Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (2012)

by Nish
6 minutes read


A direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts II, this game offers a visually stunning and immersive experience on the Nintendo 3DS, continuing the beloved saga of Sora and Riku.


Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is a thrilling addition to the Kingdom Hearts series, developed for the Nintendo 3DS. It follows the journey of Sora and Riku as they face new challenges in their quest to become Keyblade Masters.


“Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance” takes place after the events of “Kingdom Hearts Re:coded” and focuses on Sora and Riku’s Mark of Mastery exam. The exam is a test they must pass to become full-fledged Keyblade Masters and prepare for the return of Master Xehanort. The exam requires them to protect parallel worlds, which are in a state of “deep sleep” and disconnected from other worlds.

These sleeping worlds are plagued by Dream Eaters — creatures born from darkness that seek out the sleeping worlds’ Keyholes. Sora and Riku’s task is to reawaken these worlds by unlocking the seven Keyholes they find there and then return to the realm of light. They recruit benevolent “Spirit” Dream Eaters to guide them and battle the malevolent “Nightmare” Dream Eaters.

During their journey, Sora and Riku cross paths with the resurrected “Ansem” and Xemnas, as well as a younger incarnation of Master Xehanort from an alternate past. The trio brings Sora to the World That Never Was, where he learns of Organization XIII’s true purpose—to serve as vessels for Master Xehanort to place pieces of his heart inside, thereby transforming them into clones of Xehanort.

Sora is forced into a comatose state by the young Xehanort and his heart is swallowed by darkness, though it is protected by Ventus’s suit of armor residing within him. Riku goes to rescue Sora, only to be confronted by the young Xehanort, who unveils a new Organization XIII composed of the newly revived Master Xehanort and his eleven vessels.

Master Xehanort plans to pit these vessels against seven Keyblade wielders and recreate the χ-blade. He tries to turn Sora into his last needed vessel, but Sora is rescued by Riku, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Lea—the revived human form of the original Organization’s Axel. After Sora’s rescue, Xehanort and his other vessels retreat.

The game’s gameplay largely follows the action RPG and hack and slash gameplay of previous games in the series. Players alternate between the roles of Sora and Riku via the ‘Drop’ system. During gameplay, a Drop Gauge gradually depletes over time, though it can be replenished with items. When the gauge completely empties, control switches to the other character.

The game reuses the Command Deck system from “Birth by Sleep”, in which players can customize a deck filled with various actions, spells, and items that can be quickly selected. The game has been well received in Japan and in the US, selling over 250,000 and 180,000 units on its debuts respectively.


Sora, Riku, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, various Disney and Square Enix characters


The game introduces the ‘Drop’ system for switching between Sora and Riku, and features ‘Dream Eaters’ as companions. It utilizes the 3DS’s 3D technology for immersive gameplay experiences.


Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is a standout title in the series, offering an engaging experience with its unique gameplay mechanics and captivating story.

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