When Disney Dreamlight Valley was first revealed for Xbox Game Pass a few months ago, we didn't quite know what to expect from it. Was it more like The Sims or Disneyland Adventures? Well, it's actually a bit of both, and it also incorporates plenty of familiar elements from games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley. The good news is that we've been pretty impressed with it so far, and can definitely see ourselves sticking with it.
We've only put a few hours into Disney Dreamlight Valley, so we're not giving a score or anything like that for now, but we can at least tell you a bit of what it's about. Basically, once you've created your avatar, you're dropped on a Disney island that's been taken over by an evil force called The Forgetting, shrouding the island in darkness and covering it with Night Thorns. With the help of various Disney characters, it's your job to restore the island to its former glory.
To do this, you'll need to earn "Dreamlight" by completing various tasks. Each character gives you adventure-style quests to complete which will take up plenty of your time, but you'll also want to focus on growing and harvesting crops, cooking, mining, fishing and much more as you progress. Once you've collected a certain amount of Dreamlight, you'll be able to unlock a new area of the map or visit a new Disney character's realm.
Although the gameplay is intentionally somewhat basic, it's also packed with a fair bit of depth, such as the vast number of recipes you can collect for cooking purposes, along with the multitude of different quests that characters will send you on. We'll give you an example - we collected enough Dreamlight to visit the Moana world where we completed a few tasks and convinced Moana to come back with us to Dreamlight Valley (and then built her a house in our chosen location). Then, we were summoned to return to Maui who was upset that Moana had left him, and he reluctantly agreed to come to Dreamlight Valley if we brought him some high-quality meals first, which meant we needed to discover some three-star recipes, find the ingredients, and then cook them for him.
This is the sort of gameplay you'll be engaging in, although there's also another major element to Disney Dreamlight Valley in the form of customisation. Over time, you'll find new clothes for your avatar, along with items to decorate the valley and your personal house, especially once you've unlocked Scrooge McDuck's cosmetics store. This is where things get a bit Sims-like, and you can even go as far as creating your own t-shirt for your avatar. Some of the customisation controls are a little clunky, but you get used to them pretty quickly.
Based on some very early impressions, then, we're having a good time with Disney Dreamlight Valley so far, aside from a few bugs that we've encountered (hopefully patched out by the time you play this!). The game is now available on Xbox Game Pass with a free-to-play release occurring in 2023, and fortunately paid content is only limited to cosmetics for now, along with plans to implement "purchasable expansions" in the future.
So, is Disney Dreamlight Valley worth a download on Xbox Game Pass? It's a yes from us!