[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dream_drop_distance_3773.jpg]]

->''Darkness becomes light, light falls into darkness.''
-->--'''{{Tagline}}'''

The seventh (not counting remakes) entry into {{Disney}} and SquareEnix[='s=] [[{{Crossover}} crossover series]] ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'', ''Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]'' is a game for the {{Nintendo 3DS}} hand-held. This is the game that serves to connect not just ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]'', ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 358/2 Days]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded Re:coded]]'', but also every single game before them to ''Kingdom Hearts III'' itself. The story initially concerns Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery test conducted by Yen Sid--a journey into the realm of dreams and sleep, where they are to find the seven Sleeping Keyholes and release the worlds trapped within. However, during their quest, a mysterious and malevolent young man in a black coat makes himself known, and villains from the past begin to follow suit...

Featuring all new Disney worlds alongside old originals such as Traverse Town, the game stars both Sora and Riku as the main characters, both as their younger selves (a side effect of them traveling to worlds trapped in the past) but with entirely new attire. The game has graphics on par with ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', thanks to the higher processing power of the 3DS, and supports full 3D imagery, partial AR functions and the 3DS Circle Pad Pro expansion. The gameplay is a slightly simplified version of ''Birth by Sleep''[='s=], but with several new additions and alterations such as the "Flowmotion" mechanic and the new [[SetAMookToKillAMook creatable Dream Eaters]]. Gameplay switches between Sora and Riku by way of the new "Drop" gauge, which continually decreases; when the gauge completely empties, the current player character falls asleep and is replaced by the other.

The game was released in Japan on March 29, 2012, with a European release on July 20, 2012 and a North American release on July 31, 2012.

Has its own [[AndTheFandomRejoiced/KingdomHearts3D And the Fandom Rejoiced page]].
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!!''Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]'' provides examples of:
* AccidentalMisnaming: [[spoiler:Seems like it's going to take till the next game before everyone remembers that Axel's name is now Lea]].
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: The title.
* AdvertisedExtra: The Anti Black Coat appeared in a couple of trailers in montages alongside past characters like Xion, Terra, and Aqua. In truth it was a OneSceneWonder.
* AmbidextrousSprite: An odd 3D example - Musketeer Mickey's hat will sometimes swap sides during cutscenes depending on what angle the camera starts relative to him.
* AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent: For the first time since ''Chain of Memories'', Riku features as a playable character with a role equal to Sora's. The Drop mechanic makes sure that you can switch at ''any'' time (emphasis on ''any''). You can be in the middle of a swing and then drop to the other character. However, any fights (including boss fights) will restart from the beginning when you return.
* [[spoiler: ApocalypseCult: This is effectively what the True Organization XIII is, given that their ultimate goal is the same as Master Xehanort's in ''BirthBySleep''.]]
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit: No matter how many Dream Eaters you create, only three can be in your party and only two can actually fight alongside you at a time.
* ArbitrarySkepticism: Despite everything else he has encountered in his adventures, Sora is completely shocked when he first sees Hugo, Victor, and Laverne talk. Riku just takes it in stride.
* ArchEnemies: Ansem, SOD is this to Riku, a fact Riku reflects on. Xemnas, despite being the incarnation of Xehanort who harasses Sora the most, averts this, as neither feel any particular, personal malice towards each other. [[spoiler: Until the end of Sora's story, when Xemnas reveals just how bad he is, disgusting Sora with his callous treatment of hearts and the Organization. It's this sudden rage at Xemnas that plays a key factor in the damaging of Sora's heart, as Xehanort intended all along]].
* ArcSymbol[=/=]ArcWords: "Recusant's Sigil". The term is suddenly introduced via [[AllThereInTheManual Glossary entry]] and characters start making cryptic references to the term and the sigil itself, but its meaning isn't revealed until the very end of Sora's scenario. The sigil is [[spoiler:an "X". When planted by Xehanort(s), he is able to track its location at any time. The crossing straps on Sora's outfit are the most recent and most immediately troubling example]], but as the Glossary entry points out, the sigil has been all over the series from day one.
-->'''Xemnas:''' As your flesh bears the sigil, so your name shall be known as that... of a recusant.
* AsYouKnow: At the beginning of Sora's half of the Prankster's Paradise chapter, Jiminy sits by himself and monologues about Pinocchio's origins and motivations as part of a lament on how he's run off on his own.
* AugmentedReality: You can play with your Dream Eaters in AR games using the 3DS camera.
* BackToBackBadasses: Ansem SOD and Xemnas in the final game scenario, where Xemnas appears to be Xehanort's lackey exclusively for Sora, whilst Ansem SOD antagonizes Riku primarily.
* BackFromTheDead:
** As flat out stated in the secret ending of ''Re:coded'', Master Xehanort has returned now that his Heartless (Ansem) and Nobody (Xemnas) have been destroyed. Not only that, but said Heartless and Nobody actually show up alongside him, BackFromTheDead as well.
** In a similar case from above, Lea, Isa, and all of Ansem the Wise's apprentices have returned in human form. While they're not seen, the other old Organization members are back too. Nomura [[WordOfGod has stated in an interview]] that the revived members are their original, complete being personae, [[CompositeCharacter while also keeping their memories of their life as Nobodies/Organization members]].
** Finally, at the very end of the game, [[spoiler: Sora is revived following his DisneyDeath by Riku]].
* BaitAndSwitchBoss: Frollo in Riku's story. Frollo is standing on the balcony of Notre Dame, surrounded by an aura of darkness and swinging a sword about. Riku gets ready to fight, when the Wargoyle flies up behind Frollo, causing him to lose his balance and fall.
* TheBattleDidntCount: Sora and Riku fight and defeat [[spoiler:Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort in The World That Never Was]]. However, these villains are soon after shown to be just fine in the cutscene "Seven Lights, Thirteen Darknesses", [[spoiler:[[CutscenePowerToTheMax with both Ansem and Xemnas kicking the asses of the heroes]].]]
** Note that [[spoiler: TimeTravel was involved.]]
* BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind: [[spoiler:Riku has a battle in the center of ''Sora's heart'' against Sora himself, trapped in Ventus' Nightmare-possessed armor, in order to save him from his deep sleep in the depths of darkness.]]
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: Provides a convenient HandWave near the end of the game for just how Master Xehanort was able to know so much about what was and is going to happen years ahead of time.
** Also because [[spoiler: he engineered a StableTimeLoop.]]
** This also further displays his LackOfEmpathy; when Mickey angrily recalls that he ruined Terra, Ven, and Aqua's lives with his plans, Master Xehanort brushes it off by stating that it was their destiny to fall and that he merely helped them reach said destinies that much quicker.
* BerserkButton: The Spellican gets a particularly funny one when his opponents ignore him to talk to each other.
* {{BFS}}: The [[spoiler:World That Never Was']] Reality Shift, Nightmare's End/Mirage Split, creates an enormous [[YinYangBomb light/dark]] Keyblade twice as tall as Sora or Riku.
* BigDamnHeroes:
** [[spoiler: Lea saves Minnie when she's being held hostage by Maleficent and Pete.]]
** ''Three times'' in the same scene where Riku appears to have been cornered by the new Organization: [[spoiler:Mickey appears and freezes them with Stopza. Then Lea appears to prevent Sora from becoming Master Xehanort's thirteenth vessel. ''Then'' Donald and Goofy appear to save Riku and Mickey from "Ansem"'s Guardian]].
* BittersweetEnding: As per usual. [[spoiler:Riku is a Keyblade Master, Axel and Kairi are training to help the gang with their own Keyblades, Sora keeps his Spirit friends, Master Xehanort's plans to revive an army of his incarnations is delayed, and it's implied Riku now has the power to save the ''Birth By Sleep'' trio. However, Master Xehanort is still back with enough of his incarnations to keep working, he's going after the Princesses of Heart next, and another Keyblade War is on the horizon and averting it is seemingly impossible. Xehanort still plans on finding the one person who will become the thirteenth Xenhanort clone, and he'll stop at nothing to make sure that happens]].
* BonusBoss: [[spoiler:Julius from ''WesternAnimation/RunawayBrain'']].
* BossBonanza: The game doesn't disappoint in this department, pitting you against a total of six bosses in the final world.
** And when you revisit Traverse Town you fight three powered down bosses.
* BossRemix: In quite possibly the series' best use of this trope, [[spoiler:the theme of Riku's fight with the Armored Ventus Nightmare within Sora's heart is a battle remix of ''Dive into the Heart -Destati-''.]]
* BossRush: The first fight against Spellican doesn't involve said Dream Eater at all; he instead summons Hockomonkey, Wargoyle, and Char Clawbster to battle Sora.
