Kingdom Hearts 3DS (Dream Drop Distance) makes its debut on the Nintendo 3DS and being one of the most ambitious upcoming titles and 7th (!!!) title in the series. Is it truly a dream to fall into or is it a nightmare filled with anthropomorphic creatures?
As the title teases. this game is not part 3 of the series but in fact, yet another spinoff. The “3” in the title is simply there because the game is in 3D (also 3 “D’s” in the title…get it?). You play as the lovable-yet-annoying Sora (voiced by Hayley Joel Osmond) and Riku, as they go into some kind of dreams to prove themselves as Keyblade masters. Yen Sid puts the two into separate trials revisiting worlds that have been destroyed and restores by the heartless. There, they are attacked by the Dream Eaters and encounter a few familiar faces.
There are seven “dream” keyholes to unlock which means there are at least 5 Disney themed stages. Some are as follows: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tron and Pinocchio. To say more would ruin the surprise so we’ll just leave it at that.
The gameplay has been improved compared to other portable titles. There aren’t as many platforming sections like past titles, which is good, since it always felt floaty, and instead focuses more on the action. Magic and simple attacks are very easy to use and understand; however, like all Kingdom Hearts titles Dream Drop Distance changes it’s layout and the way you improve and level up are always different. Birth by Sleep focused on combining items, Chains of Memories had a weird card game and Dream Drop Distance have Dream Eaters.
Dream Eaters are pretty much the core focus of the game. At first it’s very overwhelming and after–well–it’s still overwhelming. You can create Dream Eaters and they will fight by your side. They will level up and earn new abilities the more you use them. You can even combine your Dream Eaters to do special attacks once they are “linked” to your character. For Sora, when combined, will act like a summon and for Riku they will improve his overall attack and speed. You can train your Dream Eaters by playing various mini-games, like popping balloons, using the gyroscope motions to find treasure and much more. You can also feed them and pet them making it for an experience similar to that of Nintendogs.The overall experience is nice but does take a long time…only if you really want to level them up faster, otherwise you don’t have to even touch this point.The Dream Eaters can also be used in a mini-game called Flick Rush, in which you fight your Dream Eaters against other Dream Eaters in a sort of Pokémon battle-style gameplay. This alone can become addictive and is actually a lot of fun.
One of the (many) reasons as to why it’s called Dream Drop Distance is because, like mentioned earlier, you’re in a dream and can drop out at anytime. When you “drop” you’ll gain control of the other character. Basically if you play as Sora and drop, at the exact same time Riku’s storyline is going on in an alternate timeline, so you’re playing two very different characters at the same time. It’s very confusing at first but soon you’ll come to accept and enjoy the time limit. How you travel through different worlds is by “diving” through different worlds, replacing the God-awful Gummi ship segments and adding in a fun free-fall mission with objectives. It is nice to see two different stories taking place in the same world, but it’s strangely not repetitive as the two stories are varied enough to make it feel like a long level rather than a cheap decoy for time.
The newest gameplay is flow motion, this means you can kick off a wall, grind a rail, spin around a lamp post to make even bigger destruction towards your enemies all while being fluent and easy to control. This is the best addition and very easy to pull off and I hope they keep this feature in Kingdom Hearts 3…whenever that comes out.
The voice acting is fantastic and because of the corny writing, Sora voice is the only complain I have. Everyone else sounds fine and all do a great job at imitating the original voice actors. The music is also great with a great orchestrated version of “Simple and Clean” which acts as the games main theme. Also, beautiful opening.
The graphics look fantastic at a technical standpoint. The levels are massive in comparison to other Kingdom Hearts portable titles. I have encountered a little bit of slowdown when there would be a lot of action on the screen, but only when the 3D is turned on for some reason. The 3D effects are great as well adding in a nice depth-of-field while there are moments when objects appear to pop out. It’s not very often but when it happens you’ll notice.
Kingdom hearts 3DS is a great new title to the Kingdom Heart franchise. Its story is insane and becoming harder and harder to follow but the game tries its best to keep you update with glossary and back logs. Even if you’re new, you can jump right in and get an idea as to what’s going on. After major important events the game offers “chronicles” which pretty much sums up the story of past titles and tries its best to keep you updated. There are very long to read, but at least it’s something. The addition of flow motions is fantastic and the mini-game Nintendogs-esque Dream Eaters-Tamagotchi parts are a nuisance. Over all it’s a great title that offers easily 25+ hours of gameplay. If you own a 3DS seriously make this game part of your collection. For the Disney fans, the RPGS fans, the Nintendogs fans or for those who want a crazy storyline with a lot to offer. You can’t go wrong with Kingdom Hearts 3DS. Now…Square-Enix…about Kingdom Hearts III?
Great 3D effects
Flowmotion: a new gameplay element
Voice acting is great (Except Sora)
Lots of minigames and added bonuses
Nintendogs inspired Dream Eaters
No Brave Little Toaster level!