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Video Game / Kingdom Hearts χ

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"To discover the end, a journey must start at the beginning."

"When the time comes and there is war, you mustn't fight, but instead you must fly away to the world outside!"
Foreteller Ava

The eighth (excluding remakes) game in Disney and Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts series, Kingdom Hearts χ [chi]note  is a Web Game on PC browsers and Mobile Phone Game. It uses a graphic style similar to Final Fantasy Brigade and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Tetsuya Nomura has stated that despite its many ties to Kingdom Hearts III, it is not essential to understanding III, but it will "enrich" your experience of said game.

Kingdom Hearts χ [chi] takes place before the first Keyblade War, which in The 'Verse is roughly the equivalent to mankind's fall in the Garden of Eden. You are a young citizen of Daybreak Town. The Heartless have invaded, and just as you are about to be attacked, a mysterious Foreteller saves you. They provide you with a Keyblade, and tell you that they are one of five Foretellers, who have foreseen The End of the World as We Know It. They charge you to go through the worlds and collect Light to challenge the encroaching darkness. To assist, they leave behind Chirithy, an Exposition Fairy and mentor mascot that resembles a pudgy cat to assist you.


Can you Screw Destiny and prevent the franchise from ever happening? Or is it that You Can't Fight Fate?

Iterations of this game include:

  • Kingdom Hearts χ [chi]: The original browser version released only in Japan. Ended service in September 2016 following the release of Unchained χ [chi], concluding with a special browser-only ending called "Unchained 0".
  • Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ [chi]: The Updated Re-release of χ [chi]. While following most of the core concepts introduced in the original game, the vast majority of mechanics are overhauled and adapted for the mobile audience. This version also introduces an updated version of the original game's story. Released for iOS and Android devices in Japan in September 2015, while the game went overseas in April 2016.
  • Kingdom Hearts Union χ [cross]: A title update for Unchained χ [chi]. Introduces the story's "second season", as well as additional features such as Co-Op Multiplayer. Launched in Japan in March 2017, and overseas in April 2017.
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  • Kingdom Hearts Dark Road: A title update for Union χ released in 2020. This update added Kingdom Hearts: Dark Road, a standalone gamenote  available within Union χ that delves into the backstory of Master Xehanort and his Start of Darkness.

An hour-long short movie entitled Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover was released with the compilation Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue. Back Cover acts as a supplement to the story of χ, detailing the inner feud between the Foretellers from behind the scenes.

A novelization of the game was published and released on December 24, 2019 in English as Kingdom Hearts X: Your Keyblade, Your Story.

In February 25, 2021, it was announced that Union χ [cross] will become a Defunct Online Video Game with the final story arc released in April before fully shutting down on May 30, 2021. The cutscenes will be made available offline so that players of the Kingdom Hearts series can still experience the story. Dark Road will become unavailable; later (currently planned to be in September), it will return without microtransactions.

This game as a whole provides examples of:

