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Disney Dreamlight Valley

Disney Dreamlight Valley


Release Date

ESRB Rating




Bob Hoose

Game Review

Ever since Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons swept through the gaming world during the stay-at-home pandemic years, gamemakers have been attempting to create and offer up the next great social simulation adventure. You know, a build-and-forage game aimed at farming, redecorating and strengthening a virtual community. And after a year in early access, Gameloft games has finally released its shot at that championship title.

Disney Dreamlight Valley lets gamers leave the hustle-and-bustle of real life behind for a lark in a make-believe place called Dreamlight Valley, a small town that’s home to an enchanted castle and a bunch of recognizable Disney stars.

At first this colorful burg doesn’t seem so wish-upon-a-star magical. After creating an avatar, players meet a very frazzled Merlin who can’t remember how to, well, do much of anything about the state of his town and its surrounding areas.

Dreamlight Valley has been overcome by something called The Forgetting. This curse not only incapacitates the residents by stealing away their memories, but it has infested the land with thorny growths and foul, smoking debris, leaving businesses and homes boarded up. It requires some outside magical help to abracadabra away patches of thorns and a little muscle to rebuild and replant the town.

Gamers are initially given a home and asked to find a set of royal tools—a watering can, a shovel, a fishing pole and an ax set in a stone—and then must fulfill a series of quests. They meet famous Disney pals in the form of Mickey, Goofy, Scrooge McDuck and the like, then help them rebuild their lives.

The goal is to clean up the locale, develop friendships, craft items and rid the world of that life-ruining blight. To do all this they mine rocks with a pickaxe; plant flowers and vegetables; fish the local ponds; craft everything from sturdy chairs to swimming pools; sell things; rearrange the landscape and its buildings; build flourishing friendships; and customize their clothes and home.

Gamers can play Dreamlight Valley offline, but the game encourages online play to claim special prizes and make microtransactions. Players can also play co-op and multiplayer, but that play does require an online connection.


Dreamlight Valley is a colorful and fun game that’s easy to navigate. Players can explore numerous layers of maps, menus, inventories and crafting options, but the game repeatedly reminds players how to make their way through. (There is one limitation noted below.)

The various Disney characters tend to be positive role models (again, with one exception listed below). And the game repeatedly encourages the benefits of making good friends, being kind to others and working hard for a common positive goal.

Parents can even use the gameplay to point out the benefits of helping others, turning away from rude behavior and putting effort into daily chores and household duties.


This is a land of magic and curses. Even though most of the game’s action is focused on repairing and building positive things, players do use “magic” and must push back against a smoldering corruptive curse upon the land.

The only negative character trait on display comes from the greedy Scrooge McDuck. It’s played comically, but it’s also a bit ironic because the game offers real money microtransactions to help players avoid some of the grinding elements of gathering gameworld cash and the like. It’s the sort of stuff that you might encounter in a free-to-play game, even though Disney Dreamlight Valley is a full-price title. (Accessing those microtransactions is, however, not required.)

Young gamers must be able to read during interactions with characters.


Disney Dreamlight Valley can seem a tad Scrooge McDuck greedy at times, but all in all it offers life-sim fun with a twist of Mickey and the gang.

Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.