When I heard there was a Kingdom Hearts game coming out on the 3DS, I had the feeling that a longtime KH fan would have- is it Kingdom Hearts 3!?
Sadly, no, it is not. But don't be sad, unlike other spin-offs we've been served, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is a continuation of the story. That's right- a game where supposedly, by the end of it, we'll be finally ready to understand what is going on, or what will go on, in Kingdom Hearts 3.
Nintendo was nice enough to put a demo of this game up on their eShop, so naturally I went and downloaded it. Here's the inside scoop on what you'll get, but let me say this now- GET IT. Whether you read what I have to say or not, get the demo, because it is a lot of fun, and a nice intro on what to expect. So without further ado, let's begin.
For starters, the demo offers two great options: a Tutorial, and a level in the game, Traverse Town.
(Nostalgia kicks in now.- sorry, most of these were taken with my iPhone as I was playing..)
The game screen is what you'd expect and need all in one. The top screen is your basic display you're used to by now. The bottom screen serves as your map. Additionally, if you have any teammates their information is down there as well.
Let's start with the Tutorial. In the Tutorial, you end up battling Ursula (The Little Mermaid villain) in a very basic explanation of the controls. The controls are easy- you have camera controls, basic move/dodge/block, magic utilizing the directional pad and X, and locking on/targeting. It's very easy to get used to, and that's important for a Kingdom Hearts game.
When you're done defeating Ursula's three tentacles, you're transported to an area where you learn something new to Kingdom Hearts- Flowmotion and Reality Shift. Flowmotion is when you roll, dodge, thrust into something and begin basically spinning around the object. You can jump off and combo into attacks, combine the spinning into an attack on the object or enemy, or just use it to push off and go faster in travel. Reality Shift utilizes the touchscreen, and you basically use crates, at least in the demo, to launch in a slingshot like fashion.
So from the Tutorial we know two things: First, the game involves Sora. This is good. No Ven, Aqua, Roxas...just Sora, finally. Secondly, The Little Mermaid will once again plague our gaming experience with a level. At least there's fighting this time.
More combo goodies!
Next we move onto gameplay, or at least the non-tutorial gameplay. You get a little bit of the story, but not enough to make any assumptions (unless you've already scouted Wikipedia for the plot). You know Master Yen Sid is involved, and once again Sora is looking for Riku. Instead, Neku Sakuraba makes an appearence, possibly replacing the Final Fantasy characters in this game with "The World Ends With You" characters instead.
The game is pretty much dumping you off in Traverse Town once again, with you looking for Riku and Neku looking for a player of some sorts. Who or what he is referring to is a mystery, at least to the Kingdom Hearts players. You get the full-on battle experience with multiple enemies, and even a minor boss battle that is somewhat easy.
During this gameplay you get two companions. No, it's not Donald and Goofy. I'm hoping it's something relative to TWEWY, as I've never seen these characters before. One looks like a mix between a pillow and purple pig, while the other resembles a purple cat. When they reach a certain point in battles, you can tap their icons on the lower screen and initiate a battle sequence called linking, where you do a battle action and cause some serious damage.
(Sorry, this is the best my iPhone has to offer as I play..)
When the battle is over you get a small cutscene of the purple pig pillow trotting down the stairs, and the demo is over. I'm not sure what meaning this has, but I guess the full version of the game will explain more.
That's all there is to this demo. If this is a neat little package of everything you expect to find in the full version, than this is an instant winner in my book. It gives you the classic controls, a few new moves , and brings you back in to the Kingdom Hearts swing of things. I preordered mine already, but for those who have yet to or just want to keep an ear out, look for it when it hits shelves everywhere on July 31st, 2012.