When I first discovered Kingdom Hearts in 2002, it also, thanks to a catchy, melancholy Utada Hikaru tune, introduced me to the wonderful world of J-pop. Music has been embedded within the franchise’s DNA throughout all of its daffy, emotional, lore-stuffed titles. So in a sense, I shouldn’t be surprised in the form the latest title has taken. And yet, here I am. Surprised, and delighted, to learn that the upcoming Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a full-on, straight up rhythm game.
As Collider’s resident music dorkus, rhythm video games are especially important to me. From PaRappa the Rapper to Rock Band, hitting buttons in time with music to achieve a video game goal activates serotonin in me like no other video game component can. So to hear that Melody of Memory is applying one of my favorite video game genres on top of one of the most delightfully dense video game franchises — a place where Disney characters and anime heroes go on adventures with equal billing — is exciting news, indeed. And in this go around, you’ll hit buttons in rhythm to enact pieces of action and combat, reminding me a bit of a less intense Thumper or Amplitude. According to their official website,”the game features a massive catalog of over 140 songs, including music from the Kingdom Hearts series, Disney, and more.” Gotta tell you — the idea of smashing someone to that Utada Hikaru song sounds wonderful.
But if you ain’t a rhythm game stan, and just want your new Kingdom Hearts fix, this game will probably still work for you. You’ll get fan favorite characters like Sora, Donald, Goofy, Riku, Kairi, Hercules, Aladdin, and more in the title. While it may not be an official entry into the Kingdom Hearts continuity, it still manages to offer a story and be crammed with everything you love about the KH world thus far.
Plus — the specific trailer for Melody of Memory also comes with a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts‘ 2020 future in general, what they’re calling the series’ second phase. And that includes promising other titles like Melody of Memory, Kingdom Hearts 3: Re:Mind (a DLC expansion of the original game), Kingdom Hearts Dark Road (a mobile game focusing on the villainous Xehanort), and two empty spaces which could be… anything. Get your toes tapping, and get your brains speculating.
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory comes to PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch later in 2020. Check out its trailer, and the overall KH 2020 trailer (both in Japanese), below. For more in the world of video games, here’s every PlayStation 5 game trailer thus far.