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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Java Developer

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there