Spread out across nearly a dozen different consoles and nearly two decades, there have been quite a number of Kingdom Hearts games released, and let's just say that the quality of the games can vary greatly depending on who you ask.
It also doesn't help that the series isn't exactly known for its straightforward storylines.
Of course, on that note, we're not here to help you figure out and make sense of the story of the Kingdom Hearts games so far. But, what we're here to help you with is to find out which Kingdom Hearts games are worth playing, and which ones aren't, especially since a lot more games are about to get acquainted with the franchise, what with some of the main titles finally being released on the PC.
Scroll down below to find out our rankings of the Kingdom Hearts games from worst to best.
12. Kingdom Hearts Union X
This mobile-only title is a cash-grab plain and simple. Its main focus isn't to entertain fans with the franchise's signature convoluted plot. Instead, it simply slaps on 800 or so uninteresting quests and filler missions while providing the occasional story update just to satisfy the people who are willing to constantly throw money at the game just so they can keep up with the metagame.
Forget about being one of the worst Kingdom Hearts games -- this is one of the worst games Square Enix has ever developed or published. Period.
11. Kingdom Hearts: χ Back Cover
χ Back Cover finds itself among the worst of the bunch, not for the lack of effort, but the lack of significance.
Kudos to the game because there were quite a couple of bright spots. Anyone who's ever played it will forever remember the Master of Masters going on and on about how ingenious his schemes are. But, the thing is, for a game with events this insignificant to the overall picture to be interesting, it has to have compelling characters and/or excellent gameplay, preferably both.
Unfortunately, the game had neither, so there's very little reason to check the game out unless you're really into the lore of Kingdom Hearts.
10. Kingdom Hearts: Re: Coded
Another entirely inconsequential game, Kingdom Hearts: Re: Coded has you playing a data version of Sora in what's essentially a retelling of everything that happened in the first Kingdom Hearts title in the series.
First released as a Japan-exclusive mobile title, Re: Coded was, for some reason, made available worldwide on the Nintendo DS.
Later on, Square Enix made the decision to only include the cutscenes from Re: Coded when it came time to compiling titles for the remastered collection on the PlayStation 4.
That alone should give you an idea of just how about this title is.
9. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days shares the dubious distinction of being the two games specifically remade for the PlayStation 4 collection but only in cinematic form.
Basically, what this means is that Square Enix deemed the gameplay to be so bad that they didn't feel the need to remake the entirety of the game. But, then again, who can blame them?
The only reason why 358/2 Days ranks ahead of Re: Coded is because its interesting story actually was quite important and it had a unique twist in that you played as Roxas alongside other members of Organization XIII.
Unfortunately, while the concept of fighting alongside the franchise's villains was exciting, the actual implementation was far from it.
Bogged down by lengthy and repetitive missions, 358/2 Days also suffered from being released on the Nintendo DS, which simply just couldn't keep up with the fluid combat needed to make a game like this enjoyable.
What made matters even worse was that it was released right after Kingdom Hearts 2.
For a game that's necessary for you to understand the events that transpired in Kingdom Hearts 2, releasing it after the fact seems like a questionable decision at best.
8. Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories
Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories suffers from two things: an inconsequential storyline and dumbed-down gameplay.
The game was originally released for the Gameboy Advance before later being ported over to the PlayStation 2. It seems as if the initial attempt was to experiment with the series' usual fast-paced combat and slow things down by introducing a card-based system that forced players to not just slash through things.
While the intent admittedly resulted in some fun deck layouts to play and experiment with, the controls are just too janky to make up for the card system's brilliance.
What makes matters even worse is that the game really doesn't have any significance in the story. Sure, it helped introduce players to Organization XIII and Naminé, but it's not as if Kingdom Hearts II did a bad job at introducing them to the overall story.
So, yeah, it's a good game, but not exactly something you'll want nor need to play through any time soon.
7. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Kingdom Hearts games are not exactly known for their comprehensible storylines. However, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance takes that up a notch.
