The Kingdom Hearts fandom could be described as a suffering one since the first announcement of Kingdom Hearts 3. The ever-waiting game has been played for years, even with side games released every other year or so to keep fans at bay. Recently, fans have been engaged with the release of Kingdom Hearts: Unchained χ, and it’s following is mildly unprecedented.
For a phone game, it has taken the fandom by storm, some even could say revitalizing hope in the franchise — at least, enough maybe until 2.8’s release. Or, so we hope. There are many reasons this phone game has not only surprised fans, but is actually high quality for the console. Here is an incomprehensive list of the reasons why Unchained succeeds in being a part of the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
Despite it being large in size for smaller phones, especially those with a lack of external storage, Unchained is available at the tip of your fingers on your most used game console – your phone. This allows fans to always have that accessibility to their favorite characters and story we have all come to know and love. For the past ten or so years, fans have felt a bit stripped from this accessibility because of the varied consoles and sparse news on the next main release. With Unchained, though it is far from an entirely extensive release and cannot replace the value of a full title, it gives fans a constant to go to if they want a fix. Which brings us to the next reason it’s great:
The most attractive thing about Unchained is the medal system. It keeps players busy for a long time. In order to collect and level up all the medals to top strength, it can take a lot of hours logged — much more than the average RPG. Seeing the faces of so many Disney and other side characters have important roles and medals, forgotten characters like Hayner or Vivi for example, or the Seven Drawfs, have gotten shiny places in the medal portfolio – which is constantly growing week by week.
The game has not seemed to die yet. It is constantly updating week-by-week with new quests and events to keep fans interested. They keep releasing new medals, new ores and objects to collect to upgrade keyblades, more story missions for those solely looking for plot. The question is: how long can they keep it up? How long will the content remain fresh, or is it already going stale? The several million downloads say otherwise and it does not look like it’s going to quit any time soon — just look at its success in Japan.
This installment in the series gives fans something we have never experienced before: connected game play. With the concept of parties, guilds, and more specifically raid bosses, it gives friends and even those who want to merely play hardcore a chance to connect with other fans around the nation. The guilds, though arguably a gimmick, gives a sense a community. But more importantly is the party system and access to friend medals which makes the desire to build a strong group more and more attractive.
Also it’s connective in another way. It’s the very beginning of the story line. So people who have never played the series before, or are overwhelmed because it is already so vast, can start here, right on their phone.
It’s hard to get bored.
As stated previously, the game keeps updating so it’s hard to get bored. But the most interesting concept in the game which prevents players from losing interest is the AP system, which reloads over extended periods of time, as well as, decreases quickly the higher level you become. Therefore, it limits your ability to stick your face in your phone for hours and hours. Depending on the time, it’s a game you cannot play for too much at once. It happens in short bursts, then you’re back to doing something else. It keeps you coming back, but gives the illusion it isn’t sinking into too much time.
For these reasons and many more are why Unchained is the biggest phone game right now. Fans, including myself, are excited to see what’s the come for the game, and furthermore, how this might inspire other companies and places in the gaming industry to test phone games to reach into a broader audience, always on the go.