* {{Bowdlerization}}: Averted. Braig/Xigbar gets to keep his sniper rifle this time (unlike ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' and ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]''), but since it only shows up twice for a couple seconds each (it makes an extremely brief appearance in one in-game scene, and the whole thing is never shown in one shot; it also makes a complete, but short, appearance during the pre-rendered ending credits), the localization team probably didn't see the point of changing it.
* BreatherEpisode: [[MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers The Country of the Musketeers]] is the only world where neither character is visited by one of Master Xehanort's incarnations. The main antagonist in this world is [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain Pete.]]
* ButtMonkey: [[VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou Shiki]] seems to have a number of funny moments happen at her expense.
* CallBack:
** Lea asks Ienzo and Aeleus why [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 he always gets stuck with the icky jobs]].
** Riku repeats his [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories "road to the dawn"]] line to Ansem SOD and [[spoiler:Young Xehanort.]]
** "You made us a promise... that [[KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 you'd always be there to bring]] [[spoiler:us]] back. Got it memorized?"
*** And later: "Promises to keep! I'll always be there to bring my friends back! [[SpannerInTheWorks What, bad timing?"]]
** [[spoiler: The three questions asked in [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts the original game]] are asked again near the end of the game: "What do you want in life?", "What are you afraid of?", "What is the most important thing to you?" (not in that particular order).]]
** In the boss fight with Xemnas, [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII he once again uses buildings as weapons against you.]]
** [[spoiler: Ansem the Wise once again asks Riku for his name when they meet again in the ending. The latter responds with his actual name, this time.]]
** The fight with [[spoiler:Young Xehanort sees him do a number of things that he did in Birth By Sleep. He summons the No Name keyblade, with the exact same motion as he used to summon his blades before the battle in Birth By Sleep, and can turn it into energy whips to attack Riku. When he stops time, he starts using the same energy blades as in that fight, and defends the clock with many of his old moves, including his clones, his basic LaserBlade combo, the χ-shaped energy waves, and a combination of Raging Storm and Whirlwind To The Void]].
*** Also, [[spoiler: the battle borrows elements from the boss fights with both Master Xehanort and Terra-Xehanort, including his initial fighting stance and his penchant for using [[EnergyBall Dark Volley/Zero Shot.]]]]
** [[spoiler:When Donald and Goofy save Riku and Mickey from the Guardian, they warp into the scene using Yen Sid's Star Shard.]]
** The [[spoiler:Armored Ventus Nightmare uses attacks taken from both Ventus and Vanitas. Among them are many attacks from the Fever Pitch Command Style, a weird tendrilly version of Aeroga, and the final attack, which he prepares as a Shotlock. To top it all off, the battle ends with a round of AirJousting similar to the finale of the final Ventus/Vanitas battle.]]
** The correct three answers to the questions posed to Riku at the end of the game are nearly exactly the same answers he gave to Terra back in ''Birth by Sleep''.
** The graphic effects that appear when Sora [[spoiler:restores Rinzler to Tron]] are similar to the "Setup" LimitBreak back in ''II''.
** Nightmare's End and Mirage Split have Riku and Sora grabbing giant keyblades of light and darkness and swinging them to attack, similar to part of their Eternal Session LimitBreak in ''II'', and even [[spoiler:being used in the same world]].
** Before Sora falls asleep in [[spoiler:The World That Never Was]], [[spoiler:Young Xehanort]] repeats the ArcWords "Issho ni ikou."[[note]]"We'll go together."[[/note]] However, since this was translated as "Come with me" in the English version, it was LostInTranslation.
** In ''II'', Sora got kicked out of the [[{{Disney/WinnieThePooh}} 100 Acre Wood]] (a world in a book) when the Heartless [[spoiler: ripped some pages out of the book after an attempted theft]]. Here, Sora gets kicked out of ''another book'' when [[spoiler: he first encounters the [[{{ItsAllAboutMe}} Spellican]] in Symphony of Sorcery]].
** In Country of the Musketeers, the Dream versions of Donald and Goofy approach an unconscious Sora and say his name as he wakes up. This is quite identical to the scene near the beginning of ''Kingdom Hearts II'', where the real versions of the two say Sora's name as he woke up from his year-long sleep.
* CartoonConductor: Sora spends an entire level searching for a magical power that specifically allows him to conjure music from thin air just by waving his weapon like a baton.
* CasualDangerDialogue:
** [[AccidentalMisnaming Axel]], so very much Axel when facing down the Big Bad
--> '''Lea:''' "No, I told you, my name's-- Ugh, whatever, Axel, fine."
* CelestialDeadline: [[spoiler: Implied to be the reason why the True Organization XIII leaves in the climax rather than simply attempt the ritual again after Lea foils it; the Xehanorts cannot physically exist there simultaneously for long, and are forced to return to their respective timelines. The exact nature is unclear.]]
* ChekhovsGun:
** Sora's new clothes. [[spoiler:The big "X" across his torso is eventually revealed to be the "Recusant's Sigil" that Xehanort uses to mark his potential hosts, and also what allowed Organization XIII to track Sora through the game.]]
** The Dream Eater symbol on Riku's new clothes. [[spoiler:It's eventually revealed he's been acting as Sora's Dream Eater Spirit the entire game.]]
** The very first Dream Eaters that you're forced to make. See ChekhovsSkill.
* ChekhovsGunman: You know that robed figure who causes trouble in the first world? [[spoiler: ''He's the final boss.[[note]]Technically, he's the second-last boss fought, but it feels more like the final boss.[[/note]]'']]
* ChekhovsSkill: The first world you go to after Traverse Town is likely La Cite De Cloches. The Reality Shift is Faithline, letting you create grindrails of light between enemy dream eaters to quickly zip between and attack all of them. Since these are world exclusive, you don't use it again unless you return to this world. [[spoiler:In the final world, Riku is looking for Sora and finds the first Dream Eater Sora made, a Meow Wow, across a giant abyss. Riku wonders how to get across, when the first Dream Eater he made, a Komory Bat, appears to Riku and gives him the idea to use Dreamline, which is Faithline between two ally Dream Eaters to get across.]]
* TheChessmaster: Apparently, just about everything that has happened in the series up to this point was planned by the original Xehanort in advance. Yen Sid even remarks that Xehanort is a "devious tactician" and he will, on some level, be able to predict their every move before they make them.
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: According to Joshua, the other ''TWEWY'' characters were in danger of fading from existence unless outsiders observed and acknowledged them.
* ClimaxBoss: Xemnas, Ansem [=SoD=], and [[spoiler:Young Xehanort. The last one feels more like a FinalBoss than Sora in Nightmare Armor is.]]
* CloneByConversion: [[spoiler: Organization XIII turns out to be a plan to turn its members into copies of Xehanort]].
* ColorCodedCharacters: Sora seems to be getting a magenta motif, while Riku is sky blue.
* ColonyDrop: One of the Dual Links. Terra's Meteor spell also returns as an attack exclusive to Riku.
* CompositeCharacter: Gameplay-wise, Riku seems to be a mix of Terra and Aqua in addition to his own previous appearances as an NPC/boss/ally. He gets many of Terra's exclusive commands. but has a dark version of Aqua's Barrier and a slightly different version of Ghost Drive, as well as Doubleflight.
* ContinuityNod: Several. The more obvious ones unlock Chronicles on the Memento menu, allowing the narrative to continue without being bogged down by exposition that would be necessary for newer players.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: In one cutscene, [[spoiler: Young Xehanort]] stands inches away from a lava pit from which he [[IShallTauntYou taunts]] Riku. The volcano [[RuleOfCool even starts erupting behind him]] and he suffers no ill effects, though [[VillainTeleportation he leaves]] before the eruption really gets out of hand.
* ConverseWithTheUnconscious: Riku to Sora in [[spoiler:The World that Never Was]].
* CreativeClosingCredits: The credits take the form of another Dive Mode section, and the player can guide Sora (in his ''KingdomHeartsII'' outfit) to attack the various credit items in the vein of ''SuperSmashBros''.
* CreatureHunterOrganization: [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]] as the duo of Riku and Sora hunting Dream Eaters.
* CreditsMedley: Combines "Hand in Hand", "All for One" (Country of the Musketeers battle theme), "Prankster's Party" (Prankster's Paradise battle theme), "Dream Eaters", "La Sanctuaire" (La CitÚ des Cloches battle theme), and "Dearly Beloved."
* CyberSpace: Makes an appearance with [[Film/TronLegacy The Grid]], this time being the representation of the originals for Tron (or at least the original of the upgrade of Tron a'la the film universe), rather than the backup copy that was in [[Film/{{Tron}} Space Paranoids]].
* DarkerAndEdgier: Some of the stuff that happens to Sora is pretty grim. [[spoiler:He nearly loses his heart forever, gets [[MindScrew mind-screwed]] on more than one occasion, has some pretty jarring nightmares [[IThoughtItMeant (no, not the monsters)]], and sees far more of Xehanort's evil than Riku]].
