KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Who it Caters to
To be completely honest with you, this game only caters to those who consider themselves hardcore fans of the Kingdom Hearts franchise and all things Disney. If you come expecting something unique or groundbreaking, then you'll find yourself completely out of place... more so if you don't even care about Dinsey's characters and stories. If you are neutral to Kingdom Hearts and you just like JRPG games, then there might be nothing here for you either.
What to Expect
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a rhythm game based on the adventures of Sora and friends through the different Disney worlds. It features dozens of songs, characters, and stages from previous games; as for the story, although there are some new bits, Melody of Memory should obviously be considered as a spin-off and not a full-fledged new entry with a complex plot. Sadly, it never takes off as a fun rhythm game, and its poor gameplay mechanics are nothing but an excuse to enjoy composer Yoko Shimomura's beautiful songs.
Kingdom Hearts games have never been about the graphics. However, with every new generation of consoles, it's getting harder and harder to ignore how bad some animations are and how dated these titles look in perspective. In this case, Melody of Memories feels like an old game that's being emulated on a new console, which is sad considering how beautiful some other rhythm games for the Switch are—and how amazing $60 PS4 and Xbox One games look in general.
Only a few stages feel actually interesting, while the rest are just a collage of soulless landscapes that only appeal to nostalgia. The animated scenes you can unlock after completing certain worlds are okay at best, so there's that. Regardless, there's nothing in this game to make you feel excited about exploring all these musical stages, especially if you aren't particularly biased towards Dinsey's magic.
One of the things we all love about Kingdom Hearts is, by leaps and bounds, its music. That's probably the only reason we found to keep playing Melody of Memory despite all its flaws. Here you'll find above 140 playable songs, from the most popular tracks from previous games to some Disney hits like 'A Whole New World' and 'This is Halloween.'
Yoko Shinomura is a world-renowned composer, but if they wanted to honor her, at least they could have tried a little harder to bring all the other elements up to par with this fabulous soundtrack. After all, rhythm games are not about the music alone, and this is a perfect example...
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory features 3 characters running through a musical pentagram and timing their attacks to defeat their enemies. Buttons A, L, and R can be used interchangeably to attack, while button B is for jumping over some obstacles and collecting flying eighth notes if you leave the button pressed. Also, button X is for activating prisms that will attack bigger threats along the ride.
There's nothing wrong with that, as most rhythm games feature a similar mechanic. However, this isn't a charming system either, and some will get bored pretty quickly with this formula. Once you get used to it, the only thing adding some difficulty is the number of enemies on screen, which is not necessarily something to look forward to.
If you're curious about how challenging Melody of Memory is, there are 3 levels of difficulty in World Tour mode. If that's not enough, you can also find an easier single-button mode (One Button) and a more challenging gameplay style (Performer) in Track Selection mode.
World Tour is a single-player campaign where you can explore all songs and worlds, featuring some guest companions and bosses. That's where you can unlock special collectibles, songs, etc. At the start of the game, your 3 characters are Sora, Goofy, and Donald, but deeper into the story, you can unlock 3 more teams. Other than that, you can co-op or play against a local friend in Co-Op and VS Battles modes, respectively. Thanks to Free-for-All, up to 8 local players can jump into the party (as long as they have their own console), or you can just play against random people on the internet in Online Battle mode.
All in all, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory offers a lot of options when it comes to how to play it, but we have to say that these average-at-best gameplay mechanics are hard to swallow nevertheless.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
We're not saying Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is the worst title we've played, but it's definitely far from being an attractive experience for someone who's not a devoted KH fan. In fact, even some Kingdom Hearts enthusiasts will find it hard to justify this spin-off's quality and price tag!
For what it's worth, it's an okay-ish adventure full of Disney characters and references, with 140+ amazing tracks for you to enjoy.
The perfect game for all of you who love Dinsey and Kingdom Hearts' OST
Co-Op and online battles are a nice addition.
If it wasn't a Kingdom Hearts game, nobody would care about it.
Mediocre gameplay and subpar graphics. It's not worth $60.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We can only recommend this game to those who feel the need for playing all Kingdom Hearts games in the saga, or maybe kids who might enjoy meeting Donald, Aladdin, Ariel the Little Mermaid, and other popular Disney characters. But hey, what do YOU think about this one? Let us know in the comments below your thoughts about Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory!
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...