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Kingdom Hearts Missing-Link: Closed Beta Test Impressions

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The closed beta testing for Kingdom Hearts Missing-Link is currently underway for select players with iOS devices in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan, having begun on November 29th and running through to December 8th. 

KH13 staff member Kimpchuu had the opportunity to participate in the closed beta testing and has compiled an in depth summary and screenshots of his first impressions of the game spanning across Story, Presentation, Gameplay, and the Gacha/Monetization system. You can read his full break down below!



The beta offers a limited glimpse into the storyline. Players are introduced to the initial 20 minutes of the prologue, unveiling intriguing concepts. The protagonist is a 'drifter,' mysteriously arriving at Scala ad Caelum. The dive station and the Astral Plane are swiftly introduced, explaining the GPS game mode. The primary objective is to safeguard Scala by thwarting Heartless incursions. As of now, this constitutes the extent of the storyline, to be further explored upon the game's official release.





Leveraging the Unreal 4 engine, the game benefits from rendering its environments beautifully. Despite the relatively smaller scale, locations exude the ambiance of mini-arenas akin to those encountered in Kingdom Hearts III. The Scala hub area boasts considerable exploration opportunities, featuring NPCs and scattered Moogles. Despite mobile constraints, the lighting and models hold up well. Character animations during combos and enemy attacks are impressive, although certain textures on characters seem lacking compared to the detailed environments. Particle effects are reminiscent of KH3 and add to the visual flair.


However, the Astral Plane mode exhibits a noticeable drop in quality, as anticipated. The auto-generated environments and models fail to match the detailed aesthetics of Scala, somewhat compromising the experience.

The enchanting, beautifully composed music significantly enhances the atmosphere, immersing players in this fresh Kingdom Hearts world while retaining a sense of familiarity. Although not all the music is new, the returning tracks seamlessly blend into the experience.

Combat mechanics involving 'pieces' vary in quality. Some employ the new KH3 models, while others are ported from older games, displaying boxy polygonal edges that somewhat make the quality a bit inconsistent.

Fortunately, the voiced cutscenes in Japanese represent a significant improvement over Union X. However, there's uncertainty regarding whether this quality will extend to the entire story, especially concerning localization in English. A peculiar observation relates to sound: the absence of audible swings when encountering enemies or allies wielding a keyblade feels oddly disconnected.


As a designer, I must remark on the UI. While the team has admirably crafted a new thematic for the game, certain aspects, particularly the menus, feel somewhat outdated and unrefined. Streamlining these while preserving the intended style would significantly enhance the overall experience.






Drawing from experience playing 90% of Kingdom Hearts games, this game amalgamates elements from Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross], Dark Road, and Kingdom Hearts III. Movement and combat mechanics evoke a KH3-like feeling, but the primary damage mechanism—rotating abilities—strongly resembles UX and Dark Road. Playing a mobile game in a 3D KH universe is a remarkable leap, yet the heavy reliance on spells hampers the experience. Similar to Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, commands and spells constitute the primary means of dealing damage, rendering physical combos largely inefficient. There is also a charge attack feature that allows players access to a much stronger physical attack at the cost of player movement.


The absence of a guard mechanic and the dodge button's lack of invincibility frames pose drawbacks. Maneuverability across the battlefield is swift but susceptible to ranged enemy attacks. Aerial recovery allows tapping the jump button upon being hit.Players can still access their abilities while airborne.

An elemental system akin to games like Pokemon dictates the effectiveness of certain moves based on an enemy's elemental type. Enemies not glowing in a particular color are deemed neutral. Conversely, glowing enemies possess resistance to their element and an adjacent element, as well as a weakness. Players can optimize their characters for maximum damage with the right elemental build, requiring acquisition of characters from gacha banners.


However, a significant issue emerges: abilities not only rely on cooldowns but also deplete MP, reminiscent of UX's SP gauge. Regaining MP in combat is impossible outside of raid boss encounters. Consequently, depleting MP mid-fight forces reliance on physical combos, elongating encounters considerably. Moreover, many challenging encounters are time-gated, penalizing players for their inability to overcome enemies.

This combat aspect renders gameplay lackluster, transforming potentially exciting encounters into disengaging battles. Additionally, the game penalizes players for their lack of strength, further entrenching the gacha model's need for acquiring the newest and most powerful units.

Regarding controls, button placements feel functional, and the HUD works as intended without disrupting gameplay. Notably, Missing-Link introduces a fantastic feature: complete HUD customization. Players can edit the position, scale, and opacity of every element, offering tremendous flexibility, albeit marred by the absence of the ability to input exact numeric values for scale and opacity.


Camera controls feel average, somewhat limiting the immersive experience. However, I anticipate using controller support may mitigate these issues, although I've yet to test these improvements.

The game incorporates an autoplay feature, allowing passive engagement during encounters. While functional for early stages, players might opt to disable this feature for more challenging encounters, prioritizing manual input for effective dodging or combo execution to avoid death. Inputs can still be made during autoplay.




Two distinct overworlds, Scala Hub World and the GPS Astral Plane mode. However, the majority of gameplay occurs in the GPS mode, featuring two play styles: touch and hands-free. The hands-free mode necessitates real-world movement, while the touch mode grants full character control. The overworld features various encounter types, including regular Heartless, elemental Heartless (indicative of their respective elemental colors), area enemies, and raid bosses.


