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I want to keep playing Disney Dreamlight Valley. I spent days gathering supplies to help Donald Duck rebuild his houseboat that washed up on the shores of Dazzle Beach; I’ve upgraded Goofy’s vegetable stands; I collected flowers for Minnie Mouse to give to Mickey. Look: I’m doing this for the power of friendship – even for the Disney and Pixar characters I don’t care about, like stinky Kristoff from Frozen or Rapunzel’s bad mother who keeps telling me I look awful.
Dreamlight Valley has drawn many comparisons with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and for good reason: it’s the Disney and Pixar-esque life simulation that’s filled with beloved movie characters rather than Animal Crossing villagers. You do many of the same things: fishing, gardening, collecting flowers and recipes, and making friends with the people in the area. It’s a comfortable kind of repetition that fans of the genre know and love, something you can easily slip in and out of, even with the ever-present appeal of “I’ll just do one more thing.”
The big difference here is that Dreamlight ValleyThe Disney and Pixar characters all have their own friendship missions, in addition to the game’s overarching main mission. Even as an average Disney fan, someone who’s nostalgic for the franchises but has a waning interest as an adult, it’s wonderful to mingle with beloved characters — Minnie, for example, who ends most conversations by telling me she’s mine. or Moana, whose cheerful, adventurous spirit makes me dizzy. Combine these interactions with the instrumental swell of Disney’s classic songs and the kid in me gets shivers.
The main motivation of Dreamlight Valley seems to build relationships. It’s what makes up the fabric of life there, a kind of currency that makes all that wonder – and wander – possible. It made me think a lot about friendships, not just those in games, but also in my own life.
I don’t know. Maybe that’s cheesy. But after I put the power of friendship in my ears for the 19 hours I put into it Dreamlight ValleyThe sentimentality has rubbed off on me. The game has sparked a bit of childish joy in me, a kind of concern that I want to bring back into my own life and relationships. Dreamlight Valley puts friendship in its simplest forms – acts of kindness, service and quality time. I spend so much time thinking about how hard it is to make connections – especially as an adult – but I don’t think it has to be. The pressures of life (and capitalism) make me so tired that I tend to forget what really matters.
And so I like the spirit of Dreamlight Valley; it makes repetition comforting. For the most part, it didn’t feel like a chore doing in-game chores because I know with every step a new layer comes loose around the best parts of Dreamlight Valley. But the key phrase here is “for the most part”. Dreamlight Valleys had some major balancing issues with its finite resources, stuff you can find and collect around the world. Dream Shards were a terrible problem, and for a while the lack of them caused me to be taken out of the game; all my friends were locked up in their houses until i could give the amount i needed, and that took a while.
Fortunately, Gameloft has fixed that and Dream Shards are less scarce after a patch on Thursday. But the developer has not made any changes to other resources that were problematic for players, such as flowers or other collected items that reappear terribly slowly, quests cease again.
Because Dreamlight Valley is an early access title, it feels a lot easier to forgive the technical issues. Everything else – the friendship and magic of it all – is special, and once it’s had its full, official release, it’s a game that has a good chance of coming down from the bottom. Animal Crossing: New horizonsshadow and stand alone.