** Additionally, [[spoiler: [[{{Revision}} plot revelations in this game make certain events from past entries]] much darker than before, ''even BirthBySleep''.]]
* DarkIsEvil: The Dream Eaters are creatures of darkness in worlds the heartless cannot reach.
** DarkIsNotEvil: The "Spirit" Dream Eaters eat bad dreams just as there are "Nightmare" ones that eat good dreams. Spirits can also be synthesized by Sora, Riku, and others. [[spoiler:This trope, along with DarkIsEvil, is also the reason why Xehanort ultimately chooses Sora as a vessel, because Riku's CharacterDevelopment and revelations about the darkness led him to develop a natural resistance to its more corrupting effects, so even if Riku himself continues to use it, Xehanort can't use Riku as a dark vessel.]]
* DeathGlare: [[spoiler: Riku gives one when he first meets [[BigBad Master Xehanort]].]]
* DecoyProtagonist: [[spoiler:Similar to Terra and Ventus in ''BirthBySleep'', Sora is the decoy protagonist, while Riku's story brings the real conclusion.]]
* DemotedToDragon: Ansem [=SoD=] and Xemnas appear to have suffered this fate with [[spoiler: Master Xehanort being both of their bosses.]]
** Who says they were? Its implied that [[spoiler: Master Xehanort planned their roles from the very beginning so they were never the bosses to begin with.]]
** Is it DemotedToDragon if [[spoiler: you're all technically the same person?]]
* DemotedToExtra: Donald and Goofy, obviously. Also, [[spoiler: Kairi]]. Maleficent appears in one relatively inconsequential scene demanding [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded the data on all the worlds]] which serves to give Lea a BigDamnHeroes moment and introduce him to the Disney characters.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: A running trend among the Dream Eaters, at least in terms of their Japanese names. For example: Koumori Bat ("Bat Bat"), Kuma Pandar ("Bear Panda(r)"), Neko Cat ("Cat Cat")...
** Changed to traditional puns in the English game -- Komory Bat, Kumo Panda, and Necho Cat.
* DieChairDie: In boss battle against [[spoiler: Julius]], he's capable of destroying the lampposts in the square. Subverted in that you yourself cannot do this and it only shows up in this one fight.
* DiskOneNuke: Strong Spirits can be made from the get-go, although you'll probably need a guide.
** [=FlowMotion=]. As long as there's a handy wall, ledge or pole nearby to get your initial jump-off, you can zoom across the map to unleash powerful area-of-effect attacks and drill into a single enemy for extra damage, and there is absolutely no penalty or cost to continually jumping off walls to attack. Early in the game [=FlowMotion=] will probably do more damage than actual commands, but by the end of the game when you have access to your choice of powerful group attacks, they do pitiful damage and take too long to execute.
** Zero Graviza (the only fourth tier version of a spell available) can be obtained surprisingly early. You'll likely even come upon it without a guide if you're just creating and leveling up new spirits semi-frequently. It affects ''all'' non boss enemies within a ''huge'' range, utterly incapacitating everything and gathering them up in a single spot for around half a minute so you can lay the hurt down with impunity. As a result, Thundaga ends up shining as a DiskOneNuke as well, since each jolt of lightning will also jump to every surrounding enemy--if you've got a half dozen enemies all in the same spot, [[HilarityEnsues well...]]
* DisneyDeath: [[spoiler: Sora]]
* DisproportionateRetribution: Riku, during the Country of the Musketeers, gets tripped, then is victim to the "tapping someone on the shoulder and disappearing" trick. When it is revealed that the Holey Moley was the one doing it, Riku responds by killing it. More blatant when you realize that this is one of the easiest bosses in the game.
* [[spoiler: DownerEnding: Sora's side of the story, which ends with the Keyblade welder's death and his body captured.]]
* DreamLand / DreamWalker: Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery test consists of going through the dreams of the Sleeping Worlds. [[spoiler: Only Riku walks through Sora's dreams for all but his penultimate level. In fact, most of the characters in the story become Dream Walkers near the end.]]
* DreamWithinADream:
** [[spoiler:Sora is trapped in one in the World that Never Was]]. The first layer of dreams isn't that trippy. The second layer of dreams ''is really trippy.''
** [[spoiler:Riku is in Sora's dreams the entire time Sora himself is in the dreaming worlds.]]
* DuelBoss: [[spoiler:Rinzler for Sora. Riku gets the Armored Ventus Nightmare, and the first battle with Ansem, Seeker of Darkness has sections where your Dream Eaters are unavailable. The bonus boss Julius is also a standout example]].
* DullSurprise:
** [[spoiler:Young Xehanort. Quite jarring, considering how [[LargeHam hammy]] his other selves are. Frighteningly, it doesn't feel out of character for this particular Xehanort though, serving to make him seem creepier, kind of like Billy Zane's Ansem in the original game. Xemnas is very similar in this regard, since he doesn't bother to yell or shout like he did in Kingdom Hearts II and just remains solemn.]]
** Lea has this reaction at the end of the game after [[spoiler:accidentally materializing a Keyblade for the first time]], which is in stark contrast to everyone else's BigWhat.
** Creator/QuintonFlynn must be getting tired of this role, as he sounds a little flat compared to his other performances as Axel/Lea. [[HilariousInHindsight Funny, considering he's human now...]]
** Lea, at least, is clearly being toned down on purpose. His act is way too consistent to be regular old unintentional DullSurprise (and based on Flynn's other work, he couldn't pull something like that off on accident with his voice). In which case it's in all likelihood an InvokedTrope on Quinton Flynn's part.
** [[JustifiedTrope Well, considering he just reformed and signs telling that said process takes a toll on the body (according to Aeleus, Dilan and Even are unstable and need to rest)...]]
** Also, Bret Iwan as Mickey. Rarely does he ever emote convincingly, though he's ''slightly'' better than he was in ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded Re:coded]]''.
* EasyAmnesia: Dreams are easily forgotten, and [[spoiler:Young Xehanort]] attempts to manipulate Riku through this fear.
* ElectricSlide: Possible to do this in parts of each world with Flowmotion.
* EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs: [[TyrannosaurusRex Tyranto]] [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Rex]], a boss in the Three Musketeers world. Also, a Triceratops Dream Eater. Both are available as Spirit Dream Eater party members. There's also a [[DemBones bony]] [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot version]] of the Tyranto Rex. Like its living version, it is creatable.
* EvilCounterpart: Riku and the [[spoiler:Anti-Black Coat, who respectively serve as a Spirit and Nightmare tailored to Sora]].
* EvilPlan: [[spoiler: Xehanort's plan to use Sora was set into action from the moment Ansem [=SoD=] met him on Destiny Islands in ''Kingdom Hearts'']].
* {{Expy}}: Sudo Neku to its [[Characters/TheWorldEndsWithYou namesake]]. Even more so when Minamimoto uses it in the Tin Pin Cup of Flick Rush. Its coloring matches that of Neku's shirt.
* FightingYourFriend: There is a variation of this in the ''Film/TronLegacy'' world, considering [[spoiler: Rinzler, CLU's [[TheDragon Dragon]], is Tron. The last boss is also this, as it's Sora in Nightmare Armor and Riku is forced to fight him to free him.]]
* FinalBoss:
** [[spoiler:Sora in the Nightmare Armor]]
** [[spoiler:Xemnas in Sora's story. Also a ClimaxBoss as well, due to the revelations and [[DownerEnding the]] [[TheHeroDies aftermath]] [[KillTheCutie of]] [[TheBadGuyWins the]] [[SoulJar battle]].]]
* FinalBossNewDimension: Applies to the four last bosses.
** Xemnas gets a special dimensional space within [[spoiler:the World That Never Was]].
** Ansem gets a globe of darkness; [[SequentialBoss his second form]] gets a canyon that resembles the realm of darkness.
** [[spoiler:Young Xehanort]] gets some kind of cosmic clock platform, surrounded by giant hourglasses accompanied by gigantic clockwork looming in the background.
** The [[spoiler:Armored Ventus Nightmare]] gets a pitch-black dream abyss within Sora's mind.
* FiveBadBand: The [[spoiler:new Organization XIII]] forms one out of the currently known members.
** BigBad - Master Xehanort
** TheDragon - Xigbar
** TheEvilGenius - Xemnas
** TheBrute - Ansem, Seeker of Darkness
** TheDarkChick - Young Xehanort
** SixthRanger - Sa´x/Isa
*** Arguably, Xigbar and Young Xehanort could actually have their positions switched around. Despite [[spoiler:revealing he's "half-Xehanort" and being Xehanort/Xemnas' hidden Dragon throughout the series]], Xigbar is [[AffablyEvil just as chatty as ever]], easily coming across as the least serious member of the group. On the other hand, Young Xehanort, by virtue of [[spoiler:being TheHeavy, directly breaking Sora's heart at/near the climax of the game, and being the one tasked with gathering together the various incarnations of Xehanort across time in the first place]], has the most direct presence of all the villains assembled. It's all a matter of interpretation.
