Disney Dreamlight Valley Is More Than Animal Crossing In Mickey Mouse Ears

When Disney Dreamlight Valley was announced, I found its intersecting parts of Disney, the farm-life sim genre, and a free-to-play model to be exciting. With a fair in-game economy and gameplay that keep genre fans coming back, the Animal Crossing-like could have the potential to become a hit with players of all ages–but that microtransaction question loomed large. After spending an hour with the Gameloft development team and checking out a hands-off demo, I’m heartened to have seen a pay model without uncomfortable caveats, making me more confident Dreamlight Valley will be well populated by fans of the genre and brand alike.

On the surface, Dreamlight Valley appears to be your typical farm-life sim–even its name seems determined to recall imagery of Stardew Valley, one of the genre’s most beloved games. I arrived to my demo wanting to find out if this other valley could provide a similar mix of relaxing gameplay mechanics such as farming, mining, and socializing. It does all of those things, but to my surprise, it does a lot more as well–things that feel uniquely suited to what a Disney take on the genre could be.

Separate from the farming, Gameloft says a whole second chunk of this game is inspired by the adventure genre. The world of Dreamlight Valley is quite large–I wasn’t given a size but it looks much bigger than Animal Crossing’s town. There are also entire other “realms” to which you travel to aid beloved Disney and Pixar characters in quests. In an example I saw, the player went to visit WALL-E and helped the eco-conscious robot clean up garbage, plant trees, and beautify a world inspired by the movie’s trash heap of a planet.

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Author: Mark Delaney