Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (JP), stylized as Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], is a game in the Kingdom Hearts series developed by Square Enix and released for the Nintendo 3DS. Set after the events of Kingdom Hearts Re: coded, the game focuses on Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery exam in preparation of the return of their enemy Xehanort. Besides controlling the two playable characters across a single scenario, the player is able to recruit creatures known as Dream Eaters able to assist them in fights.
Dream Drop Distance is a continuation of the events shown in the epilogue of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, where Yen Sid decides to put Sora and Riku through a Mark of Mastery exam in response to Master Xehanort's eventual return, caused by the defeat of Ansem and Xemnas in the past. Game director Tetsuya Nomura has stated that the themes of the game are trust and friendship, and that the story is on par with that of a numbered title. The game features a total of seven playable worlds based on the Disney films The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pinocchio, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, Fantasia, and Tron: Legacy. The other two playable worlds are Traverse Town and The World That Never Was, while other worlds featured in past games such as Twilight Town, Radiant Garden, Disney Castle, and Destiny Islands appear in cutscenes.
Gameplay is split between two playable characters, Sora and Riku, control of whom rotates throughout the game through the use of a gameplay element called the "Drops" system. This system features a Drop Gauge which gradually depletes on its own over time, automatically switching control between Sora and Riku once it empties. The player is able to keep the gauge from emptying by attacking enemies, and can switch characters at will using save points. One of the key elements of the game is the "free-flows" mechanic, allowing the player to utilize the surroundings for movements and attacking with the execution of the Y button. The game's most significant feature is the ability to hunt and collect Dream Eaters, with each individual Dream Eater companion providing Sora and Riku access to varying abilities, attacks, and cooperative actions. Many elements of the game utilize the touch screen, such as throwing enemies or chaining various attacks. The game also has interactive cut-scenes and events. The game is compatible with the Circle Pad Pro, which can be used to control the camera. The game also utilizes the handheld system's AR functionality, allowing players to play with the Dream Eaters they obtain.
The game was released in Japan on March 29th 2012 and is set to debut in Europe on July 20th and in North America on July 31st. Several special editions are available featuring exclusive collectibles. In Japan, the Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary 3D + Days + Re:coded Box is available, which includes the two DS releases Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Re: coded, 12 postcards featuring art from the entire series and a protective 3DS case featuring a Kingdom Hearts design. The Mark of Mastery Edition available in North America offers players the 12 postcards, the 3DS case as well as a set of five AR Cards which unlock exclusive Dream Eaters in game. Also, players in North America who pre-order the game through Amazon, Wal-Mart or GameStop will receive an additional set of three Dream Eater AR Cards for free.
It has been confirmed that Square Enix will release a free demo of the game for download on the 3DS eShop in both the North American and Japanese territories.