May your heart be your guiding beat!
Title: Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (reviewed)
Developer: indieszero, Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Release date: Out now
Tl;dr: Kingdom Hearts meets Guitar Hero with the already complicated plot made more complicated with the new story scenes.
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It’s hard to believe that in 2022, Kingdom Hearts will be 20 years old, that’s 20 years of complicated plotlines that if you tried to explain it to your Nan, she’d think you dropped a ton of acid before popping around for Christmas roast. Kingdom Hearts has entered its second phase as of Kingdom Hearts 3 ReMind, yes, Kingdom Hearts has become sorta like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The second phase is the beginning of the new story arc after Kingdom Hearts 3 closed off the Dark Seeker arc which is the Xehanort storyline.
The story of Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a vast majority of a retelling of phase one but through the narration of Kairi. So, if you want to get the main points of Kingdom Hearts, you could just play this but I wouldn’t recommend it as you’d most likely be more confused than if you played all of the various games, plus, the complete collection is really cheap and they are fun action RPGs – except for Chain of Memories which is Yu-Gi-Oh! meets Kingdom Hearts. Anyway, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory has an extra chapter which is set after ReMind which will set up the next story arc, and as a Kingdom Hearts fan and one of the few people who like Nomura storylines, I can safely say I’m excited… like super excited!
Gameplay for Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is straightforward, it’s a rhythm game that has you use the X button on PlayStation with L1 and R1 these are used to tap along to the beat with the triangle button activating the ability crystals that is scattered around the chart. There are three types of rhythm charts, you have regular battlefield charts, boss battle charts, and memory dive charts which is essentially a video playing in the background with the rhythm chart over the top.
You have many different ways to play as well, starting with World Tour mode that has you traverse in your gummi ship across different worlds reliving different moments across the Kingdom Hearts narrative whilst playing the battle theme for the said world or the main map theme. Occasionally you will encounter the boss of the game so Xehanort, Ansem or Xemnas. There is a free play mode which lets you take on any song you’ve unlocked either through the story or by Moogle synthesis if you have the right materials. Finally, you have multiplayer which consists of Versus, Online Versus, Versus COM or Co-op mode, I haven’t been able to try Co-op because I’ve been focusing on finishing the story before it got spoiled online.
Overall, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a celebration of the series which is almost 20 years old, with a beautifully crafted soundtrack by the incredibly talented Yoko Shimomura. I’d highly recommend this game to fans of the series for that final chapter alone, that sets up the future of Kingdom Hearts – as well as for people who might want to get into Kingdom Hearts but are afraid to. The game does a good job of explaining the overall story but if you want to go more in-depth you’re better off playing the main games as the story is a spiderweb. But honestly, this is a super fun game that made me all nostalgic as I ran through and people who know me, know that Kingdom Hearts is a very special series for me.
- A tight and refined rhythm game.
- Opens up the story for the next chapter in phase two of Kingdom Hearts.
- A great selection of tracks from the great catalogue of Kingdom Hearts sounds.
- Might be a bit pricey for a rhythm game.
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is rated PEGI 12 and E10+ for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB.
This review is based on a physical copy purchased for the purpose of review.