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    A to D 
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Update 2.5.1 for the two year anniversary pushed the level cap to 500, with level 301 to 302 requiring well over half a billion Lux. By the time you reach level 450, close to forty billion Lux is needed to level up. And at some point, the cap was increased past level 500, but it takes so long to hit whatever the cap is that no one's ever managed to reach it. Seeing as most veterans had beaten the current game build around level 250, the update is clearly a Bragging Rights Reward, though levels 350, 400, 450 and 500 each provide a reward of 5000 jewels. Then, the September 2019 update pushed the max level to 850. At that time, there were very few players who were even close to level 500, much less level 850.
  • Actually Four Mooks: A lot of encounters actually involve several mooks, but only one is displayed on-field at a time. You can check how many mooks are in a fight by looking at a numbered icon below the enemy's name while out of combat.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Unchained χ [chi] promises to expand the story of the original browser game.
  • All or Nothing: Quests which have the "Must clear all together" restriction are like this. In order to earn the best rewards, you need to complete every objective the mission gives you, or else none of them will be awards. These quests mean you'll either get every reward or no reward.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Color options with the pet system introduced in 2017 have included blue, pink, red, green and gold.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Your character's accessories, clothing, and dominant Keyblade hand will switch depending on which direction they're facing.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Cards, each depicting a character in the series, power up your attacks. The Medals in Unchained χ [chi] similarly qualify.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: A sample of Kingdom Hearts III's "Classic Kingdom" Retraux minigames were added to the game as cross-promotion. Clearing specific objectives in the minigames entitled you to a code that unlocks the Starlight Keyblade from this game in Kingdom Hearts III when the game starts as opposed to in that game's last level.
  • Animal Motifs: The five Foretellers (and the Adventure Guild they sponsor) are Anguis (Snake), Leopardos (Leopard), Unicornis (Unicorn), Ursus (Bear) and Vulpes (Fox). These designs are on their specific Keyblades.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Back Cover follows the events of the game from the perspective of the Foretellers.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you choose to back out of a quest, any special attack gauges used up during that quest will be reset.
    • Any Medals you have equipped on a Keyblade or a subslot can't be sold for munny and/or Avatar Coins. However, every Medal also has an optional "lock" feature that can be toggled on and off; a locked Medal also can't be sold, even if it's not equipped. This is helpful if you're saving a Medal for some reason, but don't want to sell it by accident.
    • Every Medal has a "Remove All" button which removes the Medal from everything it's equipped to. The alternative of removing a Medal from every Keyblade and/or subslot one at a time would have been a headache, so this is very helpful.
    • In Union Cross multiplayer, if your HP hits 0, you can be revived by another player using up a Medal's turn to save you before a "recovery timer" runs out. But if you're still in recovery mode when the quest ends, you're automatically revived with one HP, and it still counts as having passed the quest.
    • Originally, Supernova attacks still had be triggered manually when using the game's auto-mode. An update was eventually made in early 2020 that allows the player to trigger Supernova attacks automatically in the same position that they're triggered when defending in a PVP match. Those positions may not always be the most advantageous if the player is determined to go for maximum damage, but are more than sufficient to speed through things.
  • Anti-Rage Quitting: In PVP mode, a player is given five tries per day to rank up. Competing in a PVP match — win, lose, or draw — earns a player daily, weekly, and monthly rewards if they do it enough times. There's also a points system which automatically gives rewards when a player hits a certain score; a win is worth 100 points, a draw is worth 50, and a loss is worth 10. However, quitting mid-match earns zero points, the match doesn't count towards the reward goals, and it still uses up one try. This encourages a player to stick around in a match, even if they're losing. However, in October 2020, almost all of the rewards based simpllly around participation were retired, meaning that there's now almost no reason no to quit if it's obvious it's a loss.
  • Area of Effect: Swiping instead of tapping performs a Spin Attack that hits all enemies currently in battle, but deals less damage per target than you would have done if you had simply struck an enemy. Many specials also have this ability, allowing you to beat down multiple targets simultaneously.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack:
    • Several Medals have abilities that lower the defense of the target before dealing damage, imitating this effect. Later on in the game, these medals are essential to allow you to deal adequate damage to Heartless as their defense goes up. Later on, Traits were added, allowing you to potentially add this trait onto any medal by merging it with another copy of itself, ignoring up to 60% of the target(s) defense. However, these traits only work on grounded or aerial enemies respectively, and multiple of the same traits do not stack.
    • Some Medals (like "KHIII Monster Sora") have the ability to break through the "Defense Boost MAX" skills in PVP, dealing their full damage at random. This makes them invaluable for climbing the PVP ladder. There are even a couple highly coveted medals, Dissidia Cloud and Dissidia Squall, that have powerful Supernova attacks which always break through the Defense Boost, guaranteeing maximum damage.
  • The Artifact:
