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After two months of early access, does this Disney-style Animal Crossing hold up against competitors? Test.

Who has never imagined living a dream life in an enchanted world where the stake of the world rests only on a few crops and good relations with its neighbors? Life simulation games have followed this common thread for years now. veterans such as Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing established the codes of the genre and gave birth to real nuggets. After modern successes like Stardew Valley or Story of Seasons, a new competitor enters the ring and promises to be talked about.

The charm of these enchanting games blends with the magic of the Disney studios to offer an ever more magical experience. From this association results Disney Dreamlight Valley, a simulation designed for fans of Walt’s studios. The cult cartoons of our childhood come to life in a world accessible to all. Developed by Gameloft, the title is available in early access since September 6 on PC, Switch, Xbox and PlayStation. Following the first two months of activity, it is time to take stock of whether or not this title has a future among life simulations and more broadly on the service game market.

My avatar and the castle in Dreamlight Valley. Credits: Disney / Gameloft

Gameplay inspired by the best

Disney Dreamlight Valley is strong because he very quickly manages to prove that he is not a pale copy of his competitors. In reality, it is a real tribute to the pioneers of the genre that the title of Gameloft offers us. However, games of this type have multiplied in recent years so that it becomes difficult to stand out.

In this market in the process of being saturated, only Stardew Valley has managed to make a name for itself in recent years by taking a classic formula that has been brought up to date. Kind of Harvest Moon modern with classic graphics, the elements all came together for an obvious success. However, the case of Disney Dreamlight Valley is far from similar. The farming and harvesting aspect is present, but the form is new.

Credits: Disney / Gameloft

The usual top view is replaced by a third person perspective giving a new dimension to this type of game. With a cartoonish and colorful art directionall carried by simple but effective 3D graphicssome will no doubt find the graphic paste they appreciate in Animal Crossing. The inspiration on the Nintendo gaming side doesn’t stop there and Disney Dreamlight Valley also comes to borrow its time flow system.

One day in real life equals one day in game. But by only adopting the strengths of its competitors, how does the title manage to shine? A sort of hybrid between the classics of the genre, Gameloft and Disney offer us experience life simulation from a new perspective. The efforts are felt and the gameplay enters into almost perfect symbiosis with the universe of the firm with big ears.

A fan-tailored experience

Unsurprisingly, the charm of the game works because the Disney licenses are perfectly suited to the proposed genre. Repairing a decrepit valley to help the character of our childhood while becoming their neighbor and friend is a more than effective mechanism. The inner child in all of us will enjoy carrying out the many quests offered by the inhabitants of the valley. Nevertheless, the Disney dimension is so ubiquitous that a lack of attachment to this universe can quickly harm the appeal of the title.

These evil brambles keep coming back… Credits: Disney / Gameloft

The game is very clearly thought for the fans, and although this is its strength for the target audience, this choice will certainly put off many players. However, if you are an aficionado of all things Disney, you will find your account there. The multitude of biomes and characters offered allows everyone to meet the idols of their childhood. Whether you are Lion King, Little Mermaid or even Frozen, the inhabitants of these magical kingdoms can all be found in Disney Dreamlight Valley.

These offer their own quests that lead to often funny and cute little events, creating a sincere impression of friendship. The personality of the characters is respectedthe French dubbing is mastered and the nostalgia is there. Interactions are natural and far from the almost robotic animals that just repeat themselves in Animal Crossing New Horizons.

Also, the different rewards that can be obtained are faithful to the films and their universes, but also refer to the Disney parks. Theme park enthusiasts will be particularly happy to find the famous Spirit Jersey to create an outfit with an incomparable style. Finally, the Magic Touch mode allows you to customize each cosmetic piece to create unique outfits. In addition to an extensive and easy-to-access avatar creation, customization is certainly one of the title’s biggest strengths.

An efficient and respectful serving game

Playing the game for two months made it possible to see the evolution of the game over a short period of time. Disney Dreamlight Valley is intended as a service game. Even if early access is paid for by purchasing a founder’s pack, the title will become free-to-play when it is officially released in 2023. Thus, the goal is to provide regularly updated content to captivate players over time, while basing game revenue on optional cosmetic content. This model applied to a life simulation was cause for concern, but it is not.

Credits: Disney / Gameloft

Gameloft and Disney create a surprise by offering an almost invisible economic system. Unlike simulations of the genre found on mobile in particular, no energy system based on real-time recovery is implemented. Thus, no need to spend real money to continue undertaking tasks. In-game currency in the form of “moon stones” allows you to buy the premium version of “the way of the stars”, the equivalent of the battle pass. As a result, exclusive outfits and furniture around a defined theme allow you to personalize your little virtual world even more.

However, no excessive spending is forced on the player. It is perfectly possible to enjoy the magical world of Dreamlight Valley and to advance the story and the development of friendships without having to spend a single penny. In addition to offering free progression, updates are regular and come to evolve the world. The amount of content allows you to have fun for hours without getting bored. Succeeding in completing everything is not the objective of the game which invites you to escape into a magical universe which promotes relaxation and friendship. Despite everything, completionists will be able to take pleasure in going about the different occupations offered to unlock everything.

Finally, the time in game passing in the same way as in the real world, the events offered are in communion with our calendar. The first Halloween celebration was accompanied by the arrival of Scar and a multitude of decorations to be obtained through free quests or the Way of the Stars. For the moment, the title is a real success and the attention given to its development bodes well for its future.

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