During the CBT, the primary objective revolves around defeating enemies to acquire materials and rewards, enhancing gear and potentially contributing to future story content. All overworld activities, including teleporting, chest acquisition, HP/MP restoration, and enemy encounters, utilize a stamina system akin to KHUX's AP. Fortunately, most activities spawn near players, ensuring easy accessibility. In the beta, stamina is abundant, but its representation in the main game remains uncertain. Teleportation costs increase based on distance, typically restricting players to their own country.

Defeated enemies do not drop HP or MP orbs, necessitating dependence on potions or top-up points.

Players can form parties and travel together, although my experience with this feature remains limited.

An interesting discovery involves zooming in with fingers, allowing exploration on a smaller scale, akin to a 1-1 exploration. Zooming out can often lead to accidental interactions due to clustered interactables on-screen but can traverse areas faster.

Camera limitations pose challenges, particularly in identifying area enemies spawning in the distance. Horizontal play restricts the camera from observing the horizon, whereas vertical play allows such flexibility, potentially requiring players to switch orientation mid-gameplay for convenience.





Combat customization options presently feature several choices. Players select between a melee and ranged keyblade, each with unique stats. Additionally, they can choose from 3-4 pieces to serve as abilities and an accessory, providing minor stat boosts.


Familiar to Dark Road players, this setup feels reminiscent, minus the deck-building. An assortment of abilities caters to both physical and magical stats, with the option to align abilities with elements, diversifying combat strategies. Defensive abilities like heal and defense up also prove beneficial. While current character builds lack apparent synergy, strategies might evolve as the game progresses.

To enhance damage output, players must individually level up each ability or keyblade using materials earned from playing the GPS mode. However, leveling up becomes increasingly grindy due to exponentially increasing requirements.

Character appearance customization offers extensive variety, enticing players with options to edit face shapes, makeup, and outfit colors. Additional outfits, unlockable using Jewels, provide aesthetic appeal without incurring perks.





The game follows the tradition of gacha games and JRPGs, housing a multitude of menus and minor mechanics. Navigating through various "growth logs" and different coin exchanges proved overwhelming initially, compounded by challenges locating specific features. Although these menus and mechanics marginally impact gameplay, they offer nuances for dedicated min-maxing enthusiasts. However, the sheer volume of content might deter casual players.

Additionally, a battle pass-like activity monitor system exists, featuring a basic pass for free players, offering coins for battles or steps, redeemable for draws or items.




Playing on an iPhone 13 mini, I encountered minimal performance issues, with the game running smoothly around 95% of the time. Occasional hiccups occurred in the GPS sections with numerous on-screen elements. Even during raids with copious particles and players on-screen, the game still ran relatively well.

Switching between vertical and horizontal gameplay proved impressively seamless, ensuring uninterrupted gameplay.The developers' commendable effort in designing assets to function flawlessly in both orientations deserves appreciation.

However, the game exhibits phone heating issues, causing the device to heat up and rapidly drain the battery. Though I haven't monitored the battery drain rate extensively, reports suggest noticeable drainage from prolonged gameplay.




I have yet to experience party formation in the overworld. However, I've engaged in raid boss encounters during the CBT. Due to its nature, many raid bosses spawn across the map, providing access to level 15 or level 40 Behemoth encounters. Given limited progress, level 15 fights remained the viable option. Collaborating with three or more team members significantly improves the chances of defeating the boss.


The experience of witnessing diverse keyblade-wielding characters battling collectively adds a unique dimension to combat. Raid bosses include multiple parts like horns or arms—that need elimination before targeting the main health bar. Defeating these parts yields MP orbs, facilitating continuous spell rotation throughout the battle.

These multiplayer raid battles constitute the most engaging combat scenarios, amplified by their collaborative nature. However, rewards feel underwhelming unless players employ raid tickets, a set number of which are gifted to beta players daily. Notably, players can earn a 3-star Dark Riku, a feature likely to transition behind a paywall in the main game.





Familiarity with KHUX's Gacha system facilitates understanding here. Each banner features a few highlighted characters, requiring a minimum of 10 multis to reach the guaranteed pity rate. Upon obtaining a featured character, the pity counter resets to zero.

Single pulls cost 300 jewels, whereas a 10-pull costs 3000 jewels. Jewels facilitate outfit purchases and accelerate farming by acquiring stamina or drop enhancements.

For those curious, without the pity rate, the featured 3-star characters boast a 3% drop chance, distributed among three featured characters.


Unfortunately, the game locks considerable power behind paywalls. Assembling a build of weaker characters proves challenging, with little incentive for the game to provide opportunities for success with less powerful units. Regrettably, Square Enix is unlikely to revise this model.

The CBT generously rewards players with two draw tickets, granting a 3-star in one attempt, and 3000 jewels daily. However, this is unlikely to be mirrored in the main game.

While players can earn jewels by completing certain battles and quests, their availability diminishes as the game progresses.


Final Thoughts


Kingdom Hearts Missing-Link embarks on the right path for conveying a Kingdom Hearts narrative. It brings to life a vibrant world through stunning 3D environments, captivating music, and exceptional voice acting. However, concerns persist regarding the gacha model, potentially marrying the experience with unfair power disparities and paywalls. My initial experience remains a blend of positives and negatives, as expected in a Beta phase meant for testing, feedback, and potential game improvements. I eagerly anticipate delving deeper into the story and unraveling the secrets of Scala Ad Caelum and the Astral Plane.


You can view the full collection of screenshots gathered by Kimpchuu from the Kingdom Hearts Missing-Link closed beta test in our gallery below:

What are your impressions of Kingdom Hearts Missing-Link so far with closed beta testing underway? Let us know in the comments below!

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