* {{Flanderization}}: Sora has become much more of an IdiotHero in this game, especially when compared to Riku. In the very least, he's become much more childish than in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''. YMMV however, as he has if not always, most of the time then, followed his heart over his head.
** This is somewhat justified if you think about what happened prior to 3D. In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora had to get serious due to the threat that the Organization posed, not to mention that Kairi got kidnapped and for all that Sora knew, Riku was lost to the darkness and he might not be able to save him. Plus, considering how his track record has him saving all of the worlds and beating Xehanort's incarnations twice in a row, he does have reason to be more laid back at this point in time.
* FlashStep:
** La CitÚ des Cloches's Reality Shift "Faithline" lets Sora and Riku zip between selected enemies very quickly.
** The new dodge move has shades of this.
** Two of Riku's spirit links give him this ability when attacking.
* ForegoneConclusion: [[spoiler: Did you actually think [[BigBad Xehanort]] would be finished off for good in this game? With the GrandFinale ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsIII'' still on the horizon?]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: When Sora meets [[spoiler: Xemnas]] in Prankster's Paradise, the latter outright states the endgame revelation that [[spoiler: Nobodies can grow hearts]] in [[CueTheFlyingPigs a mocking manner]].
** The game's tagline counts as well. [[spoiler: "Darkness becomes light" (Riku becomes a Keyblade Master), "light falls into darkness" (Sora gets drowned in darkness and, despite coming back safe and sound, fails the Mark of Mastery exam).]]
** The game's cover is this too. Riku is soaring up towards the top, [[spoiler: Representing his sucess at passing the Mark of Mastery, and his ascension to a Keyblade master,]] while Sora is falling to the bottom of the cover while asleep[[spoiler: Representing him falling into Darkness and failing his Mark of Mastery exam]].
*** There's even more foreshadowing in the cover image: Sora is directly behind Riku while Riku looks up with an apprehensive expression on his face. If you pay attention to the positioning, Sora is curled behind Riku in such a way that you would have too go through Riku to reach him. Riku is effectively standing standing guard over Sora [[spoiler: in a similar way to how he acted as Sora's [[GuardianEntity Guardian Dream Eater]] in the game]]
** Additionally, there are two - perhaps unintentional - examples in two games in the post-KingdomHeartsII "spinoff trio":
*** In ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'', in Mission Mode, [[spoiler: Sora and Riku]] are unlockable characters. The former's WeaponOfChoice is described as "Keyblade" in the character select screen, while the latter's appears to be a "Sword". With [[InfinityPlusOneSword "Zero Gear"]] equipped, though, [[{{Irony}} the former's weapon becomes the Dream Sword, while the latter's becomes the Way to The Dawn keyblade]]. In ''[=KH3D=]'', [[spoiler: Sora fails the Mark of Mastery exam while Riku gets to become a Keyblade Master]].
*** In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'', while Terra's midair action appears to boil down to a simple dodge, Ventus' is Sora's iconic Glide (upgradeable to Superglide), while Aqua gets a DoubleJump ability called Doubleflight. Bear in mind that Ventus is just an almost self-taught, rookie keyblade wielder, whereas Aqua is a full-fledged Keyblade Master. ''[=KH3D=]'', [[spoiler: Sora gets Glide in Symphony of Sorcery while Riku gets Doubleflight in The World That Never Was]].
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: While Sora pulls a BigDamnHeroes moment on Neku during a visit to Traverse Town, Shiki is behind them in a pool, her legs kicking as she struggles up.
* GameBreakingBug:
** In the original Japanese printing of the game, there was a glitch where if Riku Dropped before the spiral staircase in [[spoiler:Delusive Beginning in the World That Never Was]] fully manifested, Riku's scenario would be cut off from progressing (you can't re-do the challenge required to turn on the staircase, so you can't do anything to make it appear); the player would have to re-load their save file (and if you happened to save as Sora after Dropping, you were out of luck). A patch was released via the [=eShop=] and the bug was fixed for international release.
** Towards the end of the game, for plot reasons, you might be forced to switch characters without Dropping. An error in the code for this switch means that, afterwards, Sora and Riku have swapped Link Portals and Forecasts, making the former appear in illogical or inaccessible locations and the latter completely useless. Luckily, [[http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/997779-kingdom-hearts-3d-dream-drop-distance/63743281 it's easily fixed]].
** It's possible for the final boss to get stuck in the middle of an attack - he'll freeze, allowing you to attack him mercilessly without retribution. But if this happens, you won't be able to defeat him, as [[spoiler: the game will be unable to load his final attack when he reaches 1 HP]]. The only recourse is to reset to your last save - meaning you'll need to fight [[spoiler: Young "Trollnort" Xehanort]] [[invoked]] all over again, as well as repeat the final dive into Sora's heart.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: The first time Sora and Riku drop is dictated by the story, not the drop meter. When they wake up, it's obvious that the world has kept functioning despite their falling asleep. When meter-dictated drops start occurring, however, the other side of the game is simply "paused" and picks back up as if nothing happened in the interim when you drop back to it later.
* GetBackHereBoss:
** Holey Moley. The boss fight isn't very difficult, but more often than not he will disappear as soon as you reach him (even with the use of Flow motion). Truly annoying.
** Spellican might be even worse. He continually teleports around the arena, tries to keep Sora at a distance with showers of stars, summons minions to keep him occupied, and periodically forces Sora into a separate segment where he has to chase Spellican down on grind rails while he fires spells at Sora. In face, he is one in the story as well; Sora and Riku spend the entirety of the second visit to Traverse Town chasing it down and trying to corner it, while it switches between the two halves of the world. They defeat its minions, only for it to fly off to another world ''entirely''.
** Lord Kyroo has an enormous amount of HP, and he'll run away to a different world after you've fought him for 75 seconds. Thankfully, his HP does not regenerate between encounters.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Sora's version of the [[Disney/{{Fantasia}} Symphony of Sorcery]] world is based off of the Olympus segment where the wine-drinking god Bacchus throws a party. As such, some of the locations to use Sora's Reality Shift on resemble goblets with obvious wine flowing out of them.
* TheGlomp: [[spoiler:Sora gives two to Riku in the ending.]]
* GratuitousFrench: The ''[[Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame Hunchback of Notre Dame]]'' world is named La CitÚ des Cloches (The City of Bells). However, besides that, the world is surprisingly devoid of French. The same can be said about The Land of Musketeers, with the Mont Saint Michel.
* GuideDangIt:
** Getting the secret ending as always requires certain gameplay accomplishments, but also requires you to answer three particular questions during the ending with the exact right answers (those being [[spoiler:"Losing something that's important", "My close friends", and "to recover something important"]]). WordOfGod even admits that they put that condition as a '''trap'''.
** Also more about the ending, one of the requirements for the Secret Ending is that you need a certain number of trophies, that the amount you need depends on the difficulty you chosen. Now unlike ''Birth By Sleep'', the game doesn't even hint at this. Also you need to unlock the Secret Message as well (on Beginner and Standard, Proud and Critical Mode don't require it), but that's much less of a GuideDangIt since players will most likely do this unless they spoil themselves on it. The only consolation is that you don't need to do these requirements in a specific order.
** The game tells you that you don't ''need'' the recipes to create Dream Eaters, but they help. Anyone with a guide has no such problem and has some potential (you need specific ingredients for them so it isn't completely broken) to create a strong team at the beginning.
* TheGhost: A fair number of Link Portals are listed as belonging to FinalFantasy characters, even ones that haven't appeared in the KingdomHearts series (yet). Also, [[KingdomHeartsII Hayner, Pence,]] and [[VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou 777 and Sho Minamimoto]] are Flick Rush opponents, but they never appear onscreen.
* GoshDangItToHeck: Jiminy refers to Prankster's Paradise being a place for young boys to make "jackamules" of themselves[[note]]In the movie itself, they made jackasses of themselves [[VisualPun and turned into donkeys]][[/note]].
* GottaCatchEmAll: The Dream Eaters, like any good {{Mon}} game. Although this game seems more inspired by the Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei style of mons than those found in the TropeNamer.
* HappyEndingOverride: The ending of ''BirthBySleep'' was [[BittersweetEnding far from happy]], but at least with the downfall of its heroes the villain was defeated as well. [[spoiler: Except not. [[FateWorseThanDeath The heroes are still trapped in their horrible fates]], but the BigBad [[KarmaHoudini is back and more dangerous than ever before]], [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt and is in fact even closer to achieving his plan than last time.]]]]
