Even though it’s a tired joke, there’s no denying that the Kingdom Hearts series has a lot of spinoff and side games. While the mainline numbered titles only reach Kingdom Hearts 3, though Kingdom Hearts 4 is now in the works, there are actually about 10 titles released across various platforms over the series’ 20-year history. All those games were part of the original Seeker of Darkness arc, which came to a final conclusion with Kingdom Hearts 3 in 2019. But, as the DLC and secret ending made clear, that was not the end for the series. While we were left with some ideas, we didn’t know where the series would go until the announcements made at the 20th anniversary event in 2022.
This event took the Kingdom Hearts community by surprise in terms of the sheer amount of things shown off. The star of the show was undoubtedly the reveal of a Kingdom Hearts 4, but right before that was another title that shouldn’t be overlooked. Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link is another of the spinoff games, but by now, anyone who follows the series should know that there really aren’t spinoff games in terms of story and lore importance. If it’s been a while since you’ve summoned your Keyblade and taken a deep dive into the heart of this classic series, complicated plot and all, we’ll guide you through everything we know so far about Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link.
We don’t have a full release date for Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link, but the trailer shown did announce that there would be a closed beta for certain regions in 2022. Odds are this will be in the second half of the year at the earliest, although more likely in winter since that period is rapidly approaching. As far as when the full game will come out, it shouldn’t be too far beyond whenever the closed beta test occurs. Depending on the length and quality of the beta, we could see the full game releasing within six months of that trial period. Once Square Enix gives more details, we’ll keep you informed.
Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link is another mobile title for the series. This game will only be available on iOS and Android devices. Other mobile-only games in the Kingdom Hearts series have never transitioned onto other platforms, other than story content in the form of a kind of movie-style recap in the collections. Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link will probably never be officially brought to a home console or PC and should be considered a mobile-exclusive unless Square Enix says otherwise.
I hope you’ve done your homework, Kingdom Hearts fans, because Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link looks like it’s going deep into all that extended lore and plot setup in the other mobile and prequel games.
“Everything is connected.” What a fitting way for this trailer to begin. We start on a cloaked figure walking through a city as a voice-over explains the origins of light, dark, and hearts. This figure wields the same Keyblade as Master Xehanort, but we quickly move on to a new character approaching a fountain with a statue of a young boy holding up a Keyblade. The narration explains that the city itself is both “light and darkness, dreams and distortion, the remembered and forgotten – Scala ad Caelum.” For those who don’t know, or may have forgotten, this is the world visited at the very end of Kingdom Hearts 3 and is supposed to be the world from which all others came from originally.
In terms of enemies, they all appear to be heartless. To get really technical, most even bear the insignia that identifies them as being from Ansem’s experiments, which only further confuses the timeline. But what else is new for Kingdom Hearts at this point?
This looks to be the primary, if not only, world in Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link as we see this new protagonist adventuring through the city. After a bunch of gameplay is shown off, we get a few more shots of characters, including Brain from Kingdom Hearts: Union X, but nothing much more to tell us what, or maybe more importantly when, this game takes place. All told, this game is about as mysterious as they come for a Kingdom Hearts game.
Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link looks like the first mobile game in the series to stay true, for the most part, to the action RPG style of gameplay as the core titles. That being said, there are plenty of differences as well to look at. Some of those changes appear to be how encounters are handled. On the surface, it looks like a more streamlined version of how battles started in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, where battles would trigger on an overworld of sorts, transitioning into a battle arena that has limited space. Every fight we see has a clear circular ring around it denoting the battlefield’s limits.
In fights, we see normal Keyblade combos, but also some other strange-looking systems. The most obvious is that some moves, like special attacks and spells, are only used after a statue of a character is used. We see figures of Aqua, Donald, Cloud, and more pop up before the character performs one of that character’s moves. It seems like this could be a system where you need to find, create, or – heavens forbid – purchase these figures to unlock new moves for your character. Considering how popular gacha-style games are on mobile, and that these figures look just like the kind those machines would have, prepare yourselves for plenty of random rolls in Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link.
Traversal through the city looks a bit bland, but the graphics do improve during combat, almost to the level of Kingdom Hearts 3 even. Enemy numbers are low from what we’ve seen, and background elements are very sparse, but that is probably to keep performance up.
While we do see most of the gameplay focused on this new character dressed in white, there are scenes of other characters. From the looks of them, and how the other mobile games have worked, we expect you to be able to create your own character for Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link, but it is also possible that the other characters we see are just more main cast members you will swap between.
Besides the city environment, we do see a forest area that looks quite a lot like the Tangled world, as well as a larger, more desert or mountainous area. Again, we don’t know for sure if there will be multiple worlds in Kingdom Hearts: Missing Linkor if these are just different areas all within the single large world of Scala ad Caelum.
It isn’t for certain, but multiplayer looks to be something included in some way in Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link. At one particular part of the trailer, we see three Keyblade wielders fighting a Darkside heartless altogether. Technically, this could be just the player and NPCs, but it feels like it’s setting up a cooperative mode of some sort. How this will work with the game’s overworld and battle transitions, though, is unclear. Perhaps multiplayer will work somewhat as it did in Kingdom Hearts: Union X where specific missions allowed players to team up. In Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link‘s case, you might just be able to call other players to help fight bosses or do certain combat trials that don’t require overworld movement. Again, this is all just based on the footage, so we’ll have to see how it all plays out.
Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link being a mobile game has tons of potential for DLC of all kinds. If our gacha prediction is true, we expect a rolling progression of new and rotating figures to come in and out for players to roll on. Like the previous mobile entries, the story will also probably come in chapters of sorts, bringing new missions and content to come back to the game on a regular basis. As a side game and mobile title, there’s a tone that Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link could add post-launch that would be in line with how previous mobile entries have rolled out.
There’s no pre-order information for Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link, and mobile games don’t typically have pre-orders anyway. Again, the closed beta will probably have a sign-up feature at some point to let some people in to play the game in an early build, but how to do that and when they are also still under wraps. When anything regarding how or when you can play Kingdom Hearts: Missing Linkwe’ll update this post to keep you informed.