Kingdom Hearts’ music has always been a magical part of the journey. With a rhythm/action game set to debut in November, Square Enix is finally revealing more information on what we can expect, and it already looks to be a special experience, where you relive some of the series’ most iconic moments by jamming to over 140 tracks. We recently went hands-on with Melody of Memory and chatted with the team behind to see how it was shaping it. Here’s what we uncovered.
The main game mode is called “World Tour,” which has you revisiting moments and destinations from all of the titles up through Kingdom Hearts III. In this mode, every world has a few tracks associated with it, and each track has three missions. Players receive stars by fulfilling particular requirements for each mission, and a certain number of stars is required to unlock gates, which allow players to access new areas.
The game is all in 3D, something that was a goal from the onset. “We wanted to recreate the original look of the game titles and carry that over,” says co-director Masanobu Suzui. The team built the game from the ground up as a new title to accommodate their vision, which also included incorporating the stylish action and narrative hook of the main series. Square Enix went through painstaking detail to ensure the enemies you face look not only how you remember, but also move the same way. To fight back at them, you execute ranged and melee attacks by syncing up with the beat, but don’t expect a big arsenal of special attacks; there is no ability system and leveling up to get more powerful is the extent of the progression.
In our hands-on time, the uniqueness of the 3D graphics really differentiates this title from Theatrhythm. While the basics remain in place – tapping some notes in time and holding others, the biggest change comes in that Sora and company will need to jump to hit some targets, adding additional beats to each track. Based on our demo, there’s also not the different song types like its Final Fantasy predecessor. It is still a rhythm game at its core, so despite the differences, fans will likely find themselves right at home.
You will have some variety in your party members, so you’re not purely playing using Sora, Donald, and Goofy. As you progress through the World Tour mode, new teams open up. You can’t assemble custom teams, but it will give you some new flavor, like having a party of Birth By Sleep or 358/2 Days cast members. “Additionally, some Disney characters will appear as guest characters and occasionally join your team in certain worlds, Suzui says. “In those circumstances, the Disney character will swap places with one of your set team members, other than the leader. In general, you’ll be able to play any world with the team of your choice.”
In addition to single-player options, you can take on baddies with friends via online and local co-op, or compete against them online for the top scores. We had a chance to play some of the cooperative modes, and the way that enemies bounce back and forth between the two players’ tracks provide a great experience. Unfortunately, both players do have to play on the same difficulty, which means that an expert and a novice won’t be able to easily join forces.
You also won’t always be fighting in field battles, as there is an immersive mode called “Memory Dive,” Suzui explains: “For each track, famous scenes related to that music will play one after another in a sequence edited by Visual Works (Square Enix’s own CG movie production studio), so it’ll surely be a treat unlike any other for Kingdom Hearts fans.” Looks like we’re in for quite a trip down memory lane.
For more on Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, you can check out our previous interview.