* TheHeavy: [[spoiler:Young]] Xehanort.
* HelpfulMook: As described above, the Spirit Dream Eaters can be created by Sora and Riku, and used as either standard teammates in battle or as Dual Links to give unique powers to either character. They can also be moved around the map using Sora's Reality Shift. With regard to the story, the Dream Eaters lead both Sora and Riku to the "Key of Sleep", which is presumably required to open to Sleeping Keyholes.
* [[spoiler: TheHeroDies: Sora, if only [[DisneyDeath temporary]].]]
* HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler:[[ThePollyanna Sora]] gets a few in this game thanks to the same questions [[KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 Xion]]]] was asked. To sum the questions: [[spoiler:"Am I the real thing, or a copy? Am I really myself, or just a puppet with a role to play?" Thankfully, [[DownerEnding they don't end up the same way.]]]]
--> [[spoiler:"Sora...the bits and bytes that have made up your life so far...can you say for sure they're not just copies of someone else's?"]]
* HeroOfAnotherStory: The ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' crew have to deal with an odd permutation of the Reapers' Game in Traverse Town, which Sora and Riku only get to glimpse.
* HowDoIShotWeb: [[spoiler: When Lea [[BigDamnHeroes helps rescue Sora]], he uses his chakram. He later admits he wanted to reveal his keyblade at the time but he hadn't yet figured out how to summon it.]]
* HPToOne:
** [[spoiler: The Anti Black Coat Nightmare's]] dark stalagmite will do this if it connects.
** Averted with the Poison [[StandardStatusEffects status effect]]. Especially annoying if [[spoiler:[[BonusBoss Julius]]]] inflicts it on you. Given his insanely powerful attacks, it can mean Game Over if you get stuck with it at low health.
* IgnoredEnemy: The Spellican gets completely forgotten, much to its annoyance, as Beat and Rhyme get into a sibling tiff.
* ImCryingButIDontKnowWhy: [[spoiler:Sora, when he meets Xion for the first time.]]
* InfinityMinusOneSword: End of Pain. (14 Strength/16 Magic/3% Shift).
* InfinityPlusOneSword: Unbound (18 Strength/14 Magic/20% Shift) and Ultima Weapon (16/16/20%).
* [[ItsRainingMen It's Raining Soras]]: A good source of the game's MindScrew. ItMakesSenseInContext.
* IronicEcho: [[spoiler: In a meta-sense, Master Xehanort echoes the ''tagline'' of ''Birth by Sleep'' to justify [[MoralEventHorizon the crap he inflicted on Terra, Aqua and Ven.]] "Destiny is never left to chance."]]
* ItMakesSenseInContext: Specifically [[InvokedTrope invoked]] with the trailers for the game, [[TrailersAlwaysSpoil which do spoil quite a bit]]. However, due to the game's well-known [[MindScrew bizarre]] nature and dream-like setting (known long before the game was released), the spoilery scenes don't make any sense without actually playing the game.
* JapaneseBeetleBrothers: Two of the Dream Eaters are based on the kuwagata and the kabuto: the Staggerceps and the KO Kabuto respectively.
* KaizoTrap: Oh look, I beat the final boss... wait...''DID HE JUST SHOOT LOCK ME?!?''
** The questions that you get asked in the ending also qualify as this... but to be fair they don't give you a game over if you answer "wrong".
* KudzuPlot: The game wraps up various questions about [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts Xehanort's presence on Destiny Islands in the first game]], [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep the identity of the Mysterious Figure in]] ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth By Sleep]]'', [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 whether Nobodies really have hearts]], and so forth. Unfortunately, it also opens all new questions about [[spoiler: time travel, the 13 darknesses and 7 lights]], the nature of the Keyblade, Sora's destiny, Ansem the Wise's failsafe, and myriad other plot points.
* LampshadeHanging: The game's [[MindScrew convoluted]] story is lampshaded twice in the final world by Sora, when he says "That's nuts..." and "That's ridiculous!". [[spoiler: The villains agree with this assessment; ''because'' their plot was so complex, the heroes never saw it coming.]]
* LateArrivalSpoiler:
** Trailers for the game have spoiled the ending of ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]'', while the mere existence of the game spoils the secret ending of ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded Re:coded]]''.
** The Grid, the ''Film/TronLegacy'' world, has multiple characters explicitly refer to [[spoiler:Rinzler as Tron]]. This plot twist is actually revealed early on in that stage of the game, while it was only revealed at the end of the movie.
* LeParkour: ''3D'' uses a new gameplay mechanic called "Flowmotion" in the Sleeping Worlds (accessible to at least the Traverse Town residents as well). By holding Y, the player can make Riku or Sora perform over-the-top acrobatics such as infinite wall-jumping, rail-grinding or spinning around poles, which also allows opportunities for special high-damage attacks.
* LetXBeTheUnknown: The letter's affiliation to [[spoiler:Xehanort]] is explained in this game. [[spoiler:It is called the "Recusant's Sigil" and was used by Xemnas, and Xehanort by extension, to mark potential vessels, and as a proof of Xehanort's ownership and influence. It also served as a way for the Organization XIII to track Sora down and guide him to The World That Never Was.]]
-->'''[[spoiler:Xemnas]]''': [[spoiler:"As your flesh bears the sigil, so your name shall be known as that of a recusant."]]
* [[LethalJokeItem Lethal Joke Spell]]: The Balloon series of spells. As ridiculous as the concept may seem, they're actually an adapted version of the Detonate/Mine series of spells from ''KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep''. They're well known as being one of the easiest methods of defeating bosses such as [[spoiler:Julius]].
* LightningBruiser: So many of the huge bosses move at surprising speeds, especially [[spoiler:[[BonusBoss Julius]], who attacks so quickly that without the Leaf Bracer ability, you'll almost never be able to use Curaga.]]
* LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition: There are versions for both the Japanese and North American releases. The Japanese version includes copies of ''3D'', ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded Re:coded]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 Days]]'', a special ''[=KH3D=]''-branded [=3DS=], and other minor goodies. The North American version (or the "Mark of Mastery Edition") is a bit less nice, only having ''3D'', a ''[=KH3D=]''-branded [=3DS=] ''case'', and said minor goodies.
* LongSongShortScene: [[VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou "Twister [Kingdom Mix]", "Calling [Kingdom Mix]" and "Someday [Kingdom Mix]"]] are each fairly long, with multiple verses. However, they each play during cutscenes with limited durations, such that each song barely gets into the first verse before the scene, and the song, ends.
* MagicMissileStorm: [[spoiler:Young Xehanort]] can fire projectiles in this manner.
* MascotMook: The Meow Wow Dream Eater.
* MassiveMultiplayerCrossover: This time with The established ''Kingdom Hearts'' universe, multiple Disney Franchises, and Square Enix's ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''.
* MatchCut: A montage of them at the end of the February 2012 trailer. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gAilU_6J_g&feature=related Thankfully slowed down here.]]
* MeaningfulEcho:
** [[spoiler:After defeating Ansem, Riku says "Strength, to protect what matters". In BirthBySleep, Riku tells Terra that he's searching for strength to protect the things that matter.]]
** [[spoiler:In the finale, during his conversation with the digitized Ansem the Wise, there is another, intentional on the part of Ansem the Wise, and acknowledged with a grin by Riku. Compare the lines below.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Ansem the Wise (as [=DiZ=]) in VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII:''' But first, perhaps you could tell me your true name?\\
'''Riku, in the form of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness''': [[ImpersonationParadox It's Ansem.]]]]

-->[[spoiler:'''Data-Ansem the Wise, in this game''': Young man! I do not believe you told me your name.\\
'''Riku''': [[CharacterDevelopment It's Riku.]]]]
** [[spoiler:When confronted by Xigbar before the battle against Xemnas, Sora is told that his power is a composite of all those he's connected with, that Sora himself is basically nothing. Sora replies that he's still happy to be part of something bigger. Remember way back in ''Kingdom Hearts''' beginning when Riku was talking about other worlds? Didn't he say that Destiny Islands "is just a little piece of something much greater"?]] Yeah, reaching a bit, but still cool, intentional or not.
* MediumBlending:
** The game's opening video features a 2D, silhouetted Mickey on the bottom screen and full-motion CGI on the top screen, with the illusion given of Mickey jumping from the bottom screen to the top screen when he appears in the CGI video.
** The Country of the Musketeers features a lot of comic book-style lineart as a ShoutOut to the ending credits of [[MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers the original movie]].
* MilestoneCelebration: ''3D'' is a large part of the series' 10th anniversary celebrations; the logo for it is emblazoned in the top right corner of the games cover, and it also accompanies ''358/2 Days'' and ''Re:coded'' in a special anniversary box set. Additionally, a limited edition 3DS console with a unique ''3D''-inspired design is being released.
* [[spoiler: MindRape: What Young Xehanort (with the help of Xigbar and Xemnas) subjects Sora to.]]
* MindScrew: The game includes among other things dreams within dreams, time travel, more mysteries of the heart, and mythical prophecies fortelling the ultimate battle between dark and light.
** MindScrewdriver: See KudzuPlot above.
* {{Mon}}: The first game in the series to feature them. They are the Familiars or Spirits type, similar to [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2 another Square Enix title released this year]]. Your AI party members have been replaced by Dream Eaters, which you create using {{Randomly Drop|s}}ped materials.
* MonsterClown:
** The Jestabocky Dream Eater species (its Japanese name, "Obake Pierrot", is more or less a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin direct translation of the trope name]]).
** A monster clown is also featured in the [[http://www.khwiki.net/images/5/5a/Prankster%27s_Paradise_Logo_KH3D.png logo for Prankster's Paradise]]. You can find a 20 foot tall statue of him inside the funhouse, and ''his eyes follow you.''
* MoodWhiplash: During Riku's visit to Symphony of Sorcery, He goes through the Nutcracker, and it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling of "Yay! Christmas!" But just as soon as he gets the Sound Idea, he is pulled into a dark landscape and encounters [[spoiler:Young Xehanort]], who gives him a word of warning about the fate of himself and Sora, and then says that it's time for Riku to enter his abyss. [[FromBadToWorse Cue]] [[{{Satan}} Chernabog]].
* MusicalGameplay: The Fantasia world, Symphony Of Sorcery mutes voices and replaces sound-effects with instruments, while the background plays songs from the movie, and it is ''wonderful.'' Where does the gameplay come in? The Reality Shift has you playing a small EliteBeatAgents style rhythm game with a segment of one of the movie's songs to alter the landscape to open paths and destroy enemies.
* {{Nerf}}: Dodge Roll has fewer invincibility frames than other games in the series. This can throw of people who were used to dodging everywhere in ''KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'', especially against bosses.
** Remember those fun overpowered attacks from ''Birth By Sleep'' like Mega Flare, Time Splicer, etc? Remember how you didn't take damage from attacks while using them? Not anymore. Sure, Dark Splicer is awesome, but make sure you use Curaga before using it and have Curaga selected for when you finish because you ''can'' die in the middle of the attack now. Mega Flare is still powerful and fires quick enough that you'd really only get hit if you try to fire it in the middle of an enemy's attack.
* NewGamePlus: Allows you to carry over Spirits from your previous file. Although Neku and Joshua will still insist on teaching you how to create Spirits...
* NonHumanSidekick: Sora and Riku can create "Spirit" Dream Eaters to help them in battle, which are based on real animals and mythical creatures.
* NotWhatISignedOnFor: Neku and Shiki both make deals with [[spoiler: Young Xehanort]] to bring him Sora and Riku in exchange for being able to go home. However, when [[spoiler: Young Xehanort]] tries to attack Sora and Riku, they immediately turn on him because he said that he ''wouldn't'' hurt them.
* NumerologicalMotif: This game introduces the concept of the diametrically opposed [[LuckySeven seven guardians of light]] and [[ThirteenIsUnlucky thirteen seekers of darkness]].
* OhCrap: [[spoiler:Yen Sid, of all people, has this reaction when he finds out the extent of [[MagnificentBastard Xeha]][[BigBad nort]]'s scheming led as far as ''splitting into his parts to get to several worlds at once for time travel''.]]
* OminousPipeOrgan: It's a series mainstay, why stop now? Pipe organ parts are featured in la CitÚ des Cloches' music, "Deep Drop" ([[spoiler:The World That Never Was]] battle theme), "L'OscuritÓ dell'Ignot" (Xemnas's battle theme), and "L'Impeto Oscuro" ([[spoiler:Young Xehanort's]] battle theme).
* OrpheanRescue: Part of the plot seems to be traveling through dream worlds to save the souls/hearts/existence of the people that make up the Composite Beings that the cast are now.
* PaletteSwap:
** There are two versions of each Dream Eater species--the friendly Spirits and antagonistic Nightmares. There are also "Rare species" that appear during challenges.
** The player can use spray paint to color their own Spirits.
** Several Jestabockies masquerade as Pinocchio in Prankster's Paradise; their clothes have Nightmare Jestabocky colors as opposed to Pinocchio's color scheme.
* PostVictoryCollapse: [[spoiler: The moment Xemnas was out of view following defeat, Sora collapses and succumbs to the darkness in his heart, ending his side of the story in a [[{{DownerEnding}} very]] [[{{TheHeroDies}} tragic]] [[{{TheBadGuyWins}} way]]]].
* PowerGlows: Unbound, the game's strongest Keyblade in terms of physical attack power, constantly emits a pulsing glow from the tip and hilt.
* ThePowerOfFriendship: Powerful enough for Sora to [[spoiler:break through CLU's reprogramming of Tron, despite this Tron not actually being the one that Sora knows (the Grid's Tron is the original; Sora befriended his copy in Space Paranoids)]].
* PrecisionFStrike: [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories Another Disney-level one]]--Sam says "hell" during the first visit to the Grid.
* PreOrderBonus: Three Dream Eater AR cards.
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: A matter of course for the ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}''-based world Symphony of Sorcery.
* {{Pun}}:
** Neku's first line is "Talk about noise." The thing is, is he talking about [[TheHeartless the Noise]], or the overexcited racket Sora's been making?
** Xemnas's line to Sora in The Grid in the English version: [[spoiler:"Sora...''the bits and bytes'' that have made up your life so far...can you say for sure they're not just copies of someone else's?"]]
** The Dream Eaters' Dispositions have a one pun for each one. It's possible to have a Komory Bat with the disposition "Wingman".
** The Dream Eater descriptions also are full of puns and alliteration, especially Ghostabocky's description (try not to get tongue-tied if saying it out loud). [[DragonQuest Not unlike another Square Enix series...]]
** Kingdom Hearts 3D: '''D'''ream '''D'''rop '''D'''istance...[[AWorldwidePunomenon does this ring a bell?]]
* RRatedOpening: while the games aren't strangers to darker stuff, this is the first title in the series that begins on a very bleak note - [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKOYPjoEus8 namely,]] [[spoiler: Terra-Xehanort stabbing Braig (in a first-person perspective) with Master Xehanort's keyblade after having done the very same thing with Ansem The Wise's other apprentices]].
* RandomlyDrops: The Dream Eater components, which come in various types and are split into three ranks--"Figments", "Fancies", and "Fantasies".
* RealityWarper: In the Sleeping Worlds, Reality Shifts are used to take control of the worlds themselves for unique attacks.
** [[BratsWithSlingshots Sling Shot]]: The Reality Shift of [[FirstTown Traverse Town]] which shoots a [[ConfettiDrop confetti filled projectile]].
** [[HolyHandGrenade Faith]][[GrindBoots line]]: The Reality Shift of [[Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame La CitÚ des Cloches]] which you grind into enemies upon [[HolyHandGrenade chains of light]].
** [[HackYourEnemy Code Break]]: Reality Shift of [[Film/TronLegacy The Grid]] giving you the ability to program enemies to turn against each other.
** [[FloatingInABubble Bubble Burst]]: Reality Shift of [[Disney/{{Pinocchio}} Prankster's Paradise]] giving you the ability to [[BubbleGun launch bubbles]] at the enemy as well as trap them in one and smash them into the floor.
** [[InteractiveComic Wonder Comic]]: The Reality Shift of [[WesternAnimation/MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers Country Of the Musketeers]], after preforming in an interactive comic sequence you unleash an [[CombinationAttack team attack]] with MickeyMouse, DonaldDuck and {{Goofy}}.
** [[MagicMusic Melody Catcher]]: The Reality Shift of the [[Disney/{{Fantasia}} Symphony of Sorcery]], after a RhythmGame unleash a DeadlyFireworksDisplay on the enemy.
** [[BifurcatedWeapon Nightmare's End/Mirage Split]]: The Reality Shift in [[spoiler:[[TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon The World That Never Was]]]] has Sora and Riku combining [[YinYangBomb light and dark]] themed keyblades into one [[{{BFS}} huge one]] then [[BashBrothers swinging it]] [[CombinationAttack together]].
*** [[ThinkingUpPortals Dreamline]]: [[spoiler:A one-time Reality Shift, this allows Riku to traverse the Brink of Despair in The World That Never Was, using his Komory Bat's help to create a rope between the cliff and The Castle That Never Was.]]
* RedAndBlackAndEvilAllOver: Used as a form of {{Foreshadowing}} -- [[spoiler:Sora's outfits usually are some mix of yellow, red, black, blue, and white, but in this game his new clothing is primarily red and black with some white. By the end of the game, Sora has been corrupted by Xehanort and has to be fought to free his heart from darkness.]]
