As well as the fast-paced new "Free Flow" acrobatics we mentioned in our initial impressions
, Kingdom Hearts 3D incorporates all-new "Reality Shift" techniques that make use of the 3DS touch screen. A special target marker pops up on enemies to let you know when Reality Shift can be implemented by pressing X and A together.
Sora's Reality Shift is called Slingshot, and allows you to launch enemies clear across the terrain. When activated, the game's action pauses, the top screen (showing gameplay) slides down onto the touch screen, and your targeted enemy is encased in a big, glowing sphere. You can drag the sphere across the screen like pulling back the rubber band on a slingshot, and fire the enemy in any direction - you can even shoot it at other monsters! Areas of Sora's demo level include respawning barrels to practice slingshotting.
Riku's Reality Shift is Holy Rope, which allows him to string together multiple hit combos while dashing from one enemy to the next. Again, activating Reality Shift pauses the game's action, and this time a kind of join-the-dots minigame appears on the bottom screen. The "dots" are actually markers for enemies, so joining them together maps out the path of Riku's attacks. In his demo level there are also special glowing markers in mid-air that can be joined into Holy Rope combos, allowing Riku to zoom around in mid-air as well as from enemy to enemy.
Add all this to the same command-based combat system seen in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, and we're looking at some serious gameplay variety. The decorated text logos for Slingshot and Holy Rope are reminiscent of those used for the Command Styles in Birth by Sleep, so it's entirely plausible that the full game will offer many more Reality Shift techniques.
On the story side of things, Square Enix's official TGS publicity booklet reveals a few tantalizing details. A full-page promo image of Sora and Riku standing with Keyblades crossed comes with the tagline, "Darkness becomes Light, Light falls into Darkness." A few cryptic lines talk about how dreaming connects a person to "The World Enclosed by Sleep," which can be released by opening the "Keyhole of Sleep".
Sleep is obviously an important theme here: the game's enemies are called "Dream Eaters" and have the power to eat people's dreams and plant nightmares in their place. There are good Dream Eaters, too, which only eat nightmares - these are the strange, brightly-coloured companions that accompany Sora and Riku. Despite their cutesy names (the Japanese translates roughly to things like "Wonder-Meow" and "Bat-Bat"), they can pack quite a punch in-game. It'll be interesting to see what role they play in KH:3D's plot.
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