February 22, 2024

Is Disney Dreamlight Valley similar to Animal Crossing? Biggest differences

If you’re a fan of farming and life simulations, you’re probably curious to know if Disney Dreamlight Valley is like Animal Crossing and other popular titles within the genre. Stay tuned for more information on what these games have in common and what sets them apart.

Disney Dreamlight Valley, developed and published by Gameloft, is finally approaching its full release after spending a year in Early Access. The life sim features a star-studded cast of beloved Disney characters from both modern stories and classics. You’ll meet familiar faces like Goofy and Moana as you work to restore Dreamlight Valley to its glory days by clearing out pesky Night Thorns with your magic. Of course, your favorite characters will also lend a helping hand if you need it. The game certainly reflects Disney’s appeal, but can the gameplay rival that of popular titles like Animal Crossing? Let’s explore the similarities and differences.

Is Disney Dreamlight Valley similar to Animal Crossing?

In the sense that both Disney Dreamlight Valley and Animal Crossing offer genre staples like cooking, farming, interacting with a cast of unique characters, and activities like fishing and digging, the two titles are remarkably similar. That said, almost every farming and life simulation today uses these practices. All together, There’s a lot more that sets these games apart than brings them together.


Disney Dreamlight Valley Cozy Edition CIB

Disney Dreamlight Valley Cozy Edition CIB

  • Discover the Secrets of Dreamlight Valley – Free the Dream Castle from the treacherous grasp of the Forgotten Ones and unlock the unique realms of beloved Disney and Pixar characters. Each Realm has its own challenges, with puzzles to solve and friends to bring back to Dreamlight Valley.
  • You start your adventure in the Valley and discover inspiring locations. Discover what lurks in the darkest corners of the Valley and brave the deepest caverns as you take on the challenges of iconic Disney and Pixar heroes and villains. Who knows what – or who – you might discover.
  • Make friends with Disney and Pixar characters – Garden with WALLE, cook with Remy or kick back and fish with Goofy. What better way to collect, farm and rebuild the valley than with a friend! From friendly princesses to nefarious villains, each resident of Dreamlight Valley brings their own storyline, quests and rewards. Meet for daily hangouts and make friends with some of your favorite Disney and Pixar characters.
  • Restore the Valley to its Former Glory – Free the Valley from the clutches of forgetting and return Dreamlight Valley to its former greatness by making it your own. In Dreamlight Valley you can build the perfect neighborhood that suits you, with a fully customizable layout, creative landscaping and thousands of decorative items. Do you settle on the beach next to Moana, or do you call Buzz Lightyear your neighbor on the Plaza?
  • Express your Disney Style – Bring out your inner princess, villain or something in between! Create unique outfits and decorate your home with thousands of fantastic items. With the Touch of Magic tool you can even create your own designs with Disney and Pixar motifs! Using the in-game camera, you can take a sunset selfie with Mirabel, create a culinary creation with Remy, or simply cherish a moment.

Biggest differences between Disney Dreamlight Valley and Animal Crossing

Emphasis on RPG aspects

While your experience is generally more self-governing as you work to pay off debts and increase the rank of your city or island in Animal Crossing, the gameplay in Disney Dreamlight Valley is much more narratively driven. Gameloft’s life simulation can also be described as a role-playing game in this sense, as quests and initiatives take priority when it comes to making progress.

Instead, I would compare Dreamlight Valley to Harvest Moon: The Winds of Anthos, another recent release in the genre. Cozy and casual aspects exist in both worlds, where gameplay is streamlined by an ongoing story.

Contrasting art styles

Both Disney and the Animal Crossing franchise are known for their definitive art styles. These two also allow you to add personal touches to your avatar through skin, hair and eye color, as well as a wide variety of clothing options. However, from a stylistic point of view, these two games couldn’t be more different.

Dreamlight Valley features whimsically designed characters from the past, as well as newcomers from the past decade, created with realistic proportions and features. Good examples are Elsa and Moana. Animal Crossing, on the other hand, uses a chibi-like art style that gives the characters less facial and body detail while emphasizing expressions and individual aesthetics.

Adjustment of the above-ground city

Disney Dreamlight Valley offers off-the-grid customization options, just like The Sims. This allows you to occupy large spaces at once and comfortably decide on layouts and designs. However, Animal Crossing takes the opposite approach and instead focuses on the little things. In the latest release, New Horizons, you can literally carve out slopes and waterways by hand, working with individual tiles. This also applies to the interior design. Depending on how you prefer to approach city building, this aspect of the two games can be quite polarizing.


Nintendo Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Nintendo Switch (European version)Nintendo Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Nintendo Switch (European version)

Nintendo Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Nintendo Switch (European version)

  • Build your community from scratch on a desert island full of possibilities; Create your personal getaway and customize your character, home, decorations and even the landscape itself
  • Collect materials to build everything from furniture to tools! Then use what you create to give your island a personal touch
  • See how the time of day and seasons match real life, even your hemisphere! Every day offers the potential for surprises and discoveries
  • Meet the islanders, garden, fish, decorate, hunt for fossils and more!
  • Show off your paradise – play on the same system with a total of 4 people, or play together online or via local wireless for fun with up to 8 players

Disney Dreamlight Valley USA Animal Crossing – The bottom line

Among farming and life simulations, Disney Dreamlight Valley and Animal Crossing aren’t entirely comparable, although they do share similarities. In many ways, these franchises exist in their own leagues. Parallels can be drawn between the staples of the genre, including cozy and fun practices that involve decorating your home or town, cooking, and interacting with other characters. However, the similarity seems to end there.

If you’re an Animal Crossing fan on the fence about playing Disney Dreamlight Valley, I encourage you to consider your favorite aspects of the classic Nintendo franchise, as core elements are present in Gameloft’s upcoming release. On the other hand, those who see room for improvement in the growing number of Animal Crossing episodes may find what they’re looking for in the next Disney classic.

For more information about Disney Dreamlight Valley and other titles, check out these related guides from our team:

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