My Favourite Kingdom Hearts Worlds
Even though Kingdom Hearts is one of my favourite things in the whole world, I don’t seem to write a lot about it on this blog so this is me attempting to change that! In this blog post I’m going to list in - no particular order - my favourite worlds within the Kingdom Hearts franchise, this means from the first Kingdom Hearts game all the way through to the latest: Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage (2017).
This blog post is really for those of you who have played some if not most of the Kingdom Hearts games as I will be discussing plot points which you would have never heard of if you haven’t played at least one of the games.
I hope the big fans of Kingdom Hearts have ‘Waltz of the Damned’ now in their heads, I definitely do every time I remember this world! Although Sora encounters Beast during the Hollow Bastion chapter of Kingdom Hearts 1, We don’t actually visit Beast’s Castle until Kingdom Hearts 2. I like this world for a number of reasons, I think the novelty of exploring the world of one of my favourite Disney films may play a part in it but this world does have great boss battles. The first boss consists of a fight in the iconic ballroom, a dark orb heartless, known as a ‘Shadow Stalker’ possesses the ballroom so essentially, you’re fighting the ballroom pillars and chandelier. It’s not too difficult but then he comes back twice as nasty, now as a ‘Dark Thorn’ here you have to fight an invisible entity whilst also using the chandelier to your advantage. However, upon your second visit to Beast’s Castle, you are confronted with the boss that angered me the most. This second boss takes place out on the Bridge where you’ll find yourself up against Organisation XIII member: Xaldin. Xaldin is a pain as he utilises a number of long range attacks, he also summons darkness for a portion of this fight where he is literally invincible for a few seconds. This is where he utilises melee attacks and does NOT STOP attacking you close range, all I can say is thank god for reaction commands! Other than the bosses though, this world has a few good side quests. I enjoyed trying not to wake the wardrobe, the mini boss where you have to fight the heartless 'Thresholder & Possessor' who cling to the doors of the dungeon as well as lighting the lanterns with Lumiere and Mrs. Potts before Cogsworth’s grip slips. As you can see by this huge chunk of writing; Kingdom Hearts 2 has a lot more to do within it’s worlds.
The Land of Dragons
Fun fact: I once went to a theme park that had a dragon themed ride and no word of a lie, they played the field music for this world;‘The Home of Dragons' whilst you waited in line. Not too sure if this was entirely okayed by Disney though...
This world is only found in Kingdom Hearts 2 so far and in case you weren’t aware, Land of Dragons is based around Disney’s 1998 film Mulan and if you know the film, you know that it’s primarily based around the Chinese Army so the Kingdom Hearts world isn’t much different. You spend the first visit of this world pretty much investigating the different sections of it, just fighting any and all heartless you come across. I quite liked the morale system in this world, it made fighting heartless just that little bit more interesting. The first boss in this world is pretty standard, it consists of you fighting Shan Yu, the movie’s villain whilst also not letting the palace gates receive too much damage. I don’t think I’ve ever found this boss particularly difficult. Upon your second visit to The Land of Dragons, things begin to get more interesting, the main thing being you get to fight a big ol’ dragon heartless, known as a ‘Storm Rider’. The ways in which to defeat this almighty beast include; making use of those Kingdom Hearts 2 Reaction Commands by riding on gusts of wind in order to jump onto it’s back and attack it’s weak points. Overall, this world isn’t that interesting to begin with but I think fighting the Storm Rider makes up for that.
Mysterious Tower / Symphony of Sorcery
I’ve managed to squeeze two entries onto this entry for the simple reason that you find one world inside of the other. Let’s start with the Mysterious Tower, the home of Master Yen Sid. Firstly, I love the score behind this world, it’s very… mysterious! I also love near the start of KH2 where you’re required to fight your way up to the top of the tower. I also think the train you need to get in order to reach the tower is adorable too. There isn’t
actually that much to this world, just a couple of mostly empty rooms but it’s the small details that allowed the Mysterious Tower to make its way onto this list.
Let’s now move on to the Symphony of Sorcery. The Symphony of Sorcery world can be found in Dream Drop Distance (2012) and is based on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia (1940) and wow is it beautiful. I’m going to be focusing on Sora’s experience in this world as I feel it was the most fun to play. Once you enter this world through The Mysterious Tower, you initially end up in a fluffy cloud area; there’s literally clouds making up the path, the walls and the platforms with rainbows that allow the use of flow-motion to glide along them connecting the cloud platforms together. The next section of this world is ridiculously pretty; it’s similar to what I expect zero gravity to be like. You’re required to navigate this area whilst floating and gliding to each platform, there’s also cherry blossoms floating around you, very pretty. The final section of this world is super super cool, you’ll find yourself walking through multicoloured meadows when suddenly stormy weather begins and it is Sora's job to return sunny skies to the world. It's just a really beautiful world with great music and a few fun mechanics dotted throughout.