    • Certain avatar parts carry benefits known as "Raid Boss perk" or "Raid Boss Ω perk." These are supposed to increase the chance that a Raid Boss or a more powerful Raid Boss Ω will appear after completing a quest. However, in 2019, at least for the Global version, the game was altered so that Raid Bosses no longer appear outside of Raid Boss events, which were made to always be available. As such, these particular perks no longer have any effect whatsoever.
    • Nova was created as a powerful special attack which can be activated once per quest, with a level that increases each time you max out the Special Attack Bonus (or "Guilt") on a medal. For ages, however, the amount of damage done by other medals, even outdated medals, is so high compared to it that the amount of damage it does against the typical enemy faced is for all intents and purposes Scratch Damage. Despite this, it continues to remain available, sitting above the button which is used to activate the truly powerful Supernova attacks. Furthermore, if the player has auto-Supernovas active, then the regular nova will activate before the final medal on the first turn, essentially just serving as a time-waster.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The art is really cutesy for a game about The End of the World as We Know It with the Keyblade War.
  • Ascended Meme: Hades refers to the main character as "key kid" in the March Hercules event, a nickname commonly used by fans.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Ephemer has become "unchained" according to Master Ava, and from where he is now, sends messages via dreams to the main character.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Ephemer asks Ava if she can tell him about the secret Book of Prophecies. That doesn't go very well for him.
  • Attack Reflector: Certain Medals grant the Player a barrier that will reflect a set percent of a certain element of attack's damage back to the enemy. A few Heartless naturally have these barriers as well.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: All Raid Bosses have parts with separate health bars attached to the main body. If the health bars of those parts are depleted, the boss will become Stunned, forcing it to skip its next turn. In addition, once a boss is Stunned at least once, that part will remain broken for a limited time, enabling further Stuns and allowing other players to begin wailing on it. This is pretty mandatory for killing a Raid Boss, especially the Omega versions, since a Raid Boss that gets its turn usually kills you instantly, unless you've really done a lot to buff your defense.
  • Batman Gambit: One interpretation of the Master of Master's actions is that he intentionally assigned roles to the Foretellers that would play off their personality flaws and cause them to begin the Keyblade War. For example, while talking with Aced, the Master coaxes out of him that he would like to be in charge instead of Ira, then gives him the job of taking over from Ira should he ever prove unworthy to lead. Predictably, Aced starts working against Ira, which is a major cause of the unity between Foretellers dissolving.
  • The Battle Didn't Count:
    • In Quest 375, the Target is an Invisible. In spite of you vanquishing it in the stage proper, it's still alive and well in the ensuing cutscene, and it kicks your ass.
    • The protagonist faces off against a few of the Foretellers throughout the main story campaign. After beating them in-game, the protagonist is exhausted while the Foreteller hasn't even broken a sweat.
  • Battle in the Rain: The Keyblade War takes place during a thunderstorm.
  • Barrier Change Boss: The event-exclusive Heartless Savage Vanguard changes which element of Medal attacks it reflects each turn.
  • Beach Episode: At one point, you and your friends go to the beach in the Daybreak Town world. After defeating the Heartless there, you get to relax and have fun under the sun.
  • Behind the Black: Used a lot to hide secret treasure chests or materials. Most levels have a few secret passages or other pathways hidden by something in the foreground.
  • Big Ball of Violence: When playing Union Cross multiplayer, any active battle you're not currently a part of will display as a large puff of smoke with slashes inside of it. However, you can still see the level and quantity of the enemies inside by walking close to it.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In the original. When threatened by a Darkside at the beginning of the game, your Union's Foreteller jumps in to defend you. This does not happen in Unchained, which simply dumps you into the tutorial right after the Dive into the Heart.
    • You meet Ephemer by jumping in to save him from an Invisible. He returns the favor in the sewers.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Similar to the infamous "Attack while its tail is up!", Hades' boss description states that he'll buff his defense after two turns, when he actually drops his defense after two turns.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Selphie and Yuna will probably be your most used Magic-type Medal as they're the most economical Medals as well.
    • Status Buff Medals will most likely be overlooked in early parts of the story mode in favor of powerful Medals that can easily one-turn kill a party of Heartless that's not a boss; but, these Medals will still be useful in the long run, especially when you will encounter Boss in Mook Clothing and Raids.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Invisibles, Morning Stars, and High Wizards are more powerful than the actual boss in quests where they're present.
  • Boss Warning Siren: Encounters with Target Enemies are helpfully prefaced with a red "WARNING!" screen and a blaring alarm.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • In addition to the typical free-to-play mechanic of "buy premium currency with real money for more gacha chances", there's also the Weekly Jewel Extravaganza deal. This package not only includes a 3000 Jewel set for a vastly discounted price, but it also includes admission to VIP Quests, which can only be unlocked by purchasing the package. Said VIP Quests include Quests that give you lots of Growth Medals, stat-boosting Medals, Skill Growth Quests that causes your Medals' Skills to grow at an accelerated pace, and quests to get rare or exclusive Medals. However, each of these Weekly Jewel Extravaganza deals costs real money to access.
