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DS  header logo

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded

For: DS

More remakes? Are Square Enix taking the Mickey?

Product: Kingdom Hearts Re:coded | Publisher: Square Enix | Format: DS | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded DS, thumbnail 1

It's funny how we come to accept the absolutely bizarre over time. Mashing up the worlds of Final Fantasy and Disney may have seemed odd at the start of the millennium, but now it's simply business as usual.

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded is not a real next step in the series - in fact, it's a Nintendo DS port of what was originally a Japanese mobile phone title.

While Re:coded steals liberally from past Kingdom Hearts titles - a point that is bound to irritate fans of the series - it's also incredibly varied in gameplay, and we didn't once find ourselves bored. If only the execution was a little better we'd be recommending the game outright.

Getting to the Heart of the matter

We join the action as Jiminy Cricket notices that his magical journal has gone a little haywire.

Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and the gang decide that the only way to fix it is to create a digital version of Sora inside, who can then find and destroy all the bugs, returning the pages back to normal.

This involves travelling back through many of the worlds and speaking to all the characters from the past Kingdom Hearts games. It all feels rather cheap and recycled, yet at the same time the amount of variation in play more than makes up for this.

Each world, from Wonderland to Agrabah, has its own gameplay style. Wonderland, for example, plays out like an adventure game, with memories to collect and puzzles to figure out.

The Olympus Coliseum with Hercules, on the other hand, puts all the real-time action to the side, and opts for a Final Fantasy turn-based style approach.

Other worlds include sidescrolling platformers, shoot-'em-ups and even a real-time strategy style of play. The amount of variety on show is really wonderful, and it's entertaining to see what each new world holds.

Clever coding

There are plenty of clever ideas when it comes to stats collecting, too. As Sora is technically not real and instead part of a computer, Square Enix has played with this concept masterfully.

Sora has a motherboard, and as he kills baddies and loots boxes, he collects chips that can be placed onto the board, linking together CPUs to make himself more powerful.

Of course, he's also got his Keyblade, and this too can be upgraded, as can his special moves. Moves can also be combined, and experimenting with different names and elements is great fun.

Sora point

Sadly, while Kingdom Hearts Re:coded can be forgiven for it's blatant stealing from past games, the somewhat dodgy controls are less forgivable.

The platforming sections are hopelessly tedious, as it's far too difficult to judge many of the jumps, and Sora constantly falls from heights, forcing you to complete whole sections all over again.

The camera is also completely outrageous. It never focuses on where you're heading, which means you have to hold the R button and spin it yourself, which clearly is not useful if you're in the middle of a battle.

There is an option to set it to auto-follow, but even that doesn't work properly. Combine the horrid camera with terrible platforming sections, and you've got plenty of nightmares to work through.

But despite these nuisances, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded is a marvellous addition to the series and will whet the appetites of many fans while they wait for the next real sequel.

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 12 January 2011
With just over a dozen hours of clever and varied gameplay, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded will appeal to many an RPG fan, including those who are yet to experience the Kingdom Hearts world
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