* RedEyesTakeWarning: A shared trait of Nightmare Dream Eaters, including [[spoiler:the Anti-Black Coat]].
* RedHerring: [[spoiler: Roxas in the opening joining the other Keyblade wielders in their fight against Master Xehanort. This was done to foreshadow that there was going to be Seven Keyblade wielders (the warriors of light). At the end of the game, it's revealed that it's ''Axel/Lea'', not Roxas, who is going to be the 7th member.]]
* RemixedLevel:
** Fourth and fifth districts have been added to Traverse Town.
** [[spoiler:The World That Never Was]] is the ruined version. It also [[spoiler:traps Sora in a dream within a dream, while Riku gets to explore its dream version because he dove into Sora's dreams after Destiny Islands. Riku manages to break free and wake up in the real World That Never Was, but Sora's lack of resistance against the Darkness serves to immediately shatter his heart after fighting Xemnas.]]
* RuleOfSymbolism:
** The Christian symbolism in the series (particularly concerning [[MessianicArchetype Sora]]) is already palpable.
** [[VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou Joshua]] is in the game. Saying why would be a spoiler for the game he's from, but let's just say the symbolism has just [[UpToEleven skyrocketed]]. For extra bonus points on symbolism, [[spoiler: Joshua has white, feathered angel wings in the first visit to Traverse Town]].
** The ''Film/TronLegacy'' [[EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory characters]].
* RunningGag: People calling Lea "Axel".
-->'''Riku:''' Why are you here, Axel?\\
'''Lea:''' No, I told you my name'sŚ Agh, whatever, Axel, fine.
* SayMyName: Sora calls out for Riku near the beginning of the game upon entering Traverse Town. And near the end, [[spoiler: Sora [[{{FamousLastWords}} speaks his best friend's name again]] as he dies from a broken heart; this time, Riku was able to hear him, which would soon lead to Sora being [[{{BackFromTheDead}} revived]] and Riku becoming a Keyblade Master]].
* SceneryPorn: [[spoiler: Sora's heart, a facsimile of the Destiny Islands at twilight.]]
* SendInTheClones: [[spoiler:Xehanort's true plan for Org. XIII is to make them essentially all clones of himself.]]
* ShockAndAwe: The Electricorn Dream Eater. [[spoiler:BonusBoss [[WesternAnimation/RunawayBrain Julius]] also uses electricity to bolster his attacks.]]
* ShoutOut:
** Symphony of Sorcery's Reality Shift is named "Fantasmic" in the Japanese version, referencing the Disneyland MassiveMultiplayerCrossover show.
** The Thunderaffe can gain the disposition "[[LetsPlay/ProtonJon Photon Don]]"
** The Electricorn's profile asks, "[[Literature/DoAndroidsDreamOfElectricSheep Do electric unicorns dream of androids?]]"
** The Tatsu Blaze's profile tells you to "prepare for [[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner burnination]]".
** "It's his game now! [[WarGames The only]] [[BeamMeUpScotty way to win]] [[WarGames is not to play!"]] The shout out is kept intact in the world based on ''Film/TronLegacy''.
** The FinalBoss battle ([[spoiler: Armored Ventus Nightmare, aka ''Sora'']]) has one when [[spoiler: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3NsZJuMdI4&feature=player_detailpage#t=486s the background screen turns white and the boss attacks while covered in ink-esque darkness.]]]] Sounds familiar? Yep, the overall effect is very reminiscent of ''VideoGame/EpicMickey''.
** One of Traverse Town's new areas, the Post Office, is a clear sign that Creator/TetsuyaNomura is opening up to Creator/{{Pixar}} worlds. Just imagine ''[[MonstersInc doors]]'' grinding the colored rails...
** Decussation, Sora's link with the frog-knight-like "Kyroo" spirits is very similar to the "X-Strike" [[CombinationAttack Dual Tech]] from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', which was performed by Crono and ''Frog''.
* [[spoiler: ShootTheShaggyDog: The game retroactively does this to ''BirthBySleep''. We now see that the sacrifices of the three heroes did NOT stop Master Xehanort at all. He simply regained his memories one year later before splitting into Ansem and Xemnas, both keeping the memories of Master Xehanort while striving toward his ultimate destructive plan, and now he's back and no worse for his set-backs. They partly made things even worse in the long run by merely foiling a quasi X-blade forging, in the process, teaching Xehanort a lesson in patience and setting him on the path for forging the X-blade the correct way. Lampshaded by Mickey. Also, [[GrandTheftMe his possession of]] [[AndIMustScream Terra]] [[KarmaHoudini was perfectly successful in the end.]] ]]
* SigilSpam: Both Sora and Riku's outfits are adorned with a sigil. Sora has the [[spoiler:Recusant's Sigil, the "X" over his chest, which allows the new Organization to track him]]. Riku has the [[spoiler:Spirits' sigil, because he himself is actually a Spirit]].
* SlouchOfVillainy: [[spoiler: Master Xehanort]].
* SoundtrackDissonance: Peaceful classical music plays in Symphony of Sorcery as you wander around beating the living daylights out of Dream Eaters who are trying to kill you. Even more dissonant is the fact that the standard attack sounds are replaced with musical instrument sounds after a successful hit, like the strumming of a harp.
** This peaceful music even stays on during the cutscene when [[spoiler: [[TheHeavy Young Xehanort]] confronts Sora]].
* [[spoiler: StableTimeLoop: Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, went to the distant past and met Young Xehanort. Young Xehanort then travels to the future, making his appearance as a BonusBoss in ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth By Sleep]]'' before participating in the events of this game. Young Xehanort later says that when he returns to his own time he'll [[LaserGuidedAmnesia forget his memories of the future]], but [[WistfulAmnesia his heart will drive him on his appointed path.]]]]
* StandardStatusEffects: While used by some enemies in previous games, it's a much bigger problem this time around, with practically every dream eater possessing at least one attack that inflicts a bad status, on top of some of them also using the same status inflicting spells you have access to (Which can be nigh impossible to avoid due to how quickly they trigger). Abilities that provide resistance to each of the different effects were added to alleviate some of the pain.
* TheStinger: Three of them. [[spoiler:Sora returns to dream!Traverse Town and has a happy reunion with the Dream Eaters]]. [[spoiler:Somewhere in Castle Oblivion, Ventus's comatose body cracks the slightest smile]]. There's also the traditional secret ending; [[spoiler:Yen Sid will be training Kairi in Keyblade wielding]].
* SuperTitle64Advance: ''Kingdom Hearts '''[[Nintendo3DS 3D]]'''''. ''3D'', in this case, literally means three [=Ds=]. The three [=Ds=] stand for ''Dream Drop Distance''. [[IncrediblyLamePun Yep]].
* TargetedHumanSacrifice: [[spoiler: This is effectively what the True Organization XIII has in store for Sora, which really demonstrates just how creepy and [[ApocalypseCult cult-like]] it is.]]
* ThemeMusicPowerUp: "Link to All", an upbeat remix of "Dearly Beloved" which plays just before [[spoiler: Sora's climactic battle with Xemnas.]]
* ThemeTuneCameo: The Sound Ideas that Riku and Sora combine in the Symphony of Sorcery is the menu theme, "Dearly Beloved." The arrangement used sounds like [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts the original version]], but with added strings.
* TheThemeParkVersion: Disney plots are more simplified than in other installments this time around, owing to only being able to see a small part in the one visit each person has [[spoiler:and also {{justified|Trope}} by the fact that Riku and Sora aren't even visiting the same world (Riku visiting a dream inside of Sora)]].
* ThirdLineSomeWaiting: Along with the alternating Sora and Riku storylines, there is a third plot thread about Mickey and company dealing with Maleficent in the real world.
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: [[spoiler:Most of the bad guys spend the game [[MindRape mind raping]] Sora, so the game becomes this by the time the player reaches The World That Never Was.]]
* TimeLimitBoss: The majority of the bosses are this due to the Drop mechanic. [[spoiler: After completing Sora's path, this is no longer the case for Riku until he finishes his scenario. Ironically, the boss with control of time is not one.]]
* TimeStandsStill: During a BigDamnHeroes moment, Mickey appears with the fourth-tier Stop spell, Stopza, and freezes [[spoiler:the new Organization XIII. It didn't work on Young Xehanort due to Master Xehanort temporarily passing his power onto him.]]
* [[spoiler:TimeTravel: Introduced in this entry, with different mechanics than the door method for Timeless River, this has essentially been responsible for the entirety of Xehanort's XanatosGambit for the entirety of the series so far. The rules of time travel are rather unusual: They require a version of the time traveler to exist at the planned exit point. Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness, somehow gained the power to time travel when he gave up his physical body to become a Heartless [[note]]Or possibly, anyone who gives up their physical form in that manner can inherently travel through time. It's not very clear.[[/note]]. He was also able to transfer the power over to his younger self without requiring him to give up his body.]]