    • Played with with Skip Tickets. They can be obtained in certain packages of Jewels, and allow you to instantly clear a Quest, gaining all of the associated prizes, Lux, and whatnot. However, Skip Tickets can only be used on Quests that you have already played and achieved 100% Completion on, and it still requires you to pay the AP required to partake in the Quest normally, so it only exists as a time saver.
    • Medal Deals in the shop have powerful medals, but each Medal has a horrendous drop rate (usually something like a 0.1% chance to be drawn). To alleviate this, some Medal Deals have a "get this within X draws" mechanic that guarantees the Medal will be drawn if a player tries enough times. You're going to be burning Jewels on these if you see something you want, and the best way to do so is by forking over some real life money. Eventually, the option was added for certain deals where in order to get the guaranteed "get this within X draws" option, you also have to have paid for VIP.
    • Some Medals are occasionally made available through Avatar boards. These not only give a powerful Medal, but also give several Trait Medals to boost its power, as well as Medals to increase its stats. However, a player has to spend a premium amount of Jewels to unlock these boards.
    • Patch 3.2 introduced Pet Training, which allows any Medal to gain an additional Trait for no cost. However, it can only be used once every real-world day. A player can earn more slots for training by buying Jewel Packs with real-world money, spend Jewels on a Medal Deal, or can skip the time restriction by spending Jewels. In the latter case, the Jewel cost goes up every time the option is taken until it hits 2000 Jewels.
      • The Moogle Shop added in September 2019 provides the ability to directly add a specific trait to a medal, but at the steep price of 5000 Jewels every time a player wants the ability. Sets of trait medals for specific medals are also made available for 1500 Jewels apiece, though you can't control which traits you'll get. If you purchase VIP, though, then you are given access to a selection of two or three specific traits available during a particular week that are only 1000 Jewels each.
  • Broad Strokes: The creators were initially vague when talking about how the game fits into the rest of the series canon, while also saying that there was a connection, meaning its status was more or less a broad strokes adaptation of the Kingdom Hearts setting. However, it was later stated to be just as integral a part of the series as the rest of the games, and started being written alongside Kingdom Hearts III.
  • Call-Forward: The Foretellers and Players are trying to reach into the future to gather Light to fight in their present. Thus they pull power from the Disney Stories that occur in the games.
    • Under Chirithy's cape is a Dream Eater Emblem.
    • Ava is not the only one who subscribes to the theory that sadness will lead a person to darkness.
    • Luxu, the sixth apprentice of the Master of Masters, along with the Master himself, wears the Black Cloak of Organization XIII and possesses Master Xehanort's Keyblade.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Gaston along with Belle's father, Maurice, appear in the Beauty and the Beast world despite not appearing in the main games.
    • Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians has an outfit based on her.
    • Medals based off of The Jungle Book were released to tie-in with The Jungle Book (2016). The Jungle Book was originally planned to appear in Birth By Sleep.
    • Zootopia received medals and outfits based off of Nick and Judy to tie-in with the release of these movies. Finnick and Flash were also available as accessory snugglies.
    • Terence from the Disney Fairies movies was available as a limited-time premium male outfit.
    • Likewise, Angel, who originated from Lilo & Stitch: The Series, was also available as a limited-time premium female outfit.
    • World of Final Fantasy medals and accessories were released to promote the game. One of these medals was of Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII in her World of Final Fantasy incarnation, and there were medals based off of Lann, Reynn, and Tama. There was also a limited-time outfit based on Magitek armor, along with accessories based on Lann, Reynn, Tama, and Serafie.
    • Disney Tsum Tsum medals and accessories were available as part of a cross-advertising campaign with the Disney Tsum Tsum mobile game.
    • Clarice, a love interest of Chip and Dale in the short "Two Chips and a Miss", was available as accessories for a limited time.
    • Accessory dolls based on Thumper, Miss Bunny, and Flower from Bambi were available for a short time.
    • An outfit based on Marie from The Aristocats was available for a short time. Marie, Toulouse, and Berlioz are also available as snugglies, but only in Japan.
    • An outfit based on Timothy Q. Mouse from Dumbo was also available for a short time. A balloon accessory of a pink elephant was also available, though only in Japan.
    • Carina Smyth from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was available as an outfit to tie-in with the movie's release.
    • Though in the games as their Disney versions, outfits based on Belle and the Beast in their Beauty and the Beast (2017) incarnations were available as a tie-in to the movie.
    • Medals based off of Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Scrooge in their DuckTales (2017) incarnations were released to tie-in with the show, also introducing Launchpad and Webby into Kingdom Hearts.
    • Tyro, Elarra, and Dr. Mog from Final Fantasy Record Keeper were available as event medals as a part of a cross-advertising campaign. The Warrior of Light from Final Fantasy and Terra/Tina Branford from Final Fantasy VI are available as medals in their Record Keeper incarnations. In addition, a FFRK Chocobo balloon accessory is available to VIP members, and a premium balloon accessory based on the FFRK Cactuar.
