Kingdom Hearts 3D: Tokyo Game Show Hands-On

Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] has, ironically, been kept in darkness for some time, until now. With the game set for a Spring 2012 release, Square-Enix allowed us a brief hands-on with the game before the start of Tokyo Game Show proper. Takahashi-san joins us once again.


The demo has two playable sections, allowing you to play as either Sora or Riku. To begin, we selected Sora.

Sora’s section begins upon a balcony somewhere. “Huh? What is this place?” he says as he approaches the street. Sora has found himself once again in Traverse Town, quite surprised that he apparently has new clothes. “Could this be the work of Yen Sid’s magic, too?”

In the distance, a mysterious boy can be seen flying around Traverse Town above the roofs. With that, the Traverse Town logo appears! We’ve now passed the intro.

From the balcony, the confused Sora starts calling out to Riku, who has gone missing. He shouts “Riku? Riku! Hey~ Riku!”

The mysterious boy from before is now hanging from the roof in full view. Those who played The World Ends With You may be familiar with Neku; this is his debut in the Kingdom Hearts universe. Although he’s the same in 3D as he was in 2D there’s a sense of freshness in hearing his voice again!

"You're really noisy you know?" Neku quips.

Startled by Neku’s attitude, Sora falls from the balcony, onto the street.

“So you’re Sora,” Neku says. “Are you also in the game?”

Slightly confused, Sora replies, “I—what? Game? What are you talking about?”

“This is a game,” Neku says. “Each participant has this engraving. I must complete this game.” Neku proceeds to show Sora his left hand, in which a shiny countdown timer can be seen in the palm of it.

Sora cheerfully extends his friendship to Neku, “I don’t know what game you’re talking about, but you’re funny, so I’ll help you!”

Neku retorts, “If you’re not in the game, we can’t be partners.”

Sora then says, “We’re friends now, aren’t we?” To which Neku replies, “Friends? Things aren’t that simple.”

Sora, "I said I'd help you out!" Shocked by this, Neku decides to leave. “To hell with you!” he says before performing a freeflow action to dash off.

Following that brief exchange, the game’s tutorial begins.

By pressing the Y button on the 3DS while your character is sliding, you can perform freeflow actions. These allow you to bounce off things like walls, of off of poles.

While performing a freeflow action, press the B button for a big jump, and then press Y again for a burst of high speed.
This ability is very flashy and cool looking.

Some of the game’s other mechanics are explained here as well, such as Dream Eater’s Dual Link—an ability that lets you use powerful attacks with their help once the Dual Link gauge fills on the bottom screen.

Reality Shift is another new feature for KH3D. When the lock-on marker changes from a circle shape to resembling a circle with another one inside it, press A and Y together to trigger a Reality Shift.

When a Reality Shift occurs, Sora jumps into the air and slams the ground, thereby trapping all enemies in range in a circle of light. This allows you to use the touch screen in a Pachiko slot-like fashion  to cause damage to them. Be careful though, as Reality Shift can’t be used forever.

After wandering around Traverse Town for a bit, the boss finally appears! He reminded me of a strong, ferocious dog. The boss is very strong here, and requires use of both Dual Links and Reality Shift to defeat him.

The fight takes place in an area with a roof made of glass. If you break it, Sora will fall through, and the battle will continue within. Sora can use the walls to perform freeflow actions in order to damage the boss.

After defeating the boss here, Sora’s demo comes to an end.

Our time with Square-Enix was short, but we’ll have a follow-up report detailing Riku’s portion of the demo. All in all, though, the actions, objects, party members—everything, in fact, is much different from previous entries in the Kingdom Hearts series. It actually feels very refreshing!

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