Kingdom Hearts Union χ - It's Good & Cute
I've been a big Kingdom Hearts fan since the first game came out and smashed the intellectual properties of Disney and Square together to create a bizarre yet beautiful whole when I was but a simple eleven-year-old with a passion for the Final Fantasies. The intro sequence was astonishing, and then you get to attack Tidus from Final Fantasy X with a wooden sword on a beach, and talk about how you want to eat fruit. And that's before the heartless appear. It's a great game.
Little was I to know the weird and winding history that the series would take on, as if challenging itself to a river race in a hedge maze. Kingdom Hearts II was a brilliant addition, a game in which you simply have to GET UP ON THE HYDRA'S BACK! We loved it.
Fast forward through a list of confusingly titled games on various platforms, each dumping new plot elements to divide Kingdom Hearts fans into sections of people with wildly varying knowledge of the chaotically expanding lore of the game world, and we have Kingdom Hearts Union χ (that's a cross, not a letter X - fancy!). Originally a Japanese browser game named χ, then a Japanese mobile game named Unchained χ, it wasn't for a while that we got North American and European launches for the game. Nevertheless, you can bet there's even more lore and back story huddling inside this thing and just waiting to burst out onto our faces and eat our brains.
In 2017 it has been rebranded as Kingdom Hearts Union χ, and here we are. I am only so far through the game at this point, and haven't yet reached any real exposition other than the appearance of a cute cat friend named Chirithy, who I love. Regardless, I really like this game. It's a mobile game that feels fluid and inviting in a way few mobile games do. The avatar customisation is strongly reminiscent of Gaia Online, and there is an ability/stat unlock system in the game that uses avatar boards, so you can unlock extra AP alongside a new accessory or hairstyle.
The game has such a beautiful style, making traversing each level a real joy, and making avatar customisation feel worthwhile (because how can I resist making myself cuter and cuter until the end of time?). Gameplay relies on a few simple movements - tap to attack or swipe out a medal for a special attack - but it doesn't feel empty or aimlessly repetitive. You progress through a story world, help everyone out by destroying heartless, and collect lots of munny and new keyblades.
The levelling up systems (for both you and your medals) alongside this make for such a fun game that feels so full of things to do and creepy trees to see, I'm not sure I will ever put it down.