Games of 2022: the promising world of Disney’s Dreamlight Valley underway

2022 has been full of farming and life-sim games, though Disney’s Dreamlight Valley stands out to me from the rest of the crop. Even in its early access state (paid or via Xbox Game Pass), its in-development storybook world is already unfolding in a warm and cozy Animal Crossing. I love its deep customization and unexpected focus on story – especially the character and often hilarious interactions between its heroes and villains. Above all, though, it was the game’s promise of further expansion that intrigued me.

Disney Dreamlight Valley is mostly set in a group of biomes that you gradually unlock and tame as you please, eventually turning each land into a suitable home for the many Disney and Pixar characters you befriend. At the center of it all is the game’s castle – a mix of Disneyland’s iconic centerpiece with the hub experience found in Mario 64’s Princess Peach’s house.

Disney’s Dreamlight Valley full release isn’t until 2023, but there’s plenty to do before that.

Inside this castle, you’ll find dozens of portals leading to each of the Disney and Pixar character worlds, though there’s only one slice of each available to visit – a bustling Ratatouille kitchen, the Bonnie’s bedroom from Toy Story 3, the Enchanted Forest from Frozen 2. It’s here that you’ll welcome other faces of Disney to your vale as you slowly uncover more of her mysterious history. And it’s also here, in the castle, that I’m most excited.

How many more characters will Dreamlight Valley get? How far will his story go further? There are, teases, dozens and dozens of doors yet to be opened, and trips to the game’s Discord server full of ravenous fans, there are millions of Valley dwellers now waiting to find out, hoping for their favourites. The Disney and Pixar content vault is vast – and why yes, an Aladdin world would be lovely, thank you.

If it seems odd to you to be the most excited about things that aren’t in the game yet, I get it! It’s a bit like walking past a construction site and being intrigued by the various skeletons of buildings, pipes, and scaffolding, though I know it’s going to turn into a fairly standard building. Yet I also unabashedly love seeing it all come together over time.

For now, the game’s roadmap looks relatively straightforward, with a few additional characters already seen in early trailers (Cinderella and Belle) expected to appear before the game hits its 1.0 release. After that, Disney Dreamlight Valley is expected to switch to a free model, but what that will look like remains to be seen. With enough to continue playing, I’m in the game. Will it stick landing on its full launch? I can’t wait to find out.

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