First Impressions | Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory Demo

Publisher/Developer: Square Enix

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Ever since the first Kingdom Hearts game, I have always been a big fan. The mash up of Square Enix and Disney characters is such a unique concept that always kept me intrigued. Despite the number of spinoffs and the convoluted story, my fandom stayed mostly intact. Coming off of Kingdom Hearts 3, which was fun, but could have been better, I was wondering where Square would take the KH universe next. Fast forward to the year 2020 and the answer is a new rhythm game.

I’ve definitely enjoyed my fair share of rhythm games in the past, BIG shout out to Rock Band and Guitar hero, but the genre has never been something I seek out very often. I was a bit hesitant about how Melody of Memory would be, but confident it would be decent since the Final Fantasy: Theatrhythm games are a lot of fun. Square released a demo for KH: Melody of Memory and I decided to give it a try and wow am I ever so pleasantly surprised!

In Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory the soundtrack takes center stage. Songs from the very first game, to the spin-offs, and up to KH3 are all featured in M.o.M. I have always had a deep appreciation for the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack, Yoko Shimomura is an absolute legend, but playing a rhythm game along with each track makes me appreciate it even more.

The demo features 6 songs to choose from, across the single player and co-op portions of the game. Those songs are:

  • Welcome to Wonderland
  • Hand in Hand
  • The Rustling Forest
  • Wave of Darkness I
  • Sinister Shadows (co-op)
  • All for One (co-op)

Unfortunately, I was not able to check out the multiplayer section so my impressions are focused on the single player content only.

The demo itself gives you a good representation of what to expect, difficulty wise. The songs featured have a good range of difficulty from easy songs, like Welcome to Wonderland, to hard songs, like Wave of Darkness I. In addition to that, there are three difficulty modes and three different play styles to choose from. The difficulty modes are beginner, standard, and proud mode; similar to every other Kingdom Hearts game. As for the different styles, you have basic, one button, and performer.

Basic style is the game at it’s best, in my opinion. As you make your way through each stage, the L, R, and A buttons are used to hit the Heartless targets. This style is well balanced and gives the most enjoyment. One button style is just that, one button. You use one button to hit the targets and everything else is done automatically. For example, there are floating notes on each stage. To get these floating notes, you must jump and glide to follow the path and get each note to the rhythm of the song playing. In one button mode that is done automatically. Last but not least is the performer mode. This is the most challenging style and adds more targets to hit. In addition to using the three buttons in basic mode, you will be presented with analogue stick movements and the remaining face buttons on the controller. I attempted performer mode and it was a bit too overwhelming for me. I would be interested to see someone else more skilled tackle this super challenging style, though.

The gameplay itself is great. Your main crew is Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Each character takes up a lane on the stage and you will run through each stage hitting heartless targets to the beat of the corresponding song. Some heartless may require more hits than usual. The bigger heartless, like the Large Bodies, may require 2-3 hits to eliminate. Hitting each note is so satisfying, especially hitting three notes at the same time. Every time you hit three notes at a time, you are greeted with a cheer animation that never fails to make me smile.

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory has me hooked already and this is just the demo. I’m not even sure how many times I have booted the demo up, at this point. The final game will have 140 songs, a World Tour mode, and vs battles so it will have plenty of content to go through. Also similar to past Kingdom Hearts games, there will be guest characters to help fight against the Heartless in each world. This demo has left me truly impressed and I look forward to the final product.

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory will be available worldwide, on Nov. 13th, on PS4, XB1, and Switch. For more information, visit the website here.

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