By Spencer . May 5, 2012 . 12:01am
We’ve seen Pinocchio in Kingdom Hearts before, Square Enix made Monstro a world for the first Kingdom Hearts game. Players will revisit Disney’s film, but from a different perspective in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] when you play as Sora. Prankster’s Paradise begins, if you play as Riku, inside Monstro. Gepetto calls out for Pinocchio and Riku in the distance runs over to help him.
Prankster’s Paradise is designed more like a platformer than other Kingdom Hearts 3D levels. Players have to climb ladders and leap from ledge to ledge or you will fall into… stomach acid. Watch out because these bubbling green pools will deplete your health. Square Enix also placed barrels Riku can walk on and roll forward to get to Gepetto.
Riku isn’t usually as helpful as Sora, but he jumped at the chance to look for Pinocchio when Gepetto explained his predicament. Jiminy Cricket is there too who Riku remembered much to Jiminy’s surprise. Jiminy asks Riku have they met before and how he knows him before joining Riku.
We see Pinocchio in the next room, but a hooded man captures him. If you have *memories* of a previous Kingdom Hearts game you’ll know who he is immediately. For those that skipped the chain Kingdom Hearts 3D summarizes key points from a previous game with text on top of images from event scenes.
Prankster’s Paradise is designed with vertical depth and big drops if you fall from a platform. Square Enix placed trampolines in the area so players can quickly hop up to higher ground. Popping Bubble, the touchscreen Reality Shift command that changes depending on the level, seals enemy Dream Eaters in bubbles. Sora and Riku can ride these bubbles for a few seconds and spring off them before they pop. Monstro’s gut is a maze with tonsil-like triggers. Hit one of these with your keyblade and the world flips upside down. Players are supposed to make Monstro’s digestive tract twist a couple of times, but there’s a much easier way to get through the level and open hard to reach treasure chests.
Flowmotion, one of the new systems in Kingdom Hearts 3D, let Sora and Riku spin around lampposts and grind down staircase rails. You can also use Flowmotion to vault off a walls and spirals towards enemies with Riku’s keyblade. A more useful application of the diving Flowmotion is starting an infinite wall jump. Press B right after you bounce off a wall to make Sora or Riku jump off invisible ground. You can use the dive Flowmotion again and then jump again to get even higher until you reach the ceiling. In Prankster’s Paradise or any other level, it’s easy to hug the edges and use the infinite wall jump to avoid all of the obstacles in an area. This trick also makes reaching the treasure chests with Dream Eater recipes a piece of cake.
Basically, you can skip the level designs, even the complicated grind rail area in Traverse Town by tapping B then Y over and over again.
While you can also use this to avoid enemies, Sora and Riku have to fight to get strong enough to defeat bosses. The boss waiting at the end of Prankster’s Paradise for Riku can be pretty tough. This shelled Dream Eater has a lot of HP to whittle down and with the Drop meter ticking you have to hit it hard and fast. The biggest challenge is the size of the arena. You spend precious seconds running back and forth just to get in range to hit the boss and then it rolls away. The trick is to hit a switch on the stage to flip the arena upside down, which stuns the boss for a couple of seconds. Yeah, this is one of the few places in the game where the infinite wall jump doesn’t make things easier.