A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Main premise is to clean up the village and help its residents along the way. Positive messages include helping others, the importance of chores and cleanliness, and watching your good deeds benefit others. Only Scrooge McDuck delivers negative messages, which focus on greed and money.
Positive Role Models
Almost every character represents a good role model (except for the money-hungry Scrooge McDuck). The player is encouraged by various characters to make friends, be kind, and clean up, with the goal of helping the town as a whole. Collaborative kindness is a massive theme.
Avatar creation is uniquely diverse and inclusive. Players choose from multiple shades of skin color and body types when creating their avatar, as well as feminine, masculine, or androgynous presenting bodies. Body types are not labeled "male" or "female." Players can also select for their avatar to display vitiligo-like pigmentation, with multiple skin color options. Different body weights and culturally sensitive hair styles are available. Bindis, headscarves, and turbans can be added. Facial hair options are available for any gender presentation.
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Ease of Play
The open-world style allows players to take their time, exploring different regions of the map at their own pace. Controls and commands are very easy to grasp, and tutorials are available to refer back to throughout the entire game. Multiple graphic adjustment settings are available to allow for a smooth playthrough no matter what your system is.
Violence & Scariness
Occasional mild peril and mysterious music occur throughout, but it's no more than a traditional kids' game would typically display.
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Products & Purchases
The wide release has a base price of $29.99 but also contains transactions to "enhance gameplay." Founders Packs are available to purchase at different price points, providing the player with different levels of in-game merchandise, clothing, furniture, and currency. Microtransactions exist but are limited and focus exclusively on cosmetic items. Further paid DLC (downloadable content) expansions have been announced.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Disney Dreamlight Valley is a downloadable open-world simulation game for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Mac. It drops the player into a colorful fantasy world where they are the hero. The plot encourages kids to help other characters for the good of the whole, make new friends, and think creatively. Players can customize their clothes, body, house, and the entire town in any way they please, encouraging creative expression in young players. Characters are all classic Disney and Pixar characters, and dialogue options when speaking to them provide options that could be classified as kind or rude. Characters can respond positively or have their feelings hurt if the player speaks to them in a certain way, teaching young players appropriate social skills. While there's occasional peril, there's nothing inappropriate for young kids. Downloadable content has been announced for the game, and various microtransactions are available to add costumes, furniture, and other items to the game.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of simulation and open-world games will latch on to this adventure easily. Disney Dreamlight Valley provides an incredibly unique and innovative set of inclusive avatar customizations, making sure that every player can live out their own life in the Valley, if that's what they wish. The user interface is very easy to navigate, despite its seemingly endless system of maps, guides, tutorials, tools, and point systems. Dreamlight Valley provides the navigation for players to explore and experience the world it has built without the stress of forgetting where something is or which button does what -- the game repeatedly reminds you of how to play it.
Additionally, while this game can easily be enjoyed by any age group, it's a perfect open-world introduction for younger players, with an unintimidating (but spacious) map to explore. Life skills are constantly being taught, from kindness to the importance of friendship and doing deeds simply because it is the right thing to do -- not because you receive a reward. These skills, coupled with the extensive world for players to craft into their own, make Dreamlight Valley a dream in itself for parents and kids alike.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.