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Developed and published by Gameloft. Dreamlight Valley is a simulation/adventure game that was released on the Playstation 4/5, Xbox One, Series S/X, and PC on the 6th of September 2022.
Move Over Animal Crossing
Is there anything more satisfying in gaming than a well-executed simulation video game? Over the last few years, there has been a rise in the popularity when it comes to simulation. The likes of Stardew Valley, Story Of Seasons, and Power Wash Simulator. But to take the crown from Animal Crossing in family-friendly games is something that no one has managed to do. Now we have Dreamlight Valley capturing the hearts of gamers but is it really that good?
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The story of Dreamlight Valley tells us of the idyllic town of Dreamlight Valley that has lived in harmony before the Forgetting happened. A sort of curse that’s spread through the town and left night thorns in its wake. These night thorns have also severed the memories of the local residents so it’s down to you to restore the town and get rid of the curse forever.
Disney/Pixar and real-time simulation are a mixture made in heaven. The idea of helping restore a town with some of Disney’s favourites was the stuff we only dreamed about as kids, but Dreamlight Valley hits the spot. Going fishing, planting a garden, building and decorating a house are all part and parcel when it comes to playing this game.
What makes Dreamlight Valley stand out among others in the same genre is the fact that the whole gameplay is set in real-time. Meaning that if you play at midnight and it’s raining outside. Then it will also be midnight and raining in the game as well. Gameplay like that can have its advantages but it can also have its disadvantages.
When it comes to quests it really is a game that just doesn’t stop. You will never get bored of things to do. Whether it be helping out the town’s residents, tending to your garden, decorating your house, or just going to do a light spot of fishing. The possibilities are endless and you can easily put in more hours than you would think. It’s not just about doing quests for other characters though.
Each character has a level and the more you do for that person it will upgrade giving you more opportunities later on. Resources and money are generally easy to find so you won’t have a problem on that part. There is one problem that you will come across in Dreamlight Valley and that is the camera. Sometimes it feels like you are fighting the camera just to get around the map. Plus there is the fact that you cant run.
Now while this may not be a problem for some people I myself find it incredibly slow to walk around everywhere. Having the ability to run would make the game better and would also make it move at a quicker pace.
Graphics and Audio
Upon its first couple of days of release, the game had many graphical flaws. Textures taking a while to load in, long loading screens, objects and crops just randomly glitching out. But thankfully the developers have given the game an update and it plays a lot smoother now. As for the graphics overall they are great. Bright and colourful while also not too bright that they feel like they burn your eyes. All the Disney and Pixar characters look exactly like they do in the movies.
The audio is the one true downfall of Dreamlight Valley. Each character has only a couple of lines of dialogue and they sound like their movie counterparts. 95% of the dialogue is in text form. If the game was fully voice acted then it would make you feel for the characters more. But reading the text just seems like a chore and most of the time you will be skipping it because the speed at which it scrolls along is painfully slow.
As Dreamlight Valley is a real-time simulator the gameplay time all depends on how much effort you want to put into the game. The game could run for years as there are always things to do and tend to do. One hour can easily turn into thirty hours. Then that can turn into a month. Especially as quests and activities reset each day so there is always something to go back and do.
But it’s a game that is impossible to do in one sitting. With it being done in real-time. The idea is to pace yourself and not wear yourself out because you are in for the long haul here.
My final thoughts on Dreamlight Valley are that after a shaky start, the game has built up some speed and is an enjoyable game to play for a few hours. The nostalgia is there for Disney fans with the likes of Goofy and Minnie Mouse. Then there is the appeal for the new generation with Moana and Frozen. It has the potential to be really addictive if Disney adds new characters sometime in the future, like Star Wars, then it will certainly hold a place in gamers’ hearts.
With that in mind, I am going to give Dreamlight Valley the Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.
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