The game feels like the developers literally set out to create a game that was hard to understand. The result was a game that just lacked any coherence in any form or manner. But still, kudos to them for developing a game that, even though is so difficult to understand, offers one of the most enjoyable gameplay in the series.
While gameplay definitely isn't enough to carry Dream Drop Distance, it's not hard to consider playing it if only to find out just how fun the game can be to play.
6. Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory
If we're being honest, we hesitated to include Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory.
After all, unlike the other games on this list, it's not exactly in the same genre. Not at all. Instead, it's a rhythm game. But, while it's a stark departure from the usual Kingdom Hearts gameplay, it's not exactly half-bad.
As a matter of fact, Melody of Memory is one of the better games in the franchise.
This rhythm game doses you with heavy nostalgia, taking you a trip down to memory lane and reminding you of all the fun times you've had playing through a game that featured spell-casting ducks and Final Fantasy characters living inside the same castles we saw in numerous Disney movies over the years.
You could play Melody of Memory just for the music alone and it'll all be worth it.
5. Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage
Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage is essentially a DLC packaged and sold as a separate title. However, despite its short length -- most playthroughs only last around 5 hours at most -- A Fragmentary Passage warms players up for what's to come in Kingdom Hearts 3 by bringing back the fluid combat system of the mainline games.
What made A Fragmentary Passage even more enjoyable is that it sported graphics and visual effects that were, then, the best the series had ever seen.
Short, sweet, and compelling, A Fragmentary Passage is easily one of the best Kingdom Hearts games ever.
4. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Do you know just how weird and convoluted the Kingdom Hearts games are?
Well, the director and writer of the series decided that it was a good idea to introduce a new character of the same likeness as one that had already existed in the game and voiced by the same person but make him an entirely different character.
It's like having a twin-in-all-but personality and perfectly encapsulates the ideas the people behind the Kingdom Hearts games are known to pull off.
Luckily, the game does make up for it in terms of story and gameplay. Not to mention, Birth by Sleep makes playing through each of Aqua, Terra, and Ventus quite distinct from each other and the combat is reasonably complicated with just the right amount of depth and pace.
3. Kingdom Hearts
For simplicity's sake, we're going to refer to the first-ever Kingdom Hearts title how we should -- simply as Kingdom Hearts.
Being the first game in the series, Kingdom Hearts felt admittedly barebones. The combat was great, but, compared to the latter mainline titles, it lacked nuance and complexity. However, the game does deserve a lot of credit for creating an entirely new IP by successfully combining two huge franchises like the entirety of Disney and Final Fantasy.
For all its shortcomings, the first Kingdom Hearts title is worth visiting for just how much heart (get it?) it has compared to later titles.
2. Kingdom Hearts II
Similarly, we'll be referring to the second main title in the series simply as Kingdom Hearts II.
An understandable improvement over the first title, Kingdom Hearts II so much faster, dynamic, satisfying, and flashier. It introduced form changes, as well as a second keyblade, both of which were crucial to creating the over-the-top fight scenes that have come to define what the Kingdom Hearts games are mostly all about.
Story-wise, Kingdom Hearts II is where things got confusing. This is especially so with the introduction of post-game content.
Still, for what it's worth, Kingdom Hearts II could easily be the best Kingdom Hearts game ever released.
1. Kingdom Hearts III
To be honest, we had a hard time deciding between Kingdom Hearts II and III.
On one hand, the latest Kingdom Hearts title didn't exactly make the plot more understandable. Sure, it gave it a conclusion, but we're not exactly sure what to make of it just yet. But, on the other hand, it is easily the most beautiful Kingdom Hearts game ever made, masterfully crafting multiple worlds full of details based on Disney and Pixar films that most of us grew up with.
If and ever Disney decided to create video games out of their IPs in the future, they most certainly would be wise to take notes from what Kingdom Hearts III did.
Unfortunately, weaving together so many stories and characters tend to make a story that's already hard to understand even more difficult to follow.
While the game tries its hardest to incorporate the narrative of the many Disney and Pixar worlds with the overarching story of the Kingdom Hearts games, it felt as if the game's boss battles lacked any significant meaning until the latter half.