* TitleThemeDrop: See ThemeTuneCameo above.
** Also, in the scene where [[spoiler:Riku explains to Mickey and the others why it has to be him that dives into Sora's heart to rescue him from the darkness,]] the version from the title screen of [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII the second game]] picks up in the background.
* TookALevelInBadass: [[spoiler: The [[LegionOfDoom new Organization XIII]] is FAR scarier than [[StandardEvilOrganizationSquad the]] [[QuirkyMinibossSquad last one]].]]
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: Though in such a subtle way that it's more actual {{Foreshadowing}} -- the original teaser showed Sora confronting Xemnas in Twilight Town, then a mirror scene of Riku confront Ansem in the same manner. Guess who interacts primarily with who during the course of the game, including the inevitable boss rematches.
** You know those five seconds of [[spoiler: Vanitas?]] Yeah, that's all the screen time [[spoiler: he]] gets in the game.
** Look at the box art for a while. Notice how Sora is falling while Riku is in a rising position ? Yup. [[spoiler:It serves as a {{Foreshadowing}} to the fact that Riku IS the real hero of this game, and what will happen to Sora late in the game.]]
* TreeBuchet: Appears in the Country of the Musketeers, both in a cutscene and as a "trampoline"-type object in gameplay.
* TrippyFinaleSyndrome: Oh boy. The game is actually not ''that'' loopy for a story about dreams until the last world, which pulls out all the stops, apparently to make up for the story leading up to it being far too normal.
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: Storylinewise, there's no waiting. However, it averts this in a highly [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality acceptable way]] - whenever you drop, the other campaign is essentially paused. Although bosses and dream eaters respawn and are reset.
* UndergroundMonkey[=/=]PaletteSwap: Some of the rarest Spirits are slightly tweaked models of more common varieties--Meowjesty and Flowbermeow for Meow Wow, or Frootz Cat for Necho Cat, for instance. They're essentially "souped up" versions of the previous Spirits, with similar skills, attack patterns, and the same Links.
* UnexpectedCharacter:
** The Dream Eaters as teammates, first hinted at in a written preview of the demo.
** The whole main cast of ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''--Neku, Joshua, Rhyme, Beat, and Shiki--appears in quite the [[{{Crossover}} reunion party]] as part of the series's first non-''Final Fantasy'', non-Disney cameo.
** A world based on ''MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers''. Not even Master Xehanort could have seen that coming.
** For the first time since Ice Titan, we have a BonusBoss from a Disney property: [[spoiler: Julius from ''WesternAnimation/RunawayBrain'']]. Also unexpected in how he, despite being a Disney character, is [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown just]] [[ThatOneBoss as]] [[SNKBoss aggressive]] as the ones designed by Tetsuya Nomura.
* TheUnfought: [[Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame Frollo]] and [[Film/TronLegacy CLU]]. [[Disney/{{Pinocchio}} The Coachman]] is completely absent, but his KarmaHoudini status in the film makes him notable here nonetheless. Not to mention [[spoiler: [[BigBad Master Xehanort]], Braig/Xigbar, or Isa/Sa´x. Notable for Braig because he actively taunts you throughout The World That Never Was, making you think that there may be a boss fight with him]].
** Subverted with [[spoiler: Xehanort as he possessed his young form briefly to fight Riku.]]
* UnskilledButStrong: [[spoiler: [[BonusBoss Jul]][[WesternAnimation/RunawayBrain ius]]]]
* UpToEleven:
** Whilst the series is no stranger to ridiculous feats of acrobatics, the Flowmotion mechanic really takes this to new levels.
** Also, if you thought the KudzuPlot of the series was [[MindScrew screwy]] ''before''.....
* [[spoiler: VillainExitStageLeft: All of the Xehanorts, at the end of the game.]]
* VideogameCaringPotential: ''The Spirits''. Goodness gracious, how many 3DS screens were ripped to shreds just petting them for hours?
* VillainTeamUp: [[spoiler:Four of Master Xehanort's incarnations ([[Videogame/KingdomHearts Ansem SoD]], [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII Xemnas]], [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Master Xehanort]], and [[KingdomHeartsDreamDropDistance Young Xehanort]]), as well as Braig and Isa, form a new Organization of sorts, with six other members remaining unidentified. Xehanort is still working at getting the thirteenth and final one.]]
* VisualPun:
** The district [[spoiler: Julius from ''WesternAnimation/RunawayBrain'', who bears a strong resemblance to {{Pete}} the cat,]] is [[BonusBoss fought in]] is the same one featuring the CAT graffiti from ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''.
** Whenever Minamimoto's Tyranto Rex in the Flick Rush Tin Pin Cup takes a bite in any of you Dream Eaters. How is this a pun? "Crunch! I'll add it to the heap!"
* WackySoundEffect: In the Symphony of Sorcery world, the standard sound effects of Sora and Riku's Keyblade attacks connecting with Dream Eaters are [[MickeyMousing replaced with the sounds of musical instruments]]. [[TheVoiceless Sora and Riku also lose their]] [[VoiceGrunting battle grunts]] [[TheVoiceless here]].
** The Guardian Bell Keyblade makes a church bell sound whenever it lands a hit. For a tiny bell, it sure makes a deep ring.
** The Sweetest Dreams keyblade takes the cake in this regard, emitting all the manner of cartoony sound effects with each hit.
* WakeUpCallBoss: Rinzler. He [[LightningBruiser hits very hard and quickly]], has a lot of health, and [[InterfaceScrew regularly messes with your interface by turning the arena upside down]].
* WallJump: One application of Flowmotion.
* WhamEpisode: About all of [[spoiler:The World That Never Was]]! Particular mention goes to the [[spoiler:scenes before Sora fights Xemnas, which delivers wham upon wham [[UpToEleven upon wham]], topping themselves the whole time]]!
* WhamLine: A conversation in [[spoiler:The World That Never Was]] changes (or [[TheUntwist confirms]]) everything we thought we knew about [[spoiler:Nobodies]].
-->'''[[spoiler:Xigbar/Braig]]:''' Aren't hearts great? Steer us wrong every time.\\
'''Sora:''' You know, don't you? [[spoiler:Because you ''all have hearts!'']]
** To say nothing of the revelation regarding [[spoiler:Xehanort's plan]], and [[spoiler:Xigbar's]] part in it.
-->'''Sora:''' [[spoiler:Make more Xehanorts]]? You tricked your friends to... But you - aren't you scared of just turning into someone else?\\
'''[[spoiler:Xigbar/Braig]]:''' Me? I'm already [[spoiler:half Xehanort]].
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: [[spoiler: Clone!Riku]] encontering in Monstro never appears again. May be a ChekhovsGunman for a sequel.
** It's both [[ContinuityNod a reference to the first]] ''Kingdom Hearts'' game (remember who abducted Pinocchio in the first game's own Monstro level?) and subtle {{Foreshadowing}} for Riku. [[spoiler:Namely, the fact that he's actually a Spirit in Sora's dreams and thus was in Sora's vision of that particular World]].
** [[spoiler: Vanitas]] appears once but is never alluded to again.
* AWizardDidIt: Don't worry about Sora and Jiminy walking along the ocean floor without asphyxiating or being crushed by the pressure. They're in a dream.
* WombLevel: Riku's story in Prankster's Paradise takes place inside the whale Monstro. As always, it's surprisingly colorful.
* WordSaladTitle: ''Dream Drop Distance'', though these kind of titles [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep aren't]] [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories uncommon]] in the series. Nomura has said it refers to something like the distance you drop into your dreams, and admits that the English isn't perfect; the words were chosen for how they sound, rather than English fidelity (a clearer phrasing would be something like "how deeply you fall into your dreams"). The title also refers to the game being set in a ''Dream'' world, the ''Drop'' gameplay system that facilitates switches between Sora and Riku, and the ''Distance'' separating the two protagonists' sides of the story.
* XanatosGambit: [[spoiler: Xehanort's plan to have Sora's heart collapse from the trauma of the hearts inside him and learning of the true nature of the human Nobodies. If Xehanort implants a piece of his heart in him, great, he completes the thirteen Seekers of Darkness group he's been working on. If he fails, oh well, Sora will be one of the seven Guardians of Light, which he needs anyway. Elements of this XanatosGambit has been in place since a year after VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep, with the first up front facet of it being put in place at the start of VideoGame/KingdomHearts.]]
** It would be a pure GambitRoulette if [[spoiler: he didn't have a StableTimeLoop on his side.]]
* XMeetsY: ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories Chain of Memories]]'' meets ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]'' meets Film/{{Inception}} meets... Franchise/{{Pokemon}}.
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