Kingdom Hearts III is still scheduled to arrive in 2018 — probably — and it’s shaping up to be the dream game for fans of both Final Fantasy and Disney. The action-role-playing game will play similarly to the previous entries in the series, but the special new “Classic Kingdom” will take players back to the era of LCD handheld games.
Available in Kingdom Hearts III, as well as the multiplayer mobile game Kingdom Hearts Union x[Cross], the “Classic Kingdom” features minigames inspired by classic 1980s single-screen, individual handheld game units such as Nintendo’s Game & Watch line and Tiger Electronics’ various handhelds. In the official trailer, we see cutesy versions of Mickey Mouse and Kingdom Hearts protagonist Sora stand on an elevator and ride it upward in an attempt to rescue the captured Minnie Mouse as they dodge falling debris.
Other minigames include “The Barnyard Battle,” a combat game where Mickey and Sora battle helmet-wearing goons, as well as the food-based “The Karnival Kid.”
The games come with their own fake borders around the screen, complete with buttons that mimic the look of the plastic units kids played on back in the ’80s. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of playing one of these handhelds knows they aren’t exactly the most riveting gaming experiences, but they have a certain inescapable charm. If you’re interested in playing dozens of similar games, the Internet Archive recently added Tiger Electronics handheld games online for free, including versions of classics like Burger Time and Altered Beast — and since the original version of Altered Beast is actually bad, you have nothing to lose trying out the LCD version.
Kingdom Hearts III will include a few new Pixar franchises in its story, including Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. The game is certainly shaping up to be one of Square Enix’ most ambitious titles in years, and fans have had to wait well over a decade for the next full sequel in Sora’s story. Along the way, numerous spinoffs have been released, including Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, which is a contender for the worst-named game of all time.
When it releases, Kingdom Hearts III will be available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.