KINGDOM HEARTS: MELODY OF MEMORY
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on December 4, 2020
I've got something fun here, or at least I think it will be fun. I'm going to review Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory. As a true Disney fan, I've played Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 on PlayStation 2, but I was never able to complete them. Man, those were some tough games! But I do rock the Guitar Hero games (see what I did there?), so that it might work in my favor. And why is that you might ask yourself? Well, because Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory is in fact a rhythm game!
The basic idea of Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory to sync specific actions to the music that you hear. Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy will run down a track, which looks a lot like a staff; the bar filled with notes on music tablature. In this case, this bar is filled with enemies and obstacles, so specific actions will need to be performed while running. The characters will run automatically, but the other actions are in your hands. You can attack, dodge, jump, pick up crystals and air-glide. Make sure to perform the right actions, because your HP decreases every time you miss out on an action. As long as you have HP left at the end of the song, you will complete it. But if your HP bar runs out before reaching the end, you'll need to do a replay. Don't worry too much about this multitude of things to do; there is a very helpful tutorial in this game to help you get started.
After I completed the tutorial, it was time for the real thing. You will automatically be guided to the map, in order to get a good overview of things. It is here that you can pick levels to complete. Every level contains a song from either the Kingdom Hearts universe or the Disney universe, as well as a couple of missions for you to complete. At the end of each level you will see an overview of how you did. You get to see your rank, you score, you see your level going up. The only thing that I miss here is something that tells me exactly how I did on the missions. But I was too quick to judge. After confirming once or twice, a next screen will show you your missions results. For every completed mission, you will receive a star which you'll need to open gates at a map.
Before you start a level, you can change the difficulty. The game features Beginner, Standard and Proud difficulty settings, which fans of the series might recognize from previous adventures. Beginner is the easiest of the three, while Proud is the hardest. Apart from this, each of the stages you'll come across can be played in three separate modes: First up, there's Basic, which is the default setting of the game. This is a balanced setting which most players will be able to enjoy without too much hassle. Secondly, there's One Button, which does exactly what is says; it negates the need for sequenced inputs, replacing them with one button attacks and lowering the difficulty even more by letting party members auto-attack. Lastly, there's Performer; this mode adds even more enemies and more complex attack sequences for a more difficult challenge. Next to choosing your preferred mode, you can also set items to use before starting a song, like potions. Items will be used automatically as you play. Pretty handy right? To spice things up, some enemies require multiple attacks to be defeated. The number above their heads tells you how many times you'll have to hit them.
After certain levels, you'll get to see cut-scenes, showing you parts of the story (or should I say stories?) that Kingdom Hearts players definitely will recognize. It becomes clear why this game is called Melody of Memory. The game re-tells the story of the Dark Seeker Saga, starting with the first Kingdom Hearts game and moving in order through to Kingdom Hearts III. This is done through Kairi, who reflects upon the events of the series, narrating the story for the player. I played these games like 15 years ago but I do recognize parts of the cut-scenes. So yeah, it is a "melody of memory" to me and I can imagine that fans of the series who played the game more often or more recently than me, will surely have a feast of recognition!
You will also come across some special levels in a well-known Disney theme. Just like in other Kingdom Hearts games, Disney characters can join your party. This makes my Disney-fan-heart beat faster every time! I love to run around and fight side by side with all-time favorites Disney character like Ariel and Hercules! I also like that you can play together with a friend in coop mode, although I think it's complicates things a little bit. You can also compete against friends or COM and see who comes out best! Oh yeah, and don't forget to synthesize items, to help you during your musical travels.
I have to say, I had more fun with this game than expected. I actually made more progress in this game than I ever did with the original games. So, my music and rhythm must be better than my fighting skills? I'm not sure, but what I do know is that Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory was an excellent musical trip down memory lane!
KINGDOM HEARTS: MELODY OF MEMORY
November 13, 2020