A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a musical rhythm action game available for purchase on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch consoles. The game's a spinoff from the main Kingdom Hearts franchise, which features a wide range of characters from the libraries of Disney, Pixar, and Square Enix productions. It retells the events of the Kingdom Hearts saga through rhythmic action sequences. Here, players follow along musical obstacle courses set to arrangements from the various games in the series. Players attack, dodge, fly, and more with button commands in time with onscreen prompts. Violence is constant, from regular attacks by different minions to big boss battles, but there's no blood or graphic violence shown onscreen.
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What's it about?
Return once more to the world of Kingdom Hearts in KINGDOM HEARTS: MELODY OF MEMORY, a musical journey through the events of the entire fantastic odyssey. You'll board your Gummi Ship and revisit prior adventures on classic worlds, while also teaming up with some of your favorite Disney, Pixar, and Square Enix characters as you travel down memory road to the tune of over 140 songs and arrangements from the Kingdom Hearts' soundtrack. Players will follow onscreen prompts and keep to the beat of the music in order to fend off Heartless foes with a combination of melee and magic attacks. You'll have to dodge enemy attacks and obstacles, and take flight to collect even more musical memories, while also fighting back against the darkness in huge Boss Battle matches. You can take on the challenge alone or bring your friends along on the adventure in competitive Battle Mode or work together as a team in Co-op play. Will you discover the hidden secrets that lie deep within the melodies of memories?
Is it any good?
The two things this series is known for are its complex, hard to follow plot and its beautifully orchestrated musical score. Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory brings both of these together in this interesting rhythm-based action game that revisits the entirety of the saga to the tune of a catchy beat. There's an original story here involving Kairi's search for Sora after the events of Kingdom Hearts III, but by and large, the game simply serves as a recap of key moments from the franchise via recycled cutscenes. For fans, this can feel a lot like déjà vu, whether it's due to following the story over the past eighteen years or from any number of other recaps including in numerous other games. It never quite explains things thoroughly enough for newcomers either. But for those that have enjoyed the music of the games, the 140+ song library insures there's plenty to offer in that department.
Gameplay in Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is an odd hybrid of classic rhythm games and an endless runner. Like most rhythm games, players must tap certain buttons at key moments in time with the music. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite feel as intuitive as those games. Eventually, though, as players start to get used to the controls, that's when the repetition sets in. Outside of some fun background and character changes, and an ever-changing soundtrack, the gameplay never really varies. It's not long before the single-player experience gets stale. Thankfully, the game's multiplayer components, both co-op and competitive, help to mix things up a bit. Working with or competing against others adds that little something extra that saves the experience from falling into the same monotony of the single player campaign.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about music and music appreciation. How can games help to get kids interested in music? What can games teach kids about things like the rhythm, composition, and structure of music?
How do games like the Kingdom Hearts series benefit from the recognition of iconic characters in the game? Do these games change the way kids look at the characters? How can they create an ad-like effect, encouraging kids to seek out more related merchandise outside of the games?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Subjects: Arts: music, rhythm
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release date: November 13, 2020
- Genre: Music & Dance
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
- Last updated: November 12, 2020
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