Kingdom Hearts 3D box art
Darkness becomes light, light falls into darkness.

— Tagline

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (also known as Kingdom Hearts 3D) is an action role-playing game for Nintendo 3DS, and an installment in the Kingdom Hearts series which celebrates its 10th anniversary. It was first announced at E3 2010 as a third-party title, and takes place chronologically after Kingdom Hearts coded.

Developed and published by Square Enix, the game was released March 29, 2012 in Japan, July 20 in Europe, and July 26 in Australia & New Zealand, and July 31 in North America. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]


Following the destruction of Ansem (the Heartless of series' villain Xehanort) and Xemnas (Xehanort's Nobody) at the hands of main series protagonist Sora and his best friend Riku, Xehanort is revived. In response, Yen Sid, a former Keyblade Master, summons Sora and Riku to administer the Mark of Mastery, a test in which the one who passes will become a Keyblade Master, and will be properly able to combat Xehanort and defeat him once and for all. [9]The exam takes place in a "world buried in with dreams."

In the game, Sora and Riku have received new clothes [10], and combat new enemies called "Dream Eaters". One type of Dream Eaters, called Nightmares, are described as "goblins who consume sleep." The other type, known as Spirits, assist Sora and Riku as party characters. [11] Eight worlds appear in the game: Destiny Islands, Traverse Town, La Cité des Cloches (based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Prankster's Paradise (based on Pinocchio), the Country of the Musketeers (based on Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers), the Grid (based on Tron: Legacy), Symphony of Sorcery (based on Fantasia), and the World That Never Was. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] Characters from The World Ends With You, Neku Sakuraba, Joshua, Beat, Shiki, and Rhyme, also appear in the title, being the first non-original, non-Disney, non-Final Fantasy characters in the series. [17] [18] [19]

Switching between playing as Sora and playing as Riku will be forced upon and sudden, and can occur while simply walking around. The "Drop" gauge, which is shown on the screen, eventually runs out. Once it does, the character being played will fall asleep, and the player must change to the other character, who may be in another scenario. As well, the 3D effect of the Nintendo 3DS will be used more for "going into the screen" rather than things popping out.

The gameplay is similar to Birth by Sleep, in which one can customize new moves by choosing techniques and abilities to display. The new Flowmotion action allows the player character to perform tricks such as gliding, bouncing off walls, swinging up and around poles, all with bright and flashy effects. As well, there are "Dual Link" and "Reality Shift" options that allows the player character to join up with the assistant partner character and unleash much damage on the enemies, and lock onto enemies and perform special attacks on the lower screen, respectively. [20] [21] The game has a multiplayer mode, where one can play with another per local wireless, and battle with Dream Eaters, which can be used to upgrade them for the main story. [22] The title is also compatible with the Circle Pad Pro, which can be used to control the camera. [23] The game also comes with AR functionality, allowing players to play with the Dream Eaters they obtain.


Square Enix decided to develop Dream Drop Distance after being impressed by the Nintendo 3DS's quality. Taking advantage of the console's functions, they increased the action elements from the series based on the system previously seen in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Additionally, both the gameplay and the plot are meant to give a glimpse about how the following title in the series, Kingdom Hearts III, will be like. The game was announced at E3 2010, along with several other third-party games for the Nintendo 3DS. It is the next major installment in the series, taking place following Kingdom Hearts II, and featuring new Disney worlds in the game, the only ones returning being original worlds created for the games. With the parallel development of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, series creator Tetsuya Nomura has said he will make sure to retain any game elements that can't be put in Final Fantasy Versus XIII for use in this title.

The game's first trailer premiered at the Square Enix 1st Department Premiere event in Japan. The trailer contained scenes from the secret endings of Birth by Sleep and Re:coded along with new footage of Sora and Riku pulling off numerous combos. As of July 2011, the game was 40-50% completed. The game will also feature a secret ending, teasing the next game in the series. Nomura has also said that the game's story will be enigmatic and puzzling, and will connect to the previous three games in the series, and be on par with that of a console game. [24]

The game was featured at Tokyo Game Show, with a new trailer that showed some cutscenes from two of the worlds featured in the game, and a scene with Xehanort. Two different versions of the trailer were shown, the regular one viewable in an open theater, and a slightly extended one shown in a closed theater. Also, the demo had the aforementioned worlds playable.

In an issue of Famitsu subsequently released after TGS, it was revealed that the game was currently 60 to 70% complete, and will feature some sort of multiplayer. [25] In the months of November and December, Japanese magazines such as Famitsu, V Jump, and Shōnen Jump released new information about characters and worlds. At the Jump Festa event in Japan occurring on December 16 and 17, 2011, a more precise release date for the game was revealed, an 8-minute trailer was shown, a new demo was playable, and Dream Eater plushies were sold. [26] The trailer was subsequently uploaded on Square Enix's official YouTube account.

In an interview with Tetsuya Nomura in the Famitsu Weekly magazine, he revealed that the game was in the final stage of production, and noted that the game's original secret ending had not been approved and was changed to something more unconventional for the series. Subsequently, Square Enix released a press release that confirmed the Japanese release date for the title, that the game will come with an augmented reality card that, when scanned, provides you with a Dream Eater difficult to obtain in-game, and that it would also be available in a bundle with a special edition 3DS. [27]

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the series, a special 10th Anniversary Box was released in Japan, featuring the game, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded for Nintendo DS, a 12-piece card set chronicling the history of the games, and a protective case for the 3DS system. [28] [29] [30] This will be released in North America as a collector's edition set, without the two DS games and including five AR cards. [31] [32]


Kingdom Hearts 3D has gained generally favorable reviews from critics. Famitsu magazine gave the game a 38/40, the second highest rating for the game in the series after Kingdom Hearts II. [33] Nintendo World Report gave it a 90, saying "[It] is both a great entry in the Kingdom Hearts series and a great 3DS game. The story flaws may distract some, but the remainder of the game is worthwhile." [34]

IGN gave it an 85, calling it "an enjoyable experience with an engaging story and incredible characterization. Although the platforming is far from fluid and the story can feel convoluted at times, when KH3D soars, it soars high - capturing that KH magic that has propelled the series to great success for a decade now." [35] Official Nintendo Magazine gave it an 84, praising its "vibrant combat and lush Disney worlds." [36]

Game Informer gave it an 80. [37] Nintendo Power, who gave it the same score, stated "In the end, it's not the most coherent dream, but it's a pleasant one nonetheless." GameSpot gave it an 70, saying "No, Disney isn't for everyone, but unless you're laden with a heart of stone, it's hard not to be taken in by [the game]'s many charms." [38]

Nintendo Life gave it a 70 and called it "a great looking, solid game, held back by a few design choices which stop it from being as enjoyable an experience as it should be." [39] Joystiq gave it a 60, with the reviewer saying that he enjoyed the "high-flying hack 'n' slashing" and the game's plot, but criticized the "forced character-swapping, pet system, awkward pacing, occasionally clunky combat and unreliable AI.". [40]


Main article: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance/Artworks


Main article: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance/Gallery




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