I just played this game again for the first time in a long time and it was like taking a walk down Nostalgia Avenue. Growing up with a healthy dose of Disney animation and Final Fantasy games, I was beyond excited when they first announced and released Kingdom Hearts. The perfect blend of two of my favorite interests, it felt like the game was made for me, although (all selfishness aside) we’ll just say it felt like it was made with people like me in mind.
A collaboration between Squaresoft, Inc. (now doing business as Square Enix) and The Walt Disney Company, Kingdom Hearts is an action role-playing game released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2 (and again in HD format for the PlayStation 3 in 2013) that combines original content, with characters and gameplay features from Square’s Final Fantasy series and characters and settings from Disney’s animated features. The story follows young male protagonist, Sora, joined by Donald Duck, Goofy, and other beloved classic Disney characters who help him on his quest after he finds himself thrown into an epic battle against the forces of darkness.
We begin on Destiny Islands where Sora and his friends, Riku and Kairi, live. Feeling adventurous, the three build a raft to leave the islands and explore worlds beyond their own. On the eve of their departure, the Islands are attacked by shadow creatures, known as the Heartless. Sora, armed only with a wooden sword, desperately seeks out his friends; finding no sign of Kairi and watching helplessly as Riku disappears into a dark portal. Shortly thereafter, Sora obtains the Keyblade, an effective weapon against the Heartless, but it’s too little too late and the islands are destroyed, leaving Sora alone and drifting.
Meanwhile, King Mickey has left his own world to deal with the increasing numbers of Heartless and leaves instructions for Donald and Goofy to find the “key” (meaning Sora and the Keyblade) that will protect the universe from the encroaching darkness. Donald and Goofy use their Gummi Ship to reach Traverse Town, a melting pot metropolis of survivors from worlds the heartless have destroyed, where Sora has arrived. Sora meets Leon (inspired by Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy 8) who explains that the Heartless consume hearts, and that the Keyblade is the only weapon capable of defeating them. He then introduces Sora to Donald and Goofy, and the three decide to travel together; Donald and Goofy to find King Mickey, and Sora to find Kairi and Riku. During their journey they find that the Keyblade also locks “Keyholes” or passages to the “heart” of a world which, when sealed, prevent it from being consumed by the Heartless and make an effort thereafter to seal each world.
The three companions travel to various worlds based on Disney’s animated features, with four worlds created by Square specifically for the game; Destiny Islands, Traverse Town, Hollow Bastion and End of the World. The graphics of each world are designed to resemble the artwork style of and inhabited by characters from its respective Disney film; Alice and the Cheshire Cat inhabit Wonderland, while Tarzan, Jane, and Clayton inhabit the Deep Jungle and so on. They did a sensational job at re-creating some of my favorite Disney characters within the game and were even able to get some of the original character voices such as Jodi Benson for Ariel and Robby Benson (no relation) as the Beast!
Kingdom Hearts’ gameplay is influenced by its parent franchise, Final Fantasy, carrying elements over into its own unique action-adventure, hack and slash system. Like traditional Final Fantasy role-playing games, Kingdom Hearts features an experience point system that influences character development. As enemies are defeated, the player characters gain experience and grow stronger, gaining access to new abilities. A unique tutorial at the beginning of the game allows the player to select from three main attributes―strength, defense, or magic―two for Sora to excel in and one to lack in. By choosing certain options, the player may manipulate how Sora learns abilities, grows statistically, and gains levels. Donald, Goofy, and any other additional party members are assigned to specific areas of strength; Donald excels in magic, while Goofy excels in defense and special attacks.
The main party consists of three characters: mainly Sora, Goofy, and Donald Duck. Sora is directly controlled by the player from a third person camera angle. All other party members are computer-controlled, though the player can somewhat customize their behavior to through the menu. Donald and Goofy comprise the support party in most areas but nearly every level features a character who may replace them. For instance, Ariel can join the player’s party in Atlantica and Aladdin can join the player’s party in Agrabah, but they cannot accompany the player in other worlds.
Whether you grew up playing the Final Fantasy series or not, if you grew up on Disney films you’ll love experiencing the worlds of your favorite movies and the characters in Kingdom Hearts. The series has continued over the years, but starting with the first is crucial.
The Family Guy show has been cancelled (again) and Fox assembles the town of Quahog to explain. Ernie, the Giant Chicken, and Peter’s archenemy, reveals himself to be responsible for the miserable news and Peter challenges Ernie to a brawl, resulting in the mass destruction of Quahog.
Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is a freemium video game for iOS and Android, based on the American animated series Family Guy. It allows players to help Peter restore Quahog and reunite him with his friends and family by creating and running their own version of Quahog using familiar characters and buildings.
The game features quests for the player to complete in order to obtain characters and their unique costumes. In addition to characters and costumes, players can earn cash and XP by sending characters on quests and tasks. Higher levels unlock more characters and buildings. Playing during special events (currently Comic Con) can unlock characters, costumes and buildings only available to earn during said event. The premium currency of this game are clams, which can be purchased by the player or earned for free under rare circumstances. Clams can be used to purchase rare items and characters, or speed up and differentiate gameplay.
Family guy, in all it’s glory, is chaos.
I enjoy the show and this game, but it is not my favorite freemium mobile game available. The developers work hard to create new content to keep players connected, but everything feels extremely chaotic and disorganized; too much is happening all at once. For example, during the current Comic Con event, players are tasked with collecting batteries, bug spray and bombs to defeat Stewie, collect items to rescue and earn celebrities and collect items to receive special costumes. It’s all very overwhelming when each character can only be sent out on one quest at time, which makes it hard to collect everything unless you are accessing the game constantly.
It would be helpful to introduce a way to find and access characters, currently to send a character out on a quest you must find them in your town of Quahog and tap on them. The larger you town gets, the harder it is to find that character. In The Simpson’s: Tapped out there are character icons on the top left of the screen the player can use to shuffle through all the character and assign quests, you can also click on town hall. Additionally it would be helpful to link each quest with the quest item they intend you to buy, rather than scrolling through the entire store’s inventory.
The game also features FaceSpace, an in-game Facebook-like social network where the game’s characters can interact and post new level achievements, yet has no real application. Players can also visit their friend’s personalized Quahogs, which thus far seems to be limited to FaceBook friends.
This game is enjoyable enough, if you can relax, have fun with it’s chaotic nature and look past its disorganization (in truth, I know I’ll keep playing it). In the future, I hope they make an effort to tidy up and organize a few things and hopefully allow players to try for special characters or costumes they might have missed out on.