feel like hard work, but others are really fun.

We’re already excited to revisit Disney’s Dreamlight Valley once it’s out of early access, but whether or not we’ll continue to play past this point before 1.0 will be a question for the live service model to output content often enough. It depends a lot on whether let me go crazy That said, no game has to be endless pastime to be a good time, and in its current state it entertained me 90% of the dozens of hours I spent traveling.

Apart from that, though, there’s seemingly unintentional time-gating that really throws a wrench into an otherwise well-built machine. Unlike real-time games that ask you to log in, Disney Dreamlight Valley places very few limits on how much you can accomplish in a single play. At least, not on purpose. For example, you can mine ore to your heart’s content. By the time you leave the area, sell your haul and return, you will find the deposit replenished and ready to mine again. Nuts, randomly generated flowers, etc. But then I come across something like a quest that requires me to collect mushrooms, and I can’t find a good way to get them other than picking a few that seem to only appear after a daily reset. , effectively adding the same obnoxious time gates to adventures that seemed to have deliberately removed stuff from other areas, making them even more out of place and frustrating.

There are other areas that don’t seem to respect your time, such as crops that take too long to grow, water-based characters who swim to places they couldn’t reach, and, most of all, characters who are frustrating in their homes. Randomly decided to sleep and locked me out of there for 6 hours in real life when I needed to be in there for a minute to complete a quest. And as of this writing, some of the cursed mushrooms are still waiting to spawn in the only realm that spawns them.

a whole new world

As the Dreamlight Valley Redemption arc unfolds, you’ll enjoy an amazing showcase of the colorful world and personality that Disney is known for. Each character is perfectly recreated and brought to life, so being with them allowed me to get flashbacks about parts of the film I’d long forgotten. It never gets old to see you lose your temper and fall into a maniacal rage for no reason. All the while, an orchestral version of the popular Disney theme music played in the background, humming like nostalgia-drunk suckers. The environment is surprisingly claustrophobic and poorly textured compared to everything else that looks good. Admittedly, that issue is pretty much a hallmark of the genre at this point, but it never stops nibbling at me while I play.

The character customization and furnishing options you use to decorate your town and homes are bland. I don’t think it’s surprising that there’s a pile of cosmetics as big as Gaston’s biceps, a major gameloft that plans to make money from optional microtransactions when it exits early access. It’s still impressive, given the way it’s done… Still a choice. (But if you want to make a red-haired character, for some reason you can only get ginger eyebrows.) Similarly, there are many and varied ways to decorate towns and homes. Scrooge’s shop became a daily routine.

And while I’m rarely blown away by how good the UI feels, Disney Dreamlight Valley definitely stands out in this regard. Everything is super easy to find, and the all-important collection tab details everything from unlockables you haven’t discovered yet to clues to specific ongoing quests you need to see .

With all that in mind, I have to say that Disney Dreamlight Valley feels like an impressive finished Early Access game. The caveat here, however, is that performances are murdered as often and brutally as Mufasa (too soon?), leading to a painful loss of progress. Small things like graphical glitches that go crazy, turn neon colors for some reason, the camera momentarily develops a mind of its own, framerates plummeting under the sea, and many more It also crashes or I had to repeat everything I did since the last autosave in a broken state that required a hard reset. These problems also came up regularly, and some of them became unbearable, so by the time we saw everything there was to see in Magic Valley.

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