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Stardew Valley meets Animal Crossing in delightful Xbox Game Pass freebie

Stardew Valley meets Animal Crossing in delightful Xbox Game Pass freebie

If you're a fan of Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, you should definitely take a look at Disney Dreamlight Valley on Xbox Game Pass.

I’m constantly swamped by a mountain of games. To be quite honest, I’m perhaps actually swamped by two mountains. There’s the classic ‘to play’ backlog, and then there’s the pile of games you’re midway through.

It can be hard to keep up and prioritise, especially in a year like 2023. It’s no secret that this year has been stacked with back-to-back bangers. It’s usually no real difficulty narrowing the year’s releases down to six GOTY contenders. All six of this year’s nominees - Baldur’s Gate 3, Alan Wake II, Resident Evil 4, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder - could easily have taken home the title, with other worthy releases like Starfield, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Lies of P, and Street Fighter 6 missing out on nominations.

I’ve never known a year like it. Lately, I’ve been catching up on the most prominent 2023 games I missed upon release, but I also keep finding myself returning to a 2022 gem. It may not have won any major awards, but Disney Dreamlight Valley is well worth checking out if you’re a fan of Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, or if you’re simply looking for a magical low-stakes cosy adventure.

Take a look at Disney Dreamlight Valley in action below.

Disney Dreamlight Valley sees players awaken in the titular Dreamlight Valley, a place where childhood memories come to life. You’re soon greeted by Merlin who explains that the land’s leader is missing, leading it to become overrun with Night Thorns and ‘The Forgetting’. You guessed it, it’s up to you to restore Dreamlight Valley and help its residents, familiar Disney friends, regain their memories.

There are your standard ‘cosy game’ mechanics. You’ll be able to furnish your own homestead, complete with accompanying garden - perfect for growing produce for recipes. To do so, you’ll need to collect crafting supplies which can either be transformed into something new or sold for Star Coins. Star Coins allow you to buy new decorative items, clothing looks, and such like.

The thing is, as much as I adore these kinds of games, I almost always end up drifting away due to the open-ended nature of the gameplay. I get that that’s the point and appeal of the genre but time and time again, I tire of abandoning my builds. I can’t be alone. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is truly excellent, yet how many of us have neglected islands sitting on our Nintendo Switch consoles right now.

Disney Dreamlight Valley /

Disney Dreamlight Valley has, unlike other titles, kept me positively glued. I grew up adoring Disney films so naturally, that helps but it’s the way in which Disney Dreamlight Valley uses these characters that really makes the game excel for me. In order to progress, you’ll need to complete small tasks for the characters you encounter, eventually unlocking new areas packed with yet more familiar faces. You’ll begin in the Plaza, with the opportunity to later unlock Peaceful Meadow, Dazzle Beach, Forest Of Valor, Glade Of Trust, Sunlit Plateau, Frosted Heights, and Forgotten Lands.

You unlock these biomes using Dreamlight, another form of currency which you accrue by completing the aforementioned quests. For example, I want to touch upon reaching Frosted Heights which unlocks after reaching 10,000 Dreamlight. By this point, I was well acquainted with the crafting mechanics and had completed plenty of quests to get this far. I needed Disney Dreamlight Valley to throw something new my way to retain my interest.

I should’ve known this snowy biome would be home to Elsa’s ice palace, immersing me in a wondrous new environment. Okay Disney Dreamlight Valley, you have me hooked yet again with your silly castle. If you are a Disney fan, you don’t just gain better crafting capabilities or cosmetics as you progress throughout the game. You get the opportunity to dive into yet more Disney stories, encountering characters that you’ve perhaps had on the top of your Dreamlight Valley wishlist. The combination of ‘cosy game’ mechanics twinned with icons from the Disney roster is just, to be cheesy, too magical to resist.

Disney Dreamlight Valley /

Disney Dreamlight Valley has caused a tad of controversy in recent months. As I mentioned, the game did indeed release in 2022 although this was its early access period. It only launched in full on 5 December this year. It was due to be free-to-play upon launch but devs Gameloft ended up making Disney Dreamlight Valley a paid game which’ll set you back £32.99 on the PlayStation Store and £33.49 on the Nintendo eShop and Microsoft Store. You can also nab physical editions which may be on offer from time to time.

On top of this, land expansions are now ‘paid for’. The latest, A Rift in Time, launched alongside the full game on 5 December and introduces Rapunzel and Gaston. It’ll cost you approximately £24.99 on top of the price of the base game. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this pricing given what Gameloft originally promised but then again, having played a huge amount of Dreamlight Valley, I know the hours I’ve sunk in - and the total is far more than the hours I’ve spent playing certain £70 titles.

Luckily, Disney Dreamlight Valley - the base game at least - is available to download on Xbox Game Pass and I wholeheartedly suggest you use this fact as an excuse to try out what is a warm touch of magic you can keep on returning to when you need a dose of zen relaxation.

Featured Image Credit: Gameloft, Microsoft

Topics: Xbox Game Pass, Disney, Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing