The Kingdom Hearts video games have been round for over twenty years now. Odds are fairly good that you just’ve not less than heard of them, or your children have pointed one out on the retailer as a result of they need the sport with Mickey Mouse on the duvet. Looks as if a no brainer buy, proper? If it has Mickey on it, it’s clearly for teenagers. Nicely, that is dependent upon which sport you purchase. There are at present 13 Kingdom Hearts video games when you rely the remixes and last mixes and a couple of.5s and a couple of.7s, to not point out the cellphone video games and the Japan-only releases. Everybody who has performed multiple of those video games can agree that the entire thing is a complicated mess. I’m going to disregard all that mess. I’m going to inform you in regards to the first sport, or extra particularly, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix.

Why did I select a ten-year-old remaster of a 20-year-old sport? Quick reply, it’s the place the story begins and this model is a nicer play expertise than the unique launch. Getting the complete Kingdom Hearts story depends on gamers realizing the background established in earlier releases, and sure, that may embrace Japanese-only video games. And the card-based fight handheld video games. And the one you may play straight off your web browser. It’s an excessive amount of. Let’s begin on the very starting, the most effective locations to begin.

Sora, Kairi, and Riku together on Destiny Island before the adventure begins in Kingdom Hearts.
Final night time to loosen up earlier than the journey begins

The primary Kingdom Hearts sport stars a teenager named Sora. His pals Riku and Kairi are misplaced when darkness overtakes their world. Sora emerges from the darkness in a brand new world the place he meets up with Donald Duck and Goofy, who’re on the lookout for Mickey, plus a mixture of characters from totally different Last Fantasy video games. Sora, Donald, and Goofy got down to discover their lacking pals and use Sora’s keyblade to shut the connections between worlds that permit the darkness in. And what are all of those totally different worlds like? They’re the settings from Disney films, after all, populated by their acceptable characters. This sport’s greatest attraction for youthful gamers is attending to combat within the Colosseum subsequent to Hercules, exploring Halloween City with Jack Skellington, or remodeling into merfolk to go below the ocean with Ariel. It’s a Disney lover’s dream. 

It is usually a pleasant segue into different RPGs. Among the most beloved Last Fantasy characters seem on this sport. From Cid and Squall to Sephiroth and the cute shop-keeping moogles, there are characters galore to get children intrigued about Last Fantasy video games. Past the characters, Kingdom Hearts is filled with motion RPG parts. Gamers transfer in real-time with none ready for turns. They’ll goal totally different enemies and run to keep away from assaults. Some expertise additionally assist gamers block and dodge and transfer rapidly by means of battlefields for high-action, partaking, and generally advanced fights. It’s a ton of enjoyable, however it could actually get downright tough for much less skilled gamers.


Kingdom Hearts provides gamers copious instruments to get by means of the sport and makes use of the entire controller to take action. Gamers can work together with objects, bounce, assault, block, and dodge utilizing solely the face buttons. One stick runs whereas the opposite strikes the digicam. The 4 shoulder buttons rotate the digicam, lock on to targets and swap menus. The 4 directional buttons navigate menus to pick gadgets, spells, and particular assaults, all whereas holding monitor of the combat on the display screen. Did I point out that the management sticks are additionally buttons? Again in my day, we solely had two buttons and had been grateful for them. For sure, Kingdom Hearts has many inputs and it takes a superb reminiscence and fast fingers to make use of all of them, not qualities that littles are well-known for. Youthful children, or just ones with small fingers, will battle with totally controlling this sport. 

Now, older children are a distinct story. In case your little one has the handbook dexterity to achieve and bear in mind all the buttons, this sport is for them. Switching targets to finish a rush assault and dodge rolling away from hazard is a blast. There may be nothing like an aerial restoration to launch your self again at a tough boss to make a participant really feel like the good factor on the sofa. Then there are leaping puzzles and platforming so as to add some problem outdoors of fight. The controls are a bit floaty in these sections: the true enemy seems to be the digicam each time exact jumps are required, however the sport could be very forgiving about letting gamers strive something once more. Kingdom Hearts has a lot to do and some ways to play {that a} child on the lookout for one thing more difficult than “child’s video games” might be entertained for hours. It’s a good way to graduate a child from two-button duties to feeling like a correct gamer, all whereas below the pleasant supervision of Mickey Mouse. 

Sora, Donald, Goofy, Aeris, and Squall updating each other on the story so far.
Disney and Last Fantasy, the mash-up we didn’t know we wanted.

Strategic Considering

The necessity to plan and put together for battles in Kingdom Hearts actually is dependent upon the problem degree chosen firstly. On Newbie, gamers who can assault, bounce, and lock on can full the sport with these expertise alone. So long as your little one can bear in mind to verify Donald and Goofy have gadgets outfitted, Sora has the most recent gear, and to activate new expertise, the sport is a breeze. Enemies don’t assault as regularly and have much less well being to cope with. Bosses with particular mechanics may be tough, however the sport does a superb job of stating what the participant must do. Newbie mode is the way in which to go for smaller kids.

For higher elementary and older children, Last Combine, or normal, mode is greater than sufficient. I wouldn’t suggest Satisfaction Mode to anybody who hasn’t crushed the sport and located it too simple, however we’re speaking about Last Combine right here. Gamers are going to spend some critical time in menus making choices about expertise and kit that finest go well with their play fashion in the event that they need to succeed. Donald and Goofy have two fashion selections every time new weapons can be found: protection or offense for Goofy and magic or bodily for Donald. Then there are the totally different keyblades with totally different stats and results for Sora to make use of. Generally the weapon with the strongest assault isn’t the only option. Completely different armor additionally defends towards totally different assault sorts, so gamers should take into account that when making picks. Most significantly, gamers have to handle AP. It’s required to equip new assaults, however the sport doesn’t present sufficient to make use of ALL assaults except you equip the correct gadgets, so gamers should price range assets for optimum gameplay.

Sora and Kairi look above in a CG cutscene from Kingdom Hearts.
CG, 3D, no matter fashion makes the scene prettiest.

Studying Stage

Right here’s the brief model: Your child must be a stable reader to play this sport independently. Kingdom Hearts has a whole lot of textual content to learn, and solely a small portion is voice-acted. What’s and isn’t voice-acted isn’t even constant. Some scenes are brief anime movies, sport sprites act out some, and a few are dialog bins for gamers to click on by means of. Scenes may even begin with voice performing but end with textual content. Most directions for minigames or new expertise seem solely in textual content and are simple to skip unintentionally previous.

The textual content itself isn’t at a very excessive studying degree, however there may be a whole lot of it. So long as gamers can learn Last Fantasy character names and Disney vocabulary, there isn’t a lot to journey them up. Kingdom Hearts develops its personal world vernacular over the course of many video games, however it isn’t as current within the first sport because the others. Youthful kids will in all probability want somebody available to learn textual content bins as wanted, however sturdy readers can navigate the sport world independently.

Entering Wonderland to meet the Queen of Hearts in Kingdom Hearts
What child isn’t nostalgic for a film from the ’50s?

Maturity Stage

Actually, in case your little one can deal with the tense and scary scenes from the flicks represented within the sport, they will deal with the entire sport. The sport’s hardest theme is the right way to be there for pals once they appear misplaced. There are occasions when characters get disheartened or lose their means, however the resolution arrives by means of the ability of friendship and by no means giving up. A number of bosses have a barely scary look which may make babies uncomfortable, however once more, if they will deal with Disney dangerous guys, they will get previous Darkside. 

Earlier, I requested if the online game with Mickey Mouse on the duvet is definitely for teenagers. The reply is a powerful, “Not likely.” The controls and studying degree are too superior for the age group most in love with Mickey. Older children with the talent to play Kingdom Hearts may not need to be seen enjoying a Mickey sport. They’re additionally going to overlook out on a lot of the Last Fantasy content material except they’ve performed a couple of of the video games earlier than.

You want look no additional than the Disney properties featured within the sport to know who it’s actually for. Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, and Hercules are all Disney films I grew up with. I additionally grew up with Last Fantasy, enjoying the primary sport once I was small. This sport isn’t for teenagers. It’s for the dad and mom. Later video games skew youthful, however Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix was made for the over-thirty crowd. You may sit down with Kingdom Hearts and have a nostalgia journey with the exhibits and video games you grew up on whereas your children watch and marvel what the heck a Geppetto is.