Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (Nintendo 3DS) Preview

By Az Elias 08.06.2012

Review for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance on Nintendo 3DS

As long-time fans of famed action RPG series Kingdom Hearts patiently await the true third part of the franchise, Square Enix continues to tease them with spin-offs on Nintendo’s handhelds. With just over a month to go before the next highly-anticipated entry makes its debut on Nintendo 3DS outside of Japan, now is a great time to take a look at what players can expect from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

Continuing on from where Nintendo DS game Kingdom Hearts Re:coded left off, Dream Drop Distance has players taking control of central character Sora and his friend Riku across a multitude of famous Disney worlds, some of which have not appeared in the series before, including Fantasia, Tron: Legacy, The Three Musketeers and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The pair must prove their worth and undertake Yen Sid’s Mark of Mastery exam in order to become Keyblade Masters by reawakening lands that were obliterated by the Heartless in the past from their ‘dream.’ The worlds are now swarming with new foes born from darkness, called Dream Eaters, and a new gameplay mechanic involves recruiting Spirit versions of them to aid Sora and Riku in their fights.

Familiar antagonists return, and players will learn the true meaning behind certain plot points from previous games, including the mysterious Organisation XIII. Many of the Disney characters fans have met throughout the series also reappear in the 3DS game, including the ever-present Mickey, Donald and Goofy, plus their adversaries Maleficent and Pete. Kingdom Hearts drew a lot of initial popularity due to its inclusion of characters from Square Enix’s other flagship franchise: Final Fantasy. This time around, though, the only familiar face making the cross-over is a Moogle. Instead, the company’s very well-received Nintendo DS action RPG The World Ends with You features cameos of Neku and his friends in Dream Drop Distance.

Screenshot for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance on Nintendo 3DS

As mentioned earlier, one of the new elements introduced in this game is the ability to ally with Dream Eaters by hunting them down. These can be trained into more powerful sidekicks and be fed food with the touch screen. Each type of Dream Eater provides both protagonists more unique attacks and abilities. Those that played Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep or Re:coded will be familiar with the Command Deck used for the game’s battle system, which allows players to assign specific abilities to their list of attacks during encounters, levelling them up with experience points. Making up part of the title name is a new feature called the ‘Drop’ system, which uses a continually draining gauge to automatically switch control from Sora to Riku if it reaches zero. ‘Flowmotion’ is also introduced in Dream Drop Distance, with players using the surrounding area to move and attack in style, as well as a whole range of touch screen inputs, making for chained strikes and throws on the enemy.

A brand new take on how players enter new worlds comes into play with the ‘Dive Mode.’ Doing away with the Gummi Ship to travel, Sora and Riku now fall through space to the next land’s gate, which opens by collecting a certain number of stars, fending off enemies as they go. Some players might be pleased to know that the game is compatible with the Circle Pad Pro for control of the camera, and augmented reality brings their captured Dream Eaters to life. Certainly from what we’ve seen so far in terms of graphics is very impressive, delivering a famous bright and colourful look that the series is known for, and seems to be almost on par with the visuals seen in the PlayStation 2 games.

Screenshot for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance on Nintendo 3DS

Final Thoughts

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is definitely one of the bigger games to arrive on the Nintendo 3DS this year, having already been highly praised over in Japan, and helped shift a significant number of system units. The wait for Kingdom Hearts III has been agonising for fans, but they should definitely take some interest in Dream Drop Distance since it has been said to set the stage for the much anticipated third chapter. The first game in the series on 3DS looks to be no small spin-off, and, going off of the accolades received from overseas, will hopefully be a very respectable entry into the now ten-years old Kingdom Hearts franchise.


Square Enix


Square Enix


Real Time RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


khf (guest) 10.06.2012#1

Love KH but only have a DS. Is this worthit to invest in a 3DS

msmgof3x (guest) 10.06.2012#2

This will wet my appetite for KH3.

khf (guest) said:
Love KH but only have a DS. Is this worthit to invest in a 3DS

Hmm, hard to say until we get the game, but it's been rated highly in Japan. If you are a big fan, then perhaps this is finally your reason to buy a 3DS. Maybe a bundle of the game and console will be worth it when the game comes out.

Linkyshinks says he owns the game, so I wonder if he can share any thoughts on whether it's worth buying a 3DS for.

AdamC3 (guest) 10.06.2012#4

I actually really liked the two h.a.n.d developed DS games, so am really looking forward to this.

To khf, if you liked Birth by Sleep, this is meant to be better!

KHfan (guest) 11.06.2012#5

the game looks like it will a small seller but amazing experience can't wait


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