Review: Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

Geek Culture

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (image: Hearts Birth by Sleep (image:

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (image:

If kids grow up fast, videogame franchises grow up slow. I hadn’t really settled down to a Kingdom Hearts game since our second child arrived, which I realized today was a good five years. It’s been that long since the last console iteration.

The other portable editions like Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days felt more like spin offs to me that a genuine attempt to move things forward. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep happily makes good on some old promises. What’s more, my now five year old son is more than happy to watch me play the game – although there are one or two scenes where he needs a cushion to hide behind.

I don’t know about you, but I’m offer a little wary of letting my kids watch me play games, particularly if they have an older ESRB rating. But a little time with Birth by Sleep and my son was enough to realize this was a game well suited to family gaming.

Having been waiting for a new Kingdom Hearts since before he was around, it was special to finally get one I could share with him. It’s diminutive nature, and Disney setting means that although some scenes are a little ‘full-contact’ I was happily able to share the experience.

I had expected only the console release of Kingdom Hearts 3 to be able to scratch my Disney Fantasy itch, but Birth by Sleep has shown just how much can be accomplished on a handheld.

We’re still having a good time as we work through the game story, and our breakfast combination often drifts into particular nuances about how the three plots interact with each other.

Three apprentices are on offer to play, and you can tackle each in any order as they follow distinct interconnected stories. These combine to make Birth by Sleep something of a long game (around 24 hours in total) but there is enough of a story here to keep my son interested – and asking detailed plot line questions.

If you’ve not spent time with a Kingdom Hearts game before this is a good place to start.

I know first time you come across the strange combination of Final Fantasy and Disney worlds it seems rather odd. But it’s the sort of ill-advised mash-up that videogames excel at. What results is a more light hearted – although no less complex – rendering of a Final Fantasy style adventure. It’s a cross over that is perfectly pitched for families.

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