Dreamlight Valley is a life simulator available in early access in which you settle in a valley plagued by a mysterious evil, Oblivion, since the departure of its former monarch. Through gardening, fishing, decorating, and friendships, you must help restore the place’s old charm.
Image Credit: Disney
animal crossing is often included with farm games like stardew valley Where rune Factory, but it’s actually a life simulator in itself, where management elements (and stress!) are almost completely absent, which is quite unique. The arrival of valley of dream light so it’s refreshing as the game definitely falls into the category of “animal crossing-like”, aimed at an audience of casual players (especially gamers, we won’t hide it) who like relaxing games and decoration.
A town to rebuild
Arriving in Dreamlight Valley, you find the town in complete disrepair, abandoned by its former monarch. With the help of Merlin and the other inhabitants, you must restore order and unravel the mystery of Oblivion, the evil that causes no one to remember what happened before.
The game, of course, offers all the classic activities of its genre: you can farm, fish, mine, dig, cook, play games and, above all, maintain relationships with the residents you attract to the valley. By giving them gifts, talking to them, and spending time with them, we increase our friendship level to gradually discover their personal story, unlock items, and improve their ability to help us on a daily basis.
On the brink of friendship, the game starring Disney characters is one step ahead of Animal crossing. In fact, here, the characters have a real personality and a story of their own, so they are much more interesting and alive. Of course, there are all sorts of nods to the original stories, especially in their daily quotes. After a week of play, the dialogues are still not repeated, and the possibility of giving different answers adds variation, but we will have to wait longer to know the real diversity.
In Dreamlight Valley, it’s Scrooge Tom Nook from town, who runs the shop and asks us to help him out for free all the time… but a little less friendly! He manages the development of the village and its biomes, while Merlin deals with the more mysterious aspect of the place, encouraging us to investigate the Oblivion. Some other characters from the Mickey universe are also present when we arrive.
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The quality of the mechanics is variable: we can access the items in our chests when cooking or tinkering, but we can’t move the contents of one chest to another; you can make multiple items at once, but only cook one dish at a time; the shop and businesses remain open at all times, but some villagers go to bed early. We think the game still needs to be finished.
Personalization is king
The game leaves a lot of room for decoration and creativity. Everywhere on the map, it is possible to place furniture, as well as paths and fences. You can also move all the buildings, trees, etc. In contrast, on Switch, the controls to get there are a bit difficult to master, particularly the camera control which is not at all intuitive. It detracts a little from the pleasure of decoration.
As for clothes, it’s even better! You unlock all kinds of patterns, ranging from character faces to simple polka dots, which you can then place on the different clothing models. You can actually create custom clothing from scratch, and it’s one of the mechanics that seems to be the deepest.
However, there is a problem: the photo mode. It allows you to take square images, which therefore do not cover the entire screen, and which are recorded… literally nowhere? Therefore, at this time it is impossible to take good screenshots unless you record the photo mode screen and then crop the image. It’s very strange for a game that should want us to share images as much as possible, and I guess a fix will be made.
Halfway between the console game and the mobile game
At first glance, the game available on PC and consoles appears to be a hybrid between a mobile game and a console game. There are different types of currency, many daily and long-term goals, a kind of “battle pass”, and amazing instantaneity. That is, when it comes to planting seeds or improving a house, everything is ready in just a few minutes. We are far from the patience needed to play animal crossing!
But obviously it’s too good to last, and we quickly find ourselves with seeds that take a few hours to grow, and we need more and more resources whose respawn rate is abysmal, and the pace slows down. We find ourselves going around in circles praying to find iron or hardwood so we can progress through quests. No doubt some rates will be adjusted along the way, but we still have questions about the future.
Fortunately, there are always plenty of side quests to complete, and new worlds being added regularly are sure to keep the game going. According to the developers, the paid items will be cosmetic only and there will be additional content to purchase later.
A game in early access
The game is not quite over, and it shows. On Switch, menus load very slowly, the game regularly crashes and objects in the distance appear and disappear suddenly, and many missions have bugs that can prevent us from completing them. However, the team behind the game is hard at work and has already delivered some fixes, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks.
The French version is also a weakness, which is disappointing for a franchise like Disney, known for its excellent translations. In fact, there isn’t even a Canadian French version, and if you want to play in this language, you have to live with the fact that Moana is called Moana. Otherwise, there are translations that don’t quite work (for example, “Search” for “Check”, which is used for all interactions with objects), and even some sentences that have remained in English.
Of course, the game is in early access, it is normal that there are still some bugs, and the vast majority of them will certainly be fixed by the time of the official release in 2023. But it is important to know that by paying to play Dreamlight Valley immediately, you have to deal with a number of problems.
an idyllic valley
Nevertheless valley of dream light it gives us good moments, and that’s the important thing in this type of game, there are no fights, there is no performance pressure, everything is adorable. And when Goofy offers to cook with him to cheer me up after I tell him I’m feeling a little blue today… well, that works!
For now, the game includes characters and objects from the worlds of Mickey and Friends, Moana, Frozen, Wall-E, The Little Mermaid, and Ratatouille, but of course there are many more to come. Fall updates have already been announced, and notably, they will add a Toy Story world. To participate in Early Access, you must purchase a Founder’s Pack, but the game will be free to play when it officially launches, scheduled for 2023.
Basically, what I retain from my experience in valley Of Dreamlight, is that the game has a lot of potential, but we will have to wait to really know in which direction it will go; A life simulator where you can relax in an idyllic valley where everything is simple, or a place that tests your patience, where you have to waste hours and hours collecting resources so you don’t miss a thing? Only the future will tell us!
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