La Cité des Cloches
Translated to “The City of Bells”, La Cité des Cloches is another world found in Dream Drop Distance (2012), based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). The main reason I think I like this world is similar to what I said in the Beast’s Castle entry, I like being able to explore a world I’ve seen before in the film but in more detail. I really liked being able to explore inside of the Cathedral and in the Catacombs which to my foggy memory wasn’t seen too much in the film. Lets talk about the boss for this world, as I mentioned previously in Dream Drop Distance you play through the worlds as both Riku and Sora. When I played through this boss with Riku, no problem. Sora however? Not too easy. This boss is another Dream Eater, this time a 'Wargoyle' which is basically a giant Gargoyle that’s equipped with fire. He has powerful close range attacks that are difficult to dodge but isn’t short of long range attacks either. So basically, it’s pretty tough; especially playing on a 3DS, it’s difficult to react fast using 3DS buttons. Later on in Dream Drop Distance you find yourself fighting all 3 of the previous bosses you fought one after the other with no break in which to save, the Wargoyle is included in those 3 and that was tough.
The World Within
So here is where it gets confusing, in 2017 Square Enix released Birth By Sleep 0.2 A Fragmentary Passage for the PS4. It’s a couple of hours long sequel game to 2010’s PSP game Birth By Sleep. The World Within is technically kind of The Dwarf Woodlands? (a world based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs found in Birth By Sleep) but a version of The Dwarf Woodlands that has been taken over by darkness and is therefore in the Realm of Darkness. So within Dark World, Aqua encounters a large mirror, this is where her reflection pulls her in and she is then in The World Within. I like this world as like most of Dark World, it’s pretty creepy! This one more so though, with mirrors surrounding you, you play as Aqua stepping into each mirror and defeating the unversed that lie within. However, some of the mirrors trick you and give the illusion of something else. For example; the mirror that confused me the most is the one in which you can turn the screen literally upside down and you have to navigate your way around the world with backwards controls and upside down visuals. There’s also a boss for this world and it’s Aqua’s reflection. So you’re essentially fighting yourself which isn’t the easiest thing when you both have the exact same abilities and fighting style.
Ahhh good ol’ Traverse Town, feels like a home away from home. It’s popped up in 5/9 of the games in the series and acts kind of like a hub town as you start a lot of the games in this town. It’s probably one of my favourites due to it’s sentimental value; it’s where the journey begins! Traverse Town is where Sora first meets Donald and Goofy, where Leon, Yuffie, Aerith and Cid first explain what Sora has to do and it’s where you spend a lot of your time returning to in the first Kingdom Hearts game. Similar to Beasts Castle, I hope when some of you read the title of this entry you immediately got this tune stuck in your head. I was a little unsure at first when Traverse Town was featured in Dream Drop Distance as a lot of new areas that were previously never mentioned had now appeared, eg: The Fourth District, Fifth District, Garden, Fountain Plaza, Backstreets, Post Office and more,simply because something I knew so well and was so comfortable with was being changed. Now I’ve played enough DDD I’m pretty settled on this extended Traverse Town, I mean the people of this world have to get their post delivered somewhere!
Agrabah is based on Aladdin and is pretty familiar to your average Kingdom Hearts fan. I think it actually appears in 4? of the games in one way or another. I always get the tasks to do in Agrabah in KH1 mixed up with the tasks you have to in Agrabah in KH2 but from what I remember there are multiple bosses and all of them are a lot of fun; from exploring the Cave of Wonders, freeing Jasmine from her ceramic centipede prison, fighting Jafar as a genie and defeating the Volcanic Lord & Blizzard Lord heartless. The world stays fairly close to the film however with the addition of a few extra areas to explore. The highlight of this world is being given Magic Carpet to assist you in with defeating heartless. This comes especially in handy when fighting Jafar's shadow where you have to cover a number of sandy dunes in a short period of time.
I’m pretty sure the Olympus Coliseum is featured in every game except A Fragmentary Passage, I’m even including the mobile game and KH3 in this. In the first KH game, the Olympus Coliseum has a little story but is almost used a mini game to level up and to unlock more items. It’s essentially just tournament stuff; you fight rounds of heartless, Titans and Final Fantasy characters and there’s a boss battle with Cerberus. This tournament theme follows through to many of the other games. In Kingdom Hearts 2, you do similar stuff except now you get to explore the Underworld as well as fight Hades, fight Cerberus again, protect Megara from Pete and heartless, Fight Pete then fight the Hydra, and that’s just the first time you visit the Olympus Coliseum! Once you return to the Olympus Coliseum later in the game, you’ll have to do more tournament stuff, that is until you fight Hades, once last time. In Birth By Sleep, again you’ll find yourself doing the tournament stuff but with a new friend; Zack from Final Fantasy VII! As well as young Hercules! Honestly I played Birth By Sleep so long ago I don’t remember exactly what there is to do but I know I did enjoy each play of it.