  • Cast From HP: Some attacks, such as Fiery Tornado, deal huge damage, but take a massive chunk of your HP in return. Poor timing of these Specials will usually get you killed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: How Maleficent came back to the events of Kingdom Hearts II. She used the same machine that Sora found in the End of the World in the first game.
  • Chest Monster: The Pretender Heartless are Heartless disguised as Chests, and will attack when interacted with. Unfortunately, there is no way to gain priority over enemies that attack first, so you simply have to eat the hit and hope you don't die.
  • Clock Punk: The tower in Daybreak Town is fond of this. It has massive gears turning in the background as the player fights through it.
  • Confetti Drop: If all of your battles in any round of the Coliseum end in one-turn triumphs, then colorful confetti rains down on the Coliseum and your player character and you get to skip past a whole bunch of rounds.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Using statuses on Raid Bosses is a moot point, since they can't be affected by it. Story bosses, on the other hand, aren't tied to this stipulation, which means you're free to throw Poison and Paralysis at them all you like to cut them down to size. (Unless that boss is Master Ava, of course.)
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The early Raid Bosses can become this with enough defeats, and especially all of the higher-tier Raid Bosses that sport a few million HP and beyond.
    • Some story bosses (especially Master Ava) can soak damage from even your strongest medal combos, turning fights into a war of attrition where you buff yourself, then it buffs itself, and so on...
  • Deal with the Devil: The player accepts an internship with Hades, in which he sends them on "pest control" to clean up Heartless in The Underworld while lecturing them about darkness. The deal is to "teach them to get stronger." However, the player's avatar only did that to find Cloud; as soon as Cloud is found in the Underworld, they immediately turn on Hades.
  • Death Is Cheap: During 0 AP events, there's basically no cost for redoing a stage or rejoining a boss fight, allowing the player to go in as many times as they like even if they're wiped each time. This is particularly helpful for lower-leveled players, who can grind levels extremely quickly by simply going into a level 200 event Raid Boss, doing as much damage as they can, dying, and repeating. For that matter, the game fully restores your AP every time you level up, so if leveling up is the goal then there's effectively no cost even when it isn't a 0 AP event.
  • Deconstruction: Of The Chosen Many. Keyblade wielders are expected to use their weapons to fight for the light and protect the worlds from darkness. However, despite their association with light, Keyblades are versatile tools to be directed by corruptible people. Paranoia of falling to darkness spreads among the ranks, resulting in distrust and competition over Lux to counter these supposedly dark wielders. Eventually inter-Union tension boils over into the Keyblade War, resulting in the near-annihilation of the only force keeping the darkness at bay.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The title contains both the Greek letter "χ" and its English transliteration "chi," presumably to prevent confusing it with the Latin letter "X."
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • At the end of Quest 136, the player finally finds Aladdin, who is hiding from the guards after being accused of stealing medals. If you run past the target enemy after defeating it, you can see Aladdin hiding behind a wall.
    • At the end of quest 651, the player character saves the Grand Duke from Heartless as he goes across the kingdom trying to find which maiden fits Cinderella's glass slipper. If the player's avatar is female, the Duke will ask them to try on the slipper.
  • Difficulty Levels: Proud Mode. Originally only for a set of event missions, it eventually became usable for all story missions. Proud-Plus mode is even harder, and makes the restrictions even tighter.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Jack Skellington medal. His special ability is comparable to Black Coat Mickey's (a powerful hit with no attributes), but is much more common than the former due to it being an event medal. Through said event, you can guilt the medal at relatively low levels; it's has tier 3 guilt, which has a 40-100 percent bonus. Fuse it with attack boost and Chip medals and you can one shot most story enemies!
    • In addition, in Unchained χ, you're able to add one active player's Medal from your Union to your roster for a single dungeon run, including the medals of those of a much higher level than you. Have fun obliterating early-game Raid Bosses with their special attacks.
    • Pulling a powerful Medal with your first 3000 Jewels spent, since all you've had is dinky 1, 2, and 3 star medals. If you pull a powerful 6-star, the early levels of the game may just roll over for you.
    • As of February 2018, it's really pretty easy to get a Disc-One Nuke, as deals with medals that allow you basically just breeze through story mode are everywhere.
  • Disney Villain Death: Just like in the movie, The Queen falls to her death when a bolt of lightning strikes the cliff she's on, destroying it.
  • Divided We Fall: The Foretellers believe that there is a traitor amongst them and tell the Player not to trust the others. It escalates into a full-blown battle between the Anguis and Ursus Foretellers, and eventually all Unions with the Keyblade War.
  • Doomed by Canon: Since this story happens before the Keyblade War, which pretty much wrecked the universe, the future of Daybreak Town and its inhabitants doesn't look good, especially as Kingdom Hearts III shows that Daybreak Town will eventually be submerged and become Scala Ad Caelum.
  • Down the Drain: How the player and Ephemer find out how to get into the tower.
  • Dream Spying/Dreaming of Times Gone By: The player, thanks to Chirithy.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The term "Guilt" was changed to "Special Attack Bonus" in the localized version of Unchained. This is significant because Guilt is actually used as a plot point once, where it's revealed that the Nightmare Chirithy was created from the Guilt gathered by the Power Bangle. The connection is lost in the localized version due to the name change.

