GAME REVIEW: Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is Square Enix's latest foray into what happens when you combine the more plot-based Japanese role-playing game with Walt Disney.
KINGDOM HEARTS: DREAM DROP DISTANCE
SYSTEM: NINTENDO 3DS
AGE RESTRICTION: NONE
The result is a series of good games. To prepare for the return of the series' villain Xehanort, the wizard Yen Sid (whom you may remember as the wizard from Fantasia) is putting our heroes Sora and Riku through a test to see if they are ready to be keyblade masters.
The test involves Sora and Riku bringing back to life seven "sleeping" Disney worlds, where they meet new Square Enix monsters, the dream eaters. Dream eaters come in two varieties. The hostile ones are called nightmares, who eat dreams. The friendly monsters, called spirits, eat the nightmares.
In Kingdom Hearts, you are at the bottom of the food chain.
The dream eaters represent a nice mechanic - essentially you find gameplay rewards for petting and playing with them, which isn't hard to do because they are coded to be adorable.
A second new mechanic is "flowmotion". This allows you to use the terrain and particularly large monsters to move quickly through the various worlds, or even launch more effective attacks.
It is fun and fast-paced, though you can always opt for a more traditional approach.
Our heroes, Sora and Riku, move through different worlds and you end up following two adventures.
The trouble is that Square Enix introduced another new mechanic in the titular dream drop system.
This was supposed to be a way to tell two stories that weave into one, but as you get into one character's path, you end up cutting away to the next.
This can happen during boss battles, which is annoying.
Disney succeeds where Square Enix has been struggling: it produces memorable villains.
Square Enix has a very strong art team.
The worlds are pretty, the plot is good, the dream eater mechanic and various mini-games are fun.
The drop system undermines the pacing of the story as it pulls you out of one adventure into the next just as you were enjoying the first.