Kingdom Hearts Review

This is a brief action game with awkward controls that manages to channel only a little of the Kingdom Hearts magic.

You can't always find solace in your dreams, as Sora discovers in this platforming adventure for the LG VX8000. Kingdom Hearts traps our young friend and his enormous clown shoes in his slumber, where the ne'er-do-well crone Maleficent pits him against shadowy figures and rudimentary jumping puzzles. There is only one level currently available, which makes it a brief action game with awkward controls that manages to channel only a little of the Kingdom Hearts magic.

Beating up Heartless is a lousy job, but someone's got to do it.
Beating up Heartless is a lousy job, but someone's got to do it.

Donald, Goofy, Sora, and Jiminy Cricket were traveling across the universe when they decided to grab some shut-eye, and so they put the Gummi ship on autopilot. In their sleep, a strange creature crept undetected to the vessel and subsumed the dreams of Sora, who then wakes up alone on an island. It's actually called Swashbuckler's Island, but there are no swashbucklers to be found here--just a parrot, who says that it's probably a good idea to look around and gather stuff to make a raft so you can shove off. The island itself looks fairly bland, minus an inexplicable lava pit and a strange altar among the high rocks.

Sora can pull off a number of moves aside from the necessary running and jumping. He can climb trees and ladders, grasp the edges of platforms and pull himself up, use his keyblade to slide down zip lines, and lift and throw objects. He controls like a tank, though, with one button making him move forward, one making him move backward, and two more buttons turning him left or right, which can make positioning for some of your jumps tricky. Additionally, the camera follows Sora when he's moving but not when he's sitting still, so when you have to stop and line him up for an activity, you'll also have to shift forward or back a bit to get the camera in the right spot. This can make even simple jumps tedious to pull off, so the actual platforming component is the least appealing among your various abilities.

The Heartless, which are the shadow creatures, make an appearance on the island as well, and you'll have to whip out your keyblade to defeat them. Three good hits dispatch them for good, earning you some "munny" and eventually leveling Sora and increasing his health. At the very end of your adventuring, you'll also get the magic spell "blizzard," though it's unclear how the spell comes to bear in combat (if it does), as you only have the opportunity to use it once before the game is complete.

You'll need to find all the pieces for your raft, along with four gems to set at the altar, although these are fairly easy to get to even if they're not just out lying around. After you leave the island, the game ends. The game is being released in downloadable episodes, and only the first area is currently available. It'll take you maybe 20 minutes to a half hour to gather what you need and then set off for the next world, where matters trail off and leave you hanging.

OK. And, now what?
OK. And, now what?

What little you see of the game does look good, though. Sora himself is very detailed and animated well. The precious few other characters you see are all enemies that aren't as well defined. The island itself has only a few areas and is pretty plain. Aside from the aforementioned lava room and altar, the island is all beach, rocks, and water. The 3D environments are very decent, and it would have been nice if there were a larger variety of them. There's very little music in the game, except for a few short notes for "something bad just happened" and "hey, you found something good." The menu music is the nicest, and it is most similar to the console Kingdom Hearts' menu music. A few scattered sound effects round the package out, but they are serviceable and not particularly noteworthy.

There's a foundation for adventure here, but there just isn't very much content to look at and play with. Once you've manhandled Sora around the island and cleared it, you're through, and there's no advantage to replaying the area again unless you're horrifically bored and are miles away from any sort of entertainment. What little there is to this game promises to be an interesting total product. However, since there's just one level available and not much to see, those who have a desperate need to get their platforming on should consider holding off until more modules for the game are complete.

The Good

  • Good-looking character

The Bad

  • Incomplete
  • Brief
  • 3D controls are somewhat awkward
  • Camera isn't always where you need it

About the Author