So I guess following Disney’s predatory games is just a thing for me now. I’ve been throwing myself into free games like Mirrorverse, Magic Kingdom, and Speedstorm out of professional curiosity and personal interest (Disney Adult, guilty) and everything I’ve seen so far has been the worst that f2p has to offer. I wasn’t particularly surprised to find aggressive and manipulative sales methods and systems designed to appeal to mobile game addicts from studios like Gameloft, Kabam and Netmarble (look at you, Future Revolution), but I am somewhat surprised to see that Gameloft brings the sensibilities of mobile design to the PC and console with games like Speedstorm and Disney Dreamlight Valley. This new generation of free to play is nothing more than the worst that mobile has to offer, now on the Nintendo Switch. As someone with intimate experience spending a lot of money on Gachapon games, I give you these words of caution: Dreamlight Valley is not what it seems.
There was a new trailer for the upcoming Disney Dreamlight Valley during this week’s Nintendo Direct Partner Spotlight, and I’m seeing a lot of excitement for it again. The headlines call it Disney Animal Crossing – a relaxed life simulation where you travel to different Disney worlds, farming, building, designing, and helping your favorite Disney characters recover their lost memories. You can take selfies with Ursula. You can cook soup with Remy. You can go fishing with Olaf. What a pleasure! What a freak! I’m not saying that you can’t do all these fun things, I’m just saying that you are more likely to have to pay money to play this game, and the longer you play the more it costs.
It might be surprising to hear that a free-to-play mobile-style game is coming to consoles, but I’ve played other Disney games from Gameloft, including the upcoming kart racer Disney Speedstorm, which are basically just little boxes where you can dump cash and upgrade items to come out. . Disney Magic Kingdoms, a mobile game with an almost identical concept to Dreamlight Valley, is a Gachapon filled with loot boxes that reward random characters and upgrade items. Progression is determined by time and material availability, so at a certain point early in the game your ability to improve and move forward is significantly reduced unless you are willing to start pushing to speed up timers and buy resources. It’s a fairly standard mobile game, all things considered, but it gives us a good picture of how Dreamlight Valley works.
Despite being a kart racer, Disney Speedstorm operates in much the same way, and will be on Switch, PlayStation, Xbox and PC this year. I have written about predatory microtransaction systems in this game, but in short, you can spend money to make your kart faster and beat your opponents with ease. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like a very fun racing game, unless, of course, you’re the one who spends all the money.
We don’t know what kind of monetization model Dreamlight Valley will have, but we do know that it will. It’s confirmed to be free to play, and the fine print on the game’s website says a few things. There will be a Founder’s Pack on sale that offers in-game currency, cosmetics, and more, as well as early access to the game when it launches in September. The FAQ also mentions “Purchasable expansion options to improve gameplay.”
Dreamlight Valley probably wouldn’t be a miserable wasteland for Mickey Mouse slot machines and money-spending opportunities in a high-pressure environment, but I have no reservations about prejudging this game. Gameloft has earned its reputation as a scam company that designs casinos disguised as video games, and even its latest game, Speedstorm, is already showing all signs of being another very expensive scam targeting kids with “premium” ads and gameplay. Dreamlight Valley wants you to think it’s Disney Animal Crossing, but just wait until you start seeing in-game ads for power packs and guaranteed 4-star character draws. I bet they started popping up within the first hour and never stopped.
Next: Disney Mirrorverse Is Too Close To Not Being A Mobile Game Recycle Bin