    E to H 
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: While most ordinary mooks and even some Bosses in Mook Clothing can be brought down by just unloading the strongest possible medals onto them, stronger single enemies are much tougher, and usually require healing medals and careful preparation to defeat when first unlocked.
  • Elaborate Equals Effective: Keyblades in this game can be leveled up individually, and become more ornate as they grow stronger. A Keyblade's last evolution also makes it start glowing.
  • Elite Mook: Many Target Enemies are typically regular Heartless that are "upgraded" to boss standards, which means a percentage increase to their HP.
  • Empty Levels: Leveling up doesn't increase a player's stats by itself. It instead gives the player a lot of Avatar Coins to spend which could result in increased stats, as well as fully restoring AP.
  • Enemy Without: The Nightmare Chirithy says it was born from the darkness in your heart.
  • The End of the World as We Know It:
    • The Foretellers, of course, have seen it coming through the Book of Prophecies.
    • Ephemer and Skuld claim that it's actually imminent. It isn't clear just how severe they think it is, but considering the one major event known to take place between this game and the next chronological one...
    • The end of the world that they referred to is indeed the fabled Keyblade War. Ava has also seen it coming, and to that end has assembled her Keyblade wielders beyond Unions, whom she calls her Dandelions, to send off to another world to survive the Keyblade War and keep hope and light alive.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Subverted. Even though you agree to work for Hades, you aren't actually siding with him; you just want to know where Cloud went. Hades thinks you did this, though, and tries to sic you on Hercules. It doesn't work.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • At one point the player is forced to fight Foreteller Ava.
    • As the game goes on, the Unions begin to turn against each other, despite the friendships between Keyblade wielders between those unions. In the Keyblade War, you are the only one that is questioning why everyone is fighting the people they used to call friends over such a petty and senseless reason if there even is a reason at all.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: Beast, KHII Yuffie, Timeless River Mickey, and Illustrated ''KHII'' Kairi. They're also implicitly Armor Piercing Attacks, making them great against the Metal Slime Egg Heartless. Even better, when you unlock their Special Attack Bonus/Guilt, it multiplies your attack power.
    • Since they deal fixed damage, this makes them excellent for Proud Quests, since defence against them means nothing. A real devastating one is the aforementioned KHII Kairi, which, in addition to dealing 20,000 damage at max special attack bonus, restores 10 SP Attack gauges, raises all elemental strengths, lowers enemies' elemental defences and heals for a large amount. ''For 0 cost''.
  • Fling a Light into the Future:
    • To prevent the victory of darkness foretold in the Book of Prophecies, the Foretellers created the Unions and bestowed powers from the Book to their followers.
    • Master Ava, the Vulpes Foreteller, senses impending disaster (or the Master tells her to.) and starts gathering Keyblade wielders who don't feel strong allegiance to their Unions to prepare, Ephemer among them. She later unfurls the details of this to the player and Skuld—knowing that the end of the world is coming, she has gathered these Keyblade wielders, dubbed Dandelions, to send off to another world to survive the end that the impending Keyblade War will bring.
    • When the world of Daybreak Town is starting to fall to darkness upon the ark being used my Maleficent to return to the future, Luxu arrives to place an unkown object or figure wrapped in white cloth in another pod, calling it a seed of light to be sown in the future, referring it as the "true Dandelion".
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone who's played Birth by Sleep knows that the Keyblade War pretty much wrecked the universe. Since this game is set before the Keyblade War, the outcome of the game can't be a positive one. And as Kingdom Hearts III shows, Daybreak Town will eventually be submerged and become Scala Ad Caelum.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "Guilt" is not the same thing as "gild". Gilding something means you're embellishing it—as in, you're making it look all nice and spiffy (usually with gold), which is basically what you're doing to your medals. Guilt, on the other hand, is the fact or feeling that you have done something wrong. Could be chalked up to Gratuitous English. Nope. Nightmare Chirithy reveals he and the other dark monsters in the game were formed from everyone's sins caused because of their greed to collect Lux and guilt for their medals. Hence, everyone is guilty.
