Reviews, Video Games

Katie Plays Stuff: Kingdom Hearts Unchained X

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First things first: I am a huge fan of Square Enix and Disney’s Kingdom Hearts series. I will admit that I was a bit skeptical of it at first: the idea of a story combing Disney and Final Fantasy characters seemed odd to me, but then I actually played it and loved it.  So of course I downloaded Kingdom Hearts Unchained X (apparently this is actually supposed to be the Greek letter chi) pretty much as soon as I heard of it. And, as usual, I have some thoughts about it.

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X is actually a port of a Japanese browser game called simply Kingdom Hearts X, which came out in 2013. It takes place roughly 100 years before the events of the first game and centers around different factions who are competing to locate and gather the last remaining bits of light, called Lux.

It comes with a rather limited character creation system, were you pick your character’s gender, name, and appearance. I tried to get a character that looks as much like me as humanly possible, but the result ended up being a character who looks like she’s been rocking the ganj. Your avatar’s gender and appearance can be changed at any point in the game.

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The game’s artstyle is very cartoony, but also a little bit generic, especially in the player character models. A lot of it is done in pastel colors, but Kingdom Hearts is generally a very light-hearted series, so it makes sense. It also makes sense that the character models are less detailed, since it’s a browser-turned mobile game, made for systems that generally have less memory or processing power than a PC or console.

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Gameplay is also fairly simple. It is turn-based, where you can fire off a string of attacks using medals featuring different Disney and Final Fantasy characters, then the enemy gets off a turn to attack. You can get new medals by finding them in chests, or completing quests. Flicking the screen executes a multi-enemy attack, and sliding a medal across the screen executes a special attack (as long as you have enough ability points). You can also obtain the game’s currency (called jewels) through completing certain tasks. They can also be purchased with real money (because games just can’t have microtransactions these days), but I have thus far managed without having to do that.

Another feature of the game is the avatar board. This board can be used to unlock new costumes (with different features and abilities) for your character. They are unlocked using avatar coins, which you gain by completing certain objectives within quests. It comes with two avatar boards, but there are others that can be unlocked using jewels.

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The quests themselves are mostly of the “go here and defeat this thing” variety. There are two types that you can choose from: story quests (which advance the game’s story) and special quests (that net you special rewards). Occasionally a special boss will appear that you can defeat for certain rewards as well. The game can be played single player, but has multiplayer elements where you can call on allies for help (using medals picked at the beginning of a quest), or join a party. You also pick a guild or clan to join when first starting the game, which you can change later. There is also a ranking system for both players and clans, based on how much Lux they collect.

The game itself is entertaining, even if it does tend to get a bit repetitive. It’s a good way to tide over fans who are waiting ever so patiently (or not) for Kingdom Hearts III. It’s also a free-to-play game, so it’s worth checking out for that alone.

The game is currently available on both the Apple store and Google Play.

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