5 reasons you should play the KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory Demo

A free demo for the game is available to download now - we highlight some of the key features. Plus arrogantly boast about our high scores.
By Duncan Heaney

Here’s some fantastic news for KINGDOM HEARTS fans, rhythm-action fans, or anyone who just likes really bloomin’ good music – a demo of KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory is available to play right now!

A free demo for the game has just been released for Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. It features six amazing music tracks from the game, a taste of the single player modes, co-op and much more.

Here are just five toe-tapping reasons you should drop everything to give it a go:

1. You can feel how the game plays

An interesting thing about rhythm-action games is that it’s difficult to know what to expect until you play it for yourself. Sure, we can talk about it, and we can even show it in action…

But it’s only when you’re there, lost in the music yourself, that you’ll really get it. And that’s exactly what this demo is for.

It features one of the three gameplay styles featured in the full game - Field Battle. In these stages, a team of three characters runs across a musical score, taking out enemies to the beat of the song.

As you near a foe, a circle will close around them. Pressing the button at the right time will take it out. There’s more to it of course, some enemies are in the air and you’ll have to jump to hit them or avoid their projectiles. Some enemies take more than one hit, and others need you to use magic.

Fortunately, the game is impressively easy to read - you know exactly what you need to press and when. Actually doing it, that’s a different matter of course, but when you get into that rhythm-action flow, deep in the music, and right on the beat, the experience is positively euphoric.

2. The music is… *chef’s kiss

A rhythm-action game lives and dies by the quality of its soundtrack. Fortunately, KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory has a big point in its favor: it’s KINGDOM HEARTS!

The soundtracks to these games are legendary - and for good reason. Composer Yoko Shimomura has produced an incredibly distinctive sound across multiple titles, with tracks that perfectly capture the intense battles, emotional character moments, goofy antics and sense of wonder that the series is known for.

The new demo incudes six tracks to play through - four in single player and two in co-op. If you want to go it alone, you can battle through the following songs:

  • Welcome to Wonderland from KINGDOM HEARTS - fans of the original adventure will instantly recognize this theme. Wonderland is the first Disney world that Sora, Donald and Goofy visit, full of unforgettable characters like Alice and the Queen of Hearts.
  • Hand in Hand from KINGDOM HEARTS - Taking on Heartless in Traverse Town was always thrilling in the original game, thanks largely to this amazing battle theme. It’s impossible not to feel pumped up - and that’s no different in Melody of Memory.
  • The Rustling Forest from KINGDOM HEARTS Birth By Sleep - Another battle theme, this shows the sheer breadth of the music in KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory. If you want to make it even more authentic to the game it comes from, just imagine Maleficent sneering at you while you play.
  • Wave of Darkness I from KINGDOM HEARTS 0.2 Birth By Sleep -A fragmentary passage - Trapped in the Realm of Darkness, the Keyblade Master Aqua faced off against a swirling horde of Heartless. Something this grand needs a battle theme to match, and in Melody of Memory, this track offers both excitement and a real challenge.

Then, if you move onto co-op you can play the following two tracks:

  • Sinister Shadows from KINGDOM HEARTS II - This song accompanies one of the most memorable moments in KINGDOM HEARTS II, as a team of heroes took on an army of Heartless. That collaborative spirit endures in this demo, as you team up to make it through this tense track.
  • All for One from KINGDOM HEARTS 3D Dream Drop Distance - this battle theme from the Country of the Musketeers features some astounding strings and a melody that you and your friend will be humming long after you’ve stopped playing.

3. It’s the perfect introduction to KINGDOM HEARTS… or nostalgia overload

You don’t have to be a KINGDOM HEARTS fan to enjoy this game. In fact, if you’ve ever been curious about the series, Melody of Memory is a fantastic place to start. It’s all about exploring and celebrating the series’ journey to date - almost like visual and audio tour of the entire saga.

Even in the demo, you’ll meet the characters, battle the iconic enemies, and visit some of the worlds that have featured in the games so far.

The full game expands this further, with essentially the entire history of the series to explore. You’ll meet famous Disney and Pixar heroes, such as Aladdin and Simba, encounter some heroes beyond Sora, Donald and Goofy and much more.

But what about us old fans? Well, you don’t need me to sell you on it - the moment you’re zipping through Traverse Town with that music and those enemies, you’ll feel the warm fuzzy nostalgia of remembrance rush over you. It’s impossible to not have a silly Sora-esque grin on your face the entire time.

Just try the demo and you’ll see.

4. There’s a lot of Replayability

The six tracks featured in the demo offer multiple reasons to play them again and again.

For example, every track features three different difficulty levels, each with its own distinct pattern of enemies.

Beginner offers a nice, gentle challenge that most will be able to get through. Standard offers a balanced experience that will keep you on your toes, and Proud… well let’s just say that if you make it through unscathed, you certainly will be.

Then there are different styles too! Every track can be played with three different control systems.

  • Basic is the standard style, easy to pick up, difficult to master.
  • One Button is a simpler style that only requires you to press a single command. It makes the game easier to control… but you’ll still need a sense of rhythm.
  • Performer is a flashier, and more difficult, style that adds additional commands into the mix

Performer mode in particular really spices things up. Playing this way is (much) harder, but the extra challenges and commands make it almost feel like a whole new song!

So fully mastering the tracks in the demo will take a fair amount of time. And then bear in mind that there are more than 140 songs in the full release, as well as unlockables, new story scenes to uncover and more… yep, this is a big game.

5. You can attempt (and hopefully fail) to beat my awesome high scores

I’ve spent quite a lot of time over the last few days honing my Melody of Memory skills. While I’m no rhythm-action genius, and I have the hand equivalent of two left feet (two left… thumbs?) I think I’ve gotten pretty good at smacking down Heartless to the beat.

So I thought… why not let you be the judge? I’ve recorded a run from each song that I feel pretty good about (Standard difficulty, Basic control style). Beating these will be a challenge - do you have what it takes?

Oh - and this is just for fun, no prizes except for the chance to be insufferably smug about it on social media.

Welcome to Wonderland

Score: 9584677 - Not quite a perfect run, but as close as I’ve gotten so far.

Hand in Hand

Score: 9539249 - Not to toot my own horn (toot!), but this is going to take some beating.

The Rustling Forest

Score: 9331043 - That solitary ‘Miss’ will haunt me for the rest of my days.

Wave of Darkness I

Score: 9057532 - the hardest track in the demo, but also the most satisfying when you get a good score. And the big flying section is awesome!

There you have it. I suspect that some genius player with perfect rhythm and ninja-like reflexes will come along and blow these out of the water, but for now, I’m feeling pretty confident.

So come at me.

The KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory demo is out now. It’s a fantastic way to see what the game’s all about and see if it’s for you, so give it a go.

If you like what you play, and I’m confident you will, the full game releases for Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One on November 13, 2020. Preorder it now from the Square Enix Store:

Finally, to stay up to date with news and information about this game, and others in the series, make sure you follow KINGDOM HEARTS on social media: