Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is the 7th game in the series with the promise of bridging the gap between KH2 and KH3. In this adventure, Sora and Riku are tasked with visiting seven sleeping worlds in order to pass their Keyblade exam, Mark of Mastery. But what should be a simple exam is laced with treachery and twists abound. KH3D does an admirable job of trying to tie up the loose ends of its convoluted lore. Yes it’s bizarre, mystifying, and hard to follow, but as a fan of the series, the wrap up towards the end was very satisfying.
Each new entry in the series tries to innovate on the already great, action RPG system. This time Sora and Riku wield the power of parkour! Joking aside, this allows them to use the environment for various attacks. They can also call Pokémon equivalents, aka Dream Eaters, to aid them in battle. These obnoxiously cute critters also boost their stats, unlock skills, and can compete in tournaments. Both of these new mechanics aid the already stellar combat system, making it the best in the series. There are problems, however, like the ever-troublesome camera and oddly hard difficulty. There’s another new mechanic, the Drop System; a meter that switches you to the other character when time runs out. It’s annoying and it takes awhile to get used to, but it’s manageable.
KH3D is a colorful masterpiece! The graphics, design, and everything in-between make it one of the best-looking 3DS games to date. And as always, the music, while rehashing a lot of the same themes, is wonderful and even features a lot of new tracks. The worlds you visit, like Tron’s, are much larger in scope than in previous games, but are still unfortunately empty. There are side quests as always, but not a lot comparatively. It’s a great package that could have just used a bit more refinement in some areas.
Kingdom Hearst 3D: Dream Drop Distance is a fantastic game. Despite the convoluted story, the combat and design more than make up for what some may call faults. I, however, love the story as weird as it may be. Overall, it’s a little rough around the edges, but until KH3 is announced, this will surely satisfy your Disney, crossover hunger.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on October 9, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.