The World That Never Was / Kingdom Hearts
This is the world where it all kicks off, I’m fairly certain this world is seen in KH2, Dream Drop Distance and maybe 358/2 Days. I decided to add it to this list though for all the boss battles you have to do here. Firstly, there’s the Xigbar battle where you basically have to dodge all his shots and deflect them back to him, there’s the boss battle with Luxord which I remember despising! I couldn’t keep up with all the card tricks! Then we get to the Siax battle. Once you think you’re done with all that, you’ve got to face Xemnas and from what I remember, this battle wasn’t too hard but I think that’s because you still have to fight him another 80 or something times after that. Now moving onto Kingdom Hearts itself, here is where all the final boss battles take place, although dragged out quite a lot, this may be the coolest boss battle in the entire franchise.
I know Hollow Bastion later turns into Radiant Garden but in this case, I’m just talking about Hollow Bastion. This is a pretty world! in both Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, the main scores for this world in makes me really nostalgic. I enjoyed playing through the dungeon puzzles with Beast in Hollow Bastion in Kingdom Hearts 1 as well as the puzzles in the library. I also liked fighting Maleficent, on her floating platform and later as a dragon, I remember that battle being very rewarding once I had done it. Some things changed in Hollow Bastion by the time Kingdom Hearts 2 came around, it’s now under construction. With actual residents consisting of the usual Final Fantasy characters and Scrooge McDuck. Hollow Bastion is also where one of my favourite battles takes place, I know a lot of people will disagree here but I love Demyx’s“Dance Water, Dance!” battle. This is also where avid Goofy fans may get a shock… There’s also a pretty cool event where you’ll find yourself fighting your way through waves of heartless whilst simultaneously making your way down a mountain with the help of different Final Fantasy characters. It then gets pretty epic, when you have to fight 1000 heartless. Once all of this is done, Hollow Bastion then turns into Radiant Garden where you have the choice to fight Sephiroth (good luck with that!).
Aww, Destiny Islands. Much like Traverse Town; this is a sentimental world. I must have played through this world like 6 or 7 times now as it's the first playable world (technically) in the first Kingdom Hearts game. I believe Sora, Riku, Kairi and their Final Fantasy pals; Selphie, Wakka and Tidus all live on a nearby island and frequent Destiny Islands during their down time. This is due to Kairi and Selphie being spotted on a different island in Kingdom Hearts 2, wistfully looking over at the island they once played on. So as it’s the first world within the first game, it’s the world I’ve experienced the most. This means that I know where all the items are that you have to find for Kairi for the raft off by heart. It’s also the most rewarding thing when Riku and Sora finally get back to Destiny Islands at the end of KH2, I felt so proud for completing both games! I also love the race with Riku but out of all the times I’ve played it, I’ve probably only won around 2/3 times, he's a speedy boy!
Country of the Musketeers
I wont lie, I was a little apprehensive about this world before I got to it. However when I did, I realised how fun it could be! Country For Musketeers can only be found in Dream Drop Distance so far. The Reality Shift for this world is great fun, small comic book strips fall from the top of the screen towards the bottom and you follow the way the arrows on screen are pointing on each panel with the joystick! I also had fun protecting Minnie who is being chased by the Tyranto Rex. I just loved exploring the huge theatre in this world. I also liked fighting both bosses, one as Riku and one as Sora, both in the theatre. Sora got to fight Pete and the Beagle Boys and Riku got to fight a Mole like Dream Eater called Holey Moley, how cute! I think I have seen the film this world is based on; Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004) when I was younger but I don't remember very much about it now. My guess is that this world makes a few changes from the original script.
Everyone loves Pride Lands! As most of you know, Simba is featured in the first Kingdom Hearts game as a summon but he actually gets his own world in Kingdom Hearts 2! I only have one problem with it, I understand that the Hyenas are annoying but I don’t like the fact they whimper when you attack them, they sound like a sad dog and it breaks my heart! I did enjoy chasing them around the Elephant Graveyard though! The main boss during your first visit to the Pride Lands is of course, Scar. I don't remember this boss being too difficult though. I do remember how ugly lion Pete is though! The second boss of this world is a giant Rhino like Heartless called a Groundshaker, I remember this being tricky but pretty fun once the frustration had worn off!
Now I’ve left Twilight Town last for a reason, Twilight Town really is my ultimate favourite. Even out of all the different Disney worlds, this is the one I’d love to live in! I know a lot of people disagree with me here but I actually love the 7 Days in Twilight Town at the start of Kingdom Hearts 2! I love Struggle, I love Hayner, Pence and Olette, I love Sunset Station, I love the part time jobs you can take, I love the 7 Wonders of Twilight Town, The Old Mansion, the clock tower, sea salt ice cream, need I go on?! This is a nostalgic, sentimental world (I know I’ve used those two words a lot to describe many worlds) for me and the scores of Twilight Town help contribute to this. At Dusk I’ll Think of You, The Afternoon Streets, Lazy Afternoons & Xion all make me very emotional and nostalgic of Twilight Town. Twilight Town features in Kingdom Hearts 2, 358/2 Days and has been spotted in some Kingdom Hearts 3 trailers.
Did your favourite world make my list? What else should feature here? For more Kingdom Hearts posts see what else I've written on here. Make sure you also check out nerdoutwordout.com as it is where the majority of my Kingdom Hearts/gaming posts end up!