Riku, who has a new look with short hair, begins the Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance demo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame world. He sees Quasimoto clutching an injured Esmeralda. As soon as I got control of Riku, I ran into weak enemies and hit them by pressing A for a basic attack. The other attack changes depending on which moves you have in a deck. You can rotate through spells like Dark Fire, Cura, and Blizzaga plus techniques such as Dark Breaker by pressing up and down on the D-pad. The slide pad makes your character move, B is for jump, and L/R rotate the camera.
I figured it wasn’t worth fighting vanilla monsters with Esmeralda wounded, so I ran straight to the next area. A mini-map on the bottom screen lets you know where to go and it’s possible, at least in the Tokyo Game Show demo, to run past enemies.
You have to fight bosses and Riku’s side has a purple-ish lizard with a square torso. Maybe it’s something like a purple dragon bursting out form a colorful cardboard box. The monster flies all around the screen, which may have been a challenge in previous Kingdom Hearts games, but not Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Riku can fly too by holding B and has no problem hovering in the air.
I flew towards the boss prepared to use Dark Breaker and noticed a bunch of nodes encircling the battlefield. Hit one of these and you can connect the nodes by drawing lines on the touch screen. This sends Riku barreling on the path you created, useful for closing distance when you’re up against tough monsters. All of the flying and high speed action made Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance feel like it has a touch of Dragon Ball Z.
I beat the boss by using basic attacks and waiting from the monster to think its closing in on me. After I defeated it a Wondernyan, a puppy like dream pet you can control, showed up and wagged its tail before the screen that thanked people for playing the game. We’ll talk more about partner characters when we share impressions of Sora’s story later this week.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is further in development than you may believe. The Nintendo 3DS game is slated for a spring 2012 release in Japan.
(Note: Screenshots are from an older build of the game. Sora and Riku have a different look in Kingdom Hearts 3D, which you can catch a glimpse of here.)