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Animal Crossing New Horizons Vs Disney Dreamlight Valley



Ever since Animal Crossing New Horizons first lay the foundations for a modern farming simulation-type world, countless other games of a similar style have come to flourish. An example here would be Disney Dreamlight Valleya magic-infused life simulation game that incorporates all the same mechanics as the aforementioned Nintendo hit, but essentially adds a loveable Disney-Pixar twist to the mix. Of course, with the two bouncing off of one another and profiting from all the same material, it does raise one irresistibly timeless question: which of the two is actually better to play?

While you could very well settle for the simple fact that both New Horizons and Dreamlight Valley are one and the same, there are actually a few minor components that make the two subtly different. At each of their cores, they're both farming sims, clear as day; however, if you was to look a little closer, you'd notice that there's more to each respective formula. So, if you are somewhat new to the genre and aren't overly sure which IP to pour your itchy green thumbs into, then be sure to read on. Animal Crossing New Horizons or Disney Dreamlight Valley — which one is better?

What Waits Beyond the Horizon?

The premise behind both New Horizons and Dreamlight Valley isn't anything out of the ordinary. On the contrary, it's actually a story we've seen numerous times before, and yet it remains one of the most familiarly comforting concepts in modern gaming. To add context, you begin your journey as a fish-out-of-water villager—a waylaid traveler who's set on transforming the frail roots of an old biome into a full-fledged bustling community. As the unofficial acting governor, you are tasked with revamping each individual borough, piece by piece, mainly in the hopes of nurturing it back to its former glory.

As both games tend to stick to a non-linear format, it does mean you can take a lot of the narrative in your stride. It's because of this that, unlike a lot of in-your-face RPGs, you are never forced to progress deeper into the story. Instead, the world is your oyster, and at no point does either game teeter towards a certain crescendo without your input. To this end, both New Horizons and Dreamlight Valley are timeless, and in no way, shape, or form, dependent on your ability to shovel through in a timely manner.

Granted, New Horizons' story is a little easier to wrap your head around than Dreamlight Valley. In short, your purpose is to fulfil deeds given to you by Tom Nook, expand your community, and pay off your mortgage by cooking, fishing, and scavenging natural resources found around the island. This is all textbook stuff, and it only takes roughly forty minutes or so to bypass the prologue and unlock the keys to the entire world. After that, well, it's really a case of letting your creativity do the talking.

And the Valley?

Dreamlight Valley , on the other hand, leans a little more towards telling an actual story, as it asks that you not only build your community, but also use your newly appointed magical abilities to tackle the Night Thorns—an evil plant that has the power to remove its former citizens' memories altogether. It's your role in this whole conundrum, basically, to unlock the various Disney worlds, recruit their figureheads to your village, and embark on a slew of quests to help restore their memories.

As it stands, Dreamlight Valley is only in its alpha phase, which means there is still plenty more to explore as the updates continue to roll out. And what's more, the content that the game does currently have is already punching upwards of twenty-plus hours worth, whereas the main “storyline” in New Horizons isn't quite at the same benchmark. In fact, you can just about complete the main objective in New Horizons in a few fairly drawn-out sittings. After that, your game is pretty much an open book, and it's entirely your call whether or not you want to continue with evolving your island, or chalk up the line and move elsewhere. So, if you're after a game that'll be around for the long haul, then we'd definitely recommend picking up Dreamlight Valley.

Quests & Activities

It's all well and good being stapled to the position of unofficial governor of a tropical or magic-imbued island, but what is it you're actually supposed to do as such? Well, therein lies the cliché farming simulator formula — you farm. And not only that, but you also cook, fish, mine, and essentially develop your friendship levels with the folks around your community. To this end, there isn't a great difference between the two, though in all fairness, Dreamlight Valley does favor a more intricate progression system, whereas New Horizons simply lets you speak to neighbors and not a whole lot else.

In Dreamlight Valley, each and every character you unlock comes with a progression system and corresponding story arc—a chain of quests that you can follow by leveling up your friendships from zero to ten. To add an additional layer to this, earning enough XP and completing a single story arc can take anywhere from a day to a week. And with dozens of worlds prepped for DLC, one can certainly begin to imagine how many hours of content Dreamlight Valley will have to tackle in the near future.

But Is It Fun?

Generally speaking, both New Horizons and Dreamlight Valley are fun games to play—especially on quiet afternoons when there's not a whole lot else going on in the day-to-day. Gameplay-wise, neither of the two are even remotely demanding, and ask only that you give them the time of day to gradually nudge nearer and nearer to a perfect portrait of a world that you and you alone will create from scratch.

Let it be said that if you are on the hunt for a shorter game with a slower moving storyline, then you should definitely settle for Animal Crossing New Horizons. If, however, you're wanting to stick with something for the long haul, then Dreamlight Valley has more than enough in its backlog to keep you ticking away for weeks, months, and maybe even years. The question is: how much time are you willing to invest? If time isn't an issue, though, then both games are equally as entertaining as the next, and can ultimately provide more than enough value for money than most bog-standard triple-A titles on the modern market.


So, what's your take? Do you agree with our opinion? Are you a fan of either Dreamlight Valley or Animal Crossing New Horizons? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.