My biggest takeaway from Kingdom Hearts VR? My god, how do any of these characters manage with such massive feet? I’ve never really noticed it on a flat screen but, as soon as I jumped into the headset I couldn’t help but stare. There I was in front of an idyllic sunset, cozily anchored onto a tree branch with my best friends. A spectacular light show was taking place across the ocean in front of us. These are the moments you cherish, right?
But all I could do was rudely stare at their balloon-shaped trotters. What if one of us had accidentally fallen into the water? There’d be no saving us. You’d sink like concrete and then who would save the Disney multiverse?
Okay, this might not be the most enlightening hot take. But you’ll have to cut me some slack; I’ve never played Kingdom Hearts before and, more importantly, everything was in Japanese. Square Enix’s long-awaited Kingdom Hearts VR experience just launched as a free app in Japan. For now, it’s got two levels that last about five minutes each but more will be added later on. I find this series incomprehensible at the best of times but trying to make sense of it in another language is like some cruel form of torture.
Still, this was a chance to meet Donald Duck and Goofy in VR. Who could resist that?
Turns out it wasn’t as magical an encounter as I’d hoped. All I could think as I locked eyes with Goofy’s laser-intense gaze while he spoke in his slurred tone was “Please don’t eat me.” Donald, meanwhile, seemed like he was angry with me about something. I get that Donald’s entire existence is to be routinely ticked off but it would have been nice to at least get a smile out of him. It’s a bit like your inescapable memories of that guy in a battered cartoon costume at Disneyland that wants to hug you.
In fairness, the character models for the Disney stars are incredibly smooth. Both Donald and Goofy look like their Kingdom Hearts III counterparts. I just wish we could have met under better circumstances. The Kingdom Hearts-specific cast doesn’t fare quite as well, more closely resembling PS2-era models.
Both scenes eventually give way to musical numbers with flashes of the series’ past included. The beach sequence is pretty pleasant, like a historic fireworks show. The weird musical tunnel found in the other level is like something out of a Willy Wonka tour, though. You can’t help but wish Square had focused on creating more unique VR content rather than these forgettable slideshows.
If it wasn’t clear by now I’d definitely recommend waiting for your native language release of Kingdom Hearts VR. The third chapter will hopefully be included in that version too. No date on the wider release just yet but we’ll keep you posted.