Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance – Review

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Is it a Mickey Mouse game, or have Square Enix hit upon the magical formula once again?

Early on in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, the two controllable heroes of the piece, Sora and Riku, battle it out against Ursula, the sea witch from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It’s a simple primer for the tone of the rest of the game, a mashing together of two universes in such a matter of fact way that you accept it without question.

This is the seventh game in the series, and whilst the plot has now become so convoluted that the uninitiated are going to need to do some serious Googling if they want to catch up, the story really plays second fiddle to the adventure.

Square Enix (and even going back to the time when it was Square without the Enix) have never been particularly good at telling succinct tales, but there are enough simple to understand tropes –the bad guy dressed in black, one angsty hero, the other naive and full of hope – that you can figure out what’s going on without too much worry.

The game is very much at the action end of the RPG spectrum, seeing you lead the two Keyblade wielders through a variety of Disney themed levels, as well as locations that any Kingdom Hearts veteran is going to be familiar with.

Battles are, as usual, in real time and at their simplest simply require you to hack out three hit combos, while blocking and sliding out of the way of oncoming attacks. The game does however slowly add new moves, take “Flowmotion” for example, which doubles up as super-speedy free running tool as well as a way to leap between different enemies during a scrap.

Fighting alongside you are virtual pets called Spirits, which are the light version of the dark dream eaters you spend most of your time trying to kill. These offer combo opportunities and link moves, which differ depending on which spirits you have in your party. You also have a command deck, scrolled through with the D-pad, which contains your special moves and potions, and is fully customisable.

During the game you’ll swap between Sora and Riku using the “Drop” system, which sees you falling asleep when a meter runs out. Defeating enemies and collecting certain items will keep the gauge fuller for longer and, once you drop, you can spend points you’ve earned during that play on upgrades. You can also swap automatically at the reasonably generously positioned save points that are spread around the levels.

After an opening world that introduces you to the mechanics of the game – and features brilliant cameos from the cast of Square Enix classic The World Ends With You – you’re thrown into the void and presented with a variety of possible destinations.

There are seven worlds to explore from two different perspectives, as well as “Dive” sequences between each that see you plummeting down a wormhole, collecting stars and defeating enemies. The Tron: Evolution level is particularly impressive, seeing you racing light cycles, and using your Flowmotion techniques to slide around the gorgeous, neon scenery.

Dream Drop Distance might not be the second proper sequel that fans of the series are clamouring for, but there is an awful lot here to enjoy. The action is quick, the characters that populate your journey funny and endearing, and the spectacle impressive enough to make you go 'wow' on more than one occasion.

Freed from the rigid constraints of the more traditional J-RPG, Square Enix have proven that they’re still a company with ambition, creativity and passion in spades; now how about that sequel?

Score: 5/5

Format: 3DS
Price: £39.99
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Nintendo

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

    £24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

    Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam