Today in Dearly Beloved, we are going to once again take a look at the Kingdom Hearts series. As we get closer and closer to the release of of the long awaited Kingdom Hearts 3, I get closer and closer to shutting myself away for several days and losing all contact with every human being until I beat the game. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, you might want to read my crash course to get you up to speed.
Part of the charm of the series is the ability to travel to different worlds, defeat the enemies, and explore the surroundings of each world. Some of the worlds are unique and offer new game mechanics or fun mini-games, and other worlds are frustrating and hard to navigate or don’t showcase any new or interesting enemies. The worlds of Kingdom Hearts consist of either brand new locations that are original to the series, or settings taken from classic Disney films throughout the years.
Today, I thought we’d take a look at the worlds that come from Disney films or properties and highlight the top ten best!
Several of these worlds appear in two or more of the games in the series and for that reason, I’ll be narrowing it down to only one entry per world-either my favorite iteration of it- or averaging the appearances together. There are 22 Disney-based worlds spanning across seven games, so I’m going to be making some heartbreaking cuts. Here we go with number ten.
Often regarded as the most hated level in the original Kingdom Hearts, the world of Atlantica is a complicated and tedious landscape that is hard to navigate. However, in Kingdom Hearts 2, the adventure is a far more enjoyable world full of rhythm-based mini games, where your main protagonists, Sora, Donald, and Goofy, are transformed into loveable sea creatures. In addition to being unique in gameplay, the level is also optional in the story of the game.
9. Port Royal
Originally appearing in Kingdom Hearts 2, Port Royal will also be featured in the upcoming installment. Initially, Port Royal might feel slightly out of place. The character models look more like they’re from a different game entirely, and at least in Kingdom Hearts 2, its storyline closely follows that of the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl film. But over time, Jack, Will, and Elizabeth from the film become just as much a part of Sora’s story as Sora becomes of theirs.
8. Disney Town
Disney Town makes its appearance in the game Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. I think it deserves a spot on the list because of the colorful palette and awesome cast of characters. Home to all of your favorite classic characters from the Mickey Mouse Club, the world gives off an energetic and almost circus-like vibe and is easily one of my favorites from this particular game.
After the prologue, the very first new world you explore on your Kingdom Hearts journey is Wonderland. Although Wonderland appears in several games, the one I’ve placed on this list is from the original game. While the map isn’t very large and there’s not much in the way of character design, what really sells me on this world is my love of its boss, The Trickster. He’s one of my favorite bosses in the series, and that’s why I’ve placed Wonderland here.
6. Timeless River
The Timeless River is a very unique world from Kingdom Hearts 2 for one distinct reason: the entire town is placed in the world of Steamboat Willie and other 1920s/1930s cartoons. Sora’s character model is remade in the rubber hose animation style and the world is entirely black and white!
5. Olympus Coliseum
Olympus Coliseum appears in all but one Kingdom Hearts games. This entry is going to the first game. Despite being the smallest world in the game, I enjoy spending a lot of my time there. The Coliseum is home to the tournaments, which allow me to explore my abilities and earn experience.
4. Deep Space
The world of Deep Space from Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, is based off of Lilo & Stitch. It takes place in an unknown area of the galaxy and features futuristic alien weapons similar to those seen in the film. That’s all I really have to say about Deep Space. I just really love space.
Obviously based off of Peter Pan, Kingdom Hearts 1’s Neverland provides the player with the glide ability, which is one of the most well-implemented mechanics in the game and evolves throughout the course of the series. I also love the Captain Hook boss battle and Tinker Bell summon that comes out of this world.
2. Beast’s Castle
The number two spot is often the most difficult in any list. In Kingdom Hearts 2, Beast’s Castle hosts a beautifully dark environment, a lovely soundtrack, and a fun, yet complicated, boss battle. Completion of the world also gives you a powerful keyblade.
I was pretty sure going into this list that I’d be putting Halloweentown at the top. I’m not giving this spot to a specific appearance, but as an average in all of the games it has appeared in. Each time you enter Halloweentown, you’re greeted with the familiar sound of “This Is Halloween” ringing through the land. This is one of the worlds where Sora’s character model changes to fit in, and it’s easily the best. Halloweentown (and by affiliation, Christmastown) is home to the best boss battles in the series, the most creative enemies, the best environment, and most fleshed out map.
With so many fun and creative worlds to explore (and some not so fun, but we’ll talk about that later), I obviously had to make a few tough choices. Were there any worlds that you expected to see in the top ten? Tell me what you think and what you would place at number one! You can find me on Twitter and Instagram (both @mariahcoolbeans) to talk about it!