Melody of Memory is the latest installment into the fan-favorite Kingdom Hearts series by Square Enix, available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Fans of the series and newcomers alike can jump into this rhythm action game featuring the recap of 20 years of the franchise’s story, familiar faces, Disney guests, and over 140 songs.
Melody of Memory will hold your hand as you experience the key moments of the series, interact with a cast of heroes and villains, visit colorful worlds all the while accompanied by tunes from the various games of Kingdom Hearts.
The game features both the single and multiplayer modes, allowing players to invite up to 7 friends for the ride.
Prepare for the nostalgic trip of the decade, this is our Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory PS4 review.
Melody of Memory is a way to recollect the events that took place over 20 years in series, from the original Kingdom Hearts all the way through Kingdom Hearts 3, in a nice, digestible format. Unfortunately, Melody of Memory might not be the best way to welcome the newcomers to the series: the game does not reveal the subtle interactions between the characters and skips over less flashy but still very important story beats.
However, if you want to know the basics or refresh the twists and turns of the plot in Kingdom Hearts, Melody of Memory is the game for you. Not to mention, you just might learn some hints about where the series is heading next!
The single-player campaign – World Tour mode – is set up as Kairi reliving her memories of Sora in order to find clues tied to his whereabouts. As you play through almost 50 different worlds, you will get to see a number of characters such as Donald Duck, Goofy, Riku, and others.
The fans of the series might find the genre of the game unusual: a rhythm action game with the musical accompaniment of stunning compositions from the previous games, Disney animations, and other Square Enix’s games.
Personally, I was really pleased to hear the old tunes that opened the floodgates of nostalgic memories and emotions.
As a part of the main campaign, you move from world to world in a linear order to relive Kairi’s memories.
The gameplay consists of a simple rhythm-clicking mechanic, the heroes run along a path through the world, killing enemies along the way, destroying various objects or collecting musical notes. To successfully complete a level, players must press buttons with the right timing. Depending on your performance, you will receive a score: Excellent, Good, or Miss. It is possible to fail a mission as every Miss will subtract from your team’s health. Miss enough, and it is restart town.
To advance, players need to fulfill various conditions: sometimes it is enough to simply experience a certain world, other times you would need to defeat a certain number of specific enemies, score enough points or not miss a single hit.
Finishing any level on any difficulty will award players with items, resources for crafting, experience for the current group of heroes. Additionally, there are various achievements, cards, and badges to be received.
At first glance, it might seem like working on a group of characters doesn’t greatly affect the game, however, it does help on higher levels of difficulty by making heroes live longer if you keep missing. Even with that advantage, the player’s sense of rhythm and reaction is vastly more important.
Speaking of difficulty, each melody has 3 levels of difficulty that are very different from each other: easy, medium, and hard. The Beginner level of difficulty is suitable for familiarizing yourself with the melody, Standard allows you to play through with some challenges while Proud will test players’ abilities by offering heavy combinations, cunning traps, and a huge number of enemies.
Occasionally, it feels like the rhythm of the melody and the required rhythm of attacks don’t match, in particular with slower, calmer tunes.
Boss Battles are particularly interesting levels in Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory, featuring an unusual track, new mechanics, colorful battle and, of course, enchanting music.
In my opinion, the feeling is spoiled somewhat by the last levels that have no familiar worlds. Instead, the movement along the track takes place against the background of various clips of cut-scenes from the game.
The game also features a couple of multiplayer modes such as the Double Play where players take on the roles of Riku and Sora to get the highest collective score, COM Versus that pits players against an AI opponent and Versus that allows players to compete against each other.
Determining the accuracy of hitting the rhythm, you hinder your opponent’s gameplay: the number of enemies decreases, the rhythm indicators disappear, timings are knocked off.
To sum it up, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a great game for the fans of the series, plunging the player deep into nostalgia to refresh the events and immerse them in the beloved universe.
Any fan will be pleased to remember the adventures of Sora, the story of Riku, the atrocities of Xehanort and much more. Some moments of the game made me shed a little tear – the flood of memories was incredibly strong. Memory of Melody allowed me to experience these monstrous enormous emotions in a beautiful, nostalgic journey through the wonderful moments of the entire series.
However, it might not be the best game to begin your journey in the Kingdom Hearts Universe. Despite being a strong rhythm action game, the game’s biggest point is reliving memories that already have an emotional impact with its audience. While it might ease newcomers into the franchise and provide delight with a follow-up more detailed exploration of other games, it is clearly aimed at long-time fans.
Similar to: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy
Note: The PlayStation 4 code was provided by the PR for the purposes of this review