Developed By: Square Enix, indieszero
Published By: Square Enix, Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts series is now an iconic name in the gaming industry since it launched back in 2002 on the PlayStation 2. Since then, the series has grown, up to 17 games and remixes including the latest in the series, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory.
The Story So Far
The game continues Kairi’s story straight after the end of the Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind downloadable content scenario. Other than that, the story just goes through the whole Kingdom Hearts series like one of those Kingdom Hearts story summaries on YouTube narrated by Kairi herself. There are a few new details to help move the story forward in the series but I won’t spoil that for you here.
Hit To The Beat
As you didn’t know already, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a rhythm-based game where you hit enemies on the “track” following the rhythm of the song. The controls are simple and may look easy but higher difficulty song will give you a hard time by throwing unique combinations to trip you up. I did find these combinations of the notes challenging which I like, and getting a Full Combo is ever so satisfying on the hardest difficulty.
The enemy types do change as you go through the worlds and this might also provide some variation as you have to relearn the attack timing and animation of certain enemies. Being used to playing rhythm games like O2Jam or Guitar Hero with a standard note indicator, I find the enemies being used as notes in this game a little distracting at first as they can move along the track. It is a simple twist but it does give Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory a unique challenge instead of being just another simple rhythm game.
Boss fights in the game changes to gameplay a little. Instead of hitting enemies, you are given normal notes to hit while an animation of the fight is happening in the background. To add to the difficulty, analog sticks directions are now added into the notes. The boss fights do play a little different but you will get used to it after a few rounds.
Levelling And Collecting
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory does have a very small RPG element to it to where your selected team can level up and collect items as you go through the world. As you play through that game, you will unlock more teams like Team Days which consist of Roxas, Axel and Xion. The different teams do have different characters and attack animation, so depending on which team you like, just choose your favourite team and enjoy the game. To give you the feel of progression, the game lets you level up your team as go but so far the only reason to level them is purely for fun without much effect on gameplay.
For item and collectables, there are art pieces and keyblades drawings to collect which you can view later on for those who are interested. There is even the synthesize mechanic present like the other games in the series to help get certain items or collectables in the game. Items can be helpful by healing your health to help you complete the song but other then that, most are just collectables or levels to unlock.
Who Has Happy Feet?
What was surprising to me was this game also included a 2 player co-op mode and an online battle mode. Co-op allows another local player to join you to enjoy the beat on your couch with another controller. Online Battle, on the other hand, lets you battle players, online or with bots as you rank up and unlock more collectables. While battling you can earn power-up to sabotage your opponent. This can range from hiding timing indicators to hiding the enemies altogether which seems unfair at times since it is totally random. Luckily this can be turned off, which I did, to make it a more skilled base battle.
What I Liked
- A nice take on Rhythm Genre – To use of enemies and attack animation makes the game feel unique, though it might be distracting at times.
- A large list of songs – Well… Kingdom Hearts has a long history of songs with some of those being Disney to boot.
- Multiplayer – A surprise for me but nonetheless, an excellent feature for this game.
What I Wished Was Better
- Synthesize this – could have been made it a more important part of the game
- Not a looker – The game does not look that good with repeated background usage and models dated.
A Long Journey To Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a good reminder of what the series has gone through. Fans of the series will be happy to see certain guess characters like Alladin or Peter Pan join in as team members as they revisit all the old locations on in the series. The amount of soundtrack in this game is excellent seeing how old the Kingdom Hearts series and its always a joy to play thought Disney’s tracks like “Under The Sea” or “Let It Go” even though the selection of these sing-a-long songs are limited.
Playing through the story as the rhythm-based game, it did make me cry out a little when I heard the iconic “Simple and Clean” song by Utada Hikaru, memories of me playing the game and watching the same cutscene returned. The game is an excellent way to remind ourself just how the Kingdom Hearts series grew to become one most iconic game in the industry, reason as to name the game, Melody of Memory.