    • A translation of Nightmare Chirithy revealing the truth about medal guilting is that it was created from sin. What ultimately befell the Age of Fairy Tales was the quarreling about being greedy of Lux between the Foretellers, who have sin names as their name motif.
    • For viewers that pay attention to outfit events, Terra and Aqua are available as outfits, but not Ventus, yet Sora, Riku, and Kairi have all had outfits based on them released too. So why isn't Ventus available? Because he himself appears in the game.
  • Gainax Ending:
    • The browser game's ending makes it unclear the true fates of the Player, Ephemer, and Skuld, and does not resolve other lingering issues regarding the traitor, the Master of Masters, Luxu, and the lack of mention of the χ-blade and Kingdom Hearts.
    • The browser game's secret ending, labeled Unchained 0, has the player flash through several past events featuring Skuld and Ephemer that both happened and didn't happen before awakening in Enchanted Dominion, where Chirithy says you've been having strange dreams ever since you...accepted the offer to join the Dandelions. (Your memories have been rewritten.) Across the thorn-covered bridge, Maleficent gleefully comments to Diablo about how Sora and his friends won't be able to stop her here. Um, what?!
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In II, it is stated that the Underworld's darkness erodes at the powers of light, and you need an Olympus Medal to safeguard yourself from its effects. In this game, Chirithy brings up a similar point... but you still perform exactly the same in the Underworld as you did everywhere else in the game.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Fortress Crab Raid Boss. It's right there in the name, and all...
  • Gladiator Subquest: The Olympus Coliseum returns. In this game, it takes the form of a variety of Tiers in which you battle in various Rounds to progress. You can expedite the process by achieving only One Turn Triumphs in a Round, which allows you to unlock several Rounds ahead at once. Completing a later Round skips all of the Rounds before it, and you even earn rewards as if you had cleared them. The only stipulation is that Friend Medals aren't allowed.
  • Gendered Outfit: Sora's and Riku's outfits are some of the clothing options you can choose from. The female versions swap the shorts and pants for skirts and dresses.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Darkness reveals that the Arks are this; they exist as a last line of defense should the forces of light prove unable to defeat the forces of Darkness and allow them to escape, but once they're used, they activate a process that'll seal Daybreak Town away in darkness, and the protocol can't be reversed once activated. Unfortunately for the heroes, Darkness had already sent Maleficent through the Ark back to the future, turning their final resort into the means to end the world on their own terms. And with Maleficent having used one pod, and Luxu sending something through a second, only 5 pods are left, meaning that only five people will be able to escape...
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Upright Medals depict heroic characters in the series, and use the typical Law of Chromatic Superiority for their Medal frames. Reversed Medals, conversely, depict villainous characters and always use black and red frames. Occasionally, a character may appear in both Upright and Reversed Medals because of shifting nature throughout the series - for example, Riku and Roxas.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: It's still raining after the Keyblade War has ended, with the hearts of fallen warriors still floating away in the sky while the player character lies on the ground, unconscious.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
    • When you face down Hades, Hercules joins you to do battle. He'll punch Hades at the start of your turn, which does some damage.
    • The unnamed Jerk with a Heart of Gold Keyblade wielder helps you against the Huge Snowman in Beast's Castle when that kid who's been trying to befriend him takes the bullet for him. He'll attack the Heartless and sometimes buff your attack at the start of your turn.
    • Skuld joins you to take down the first swarm of Darklings, Heartless that used to be Keyblade wielders. At the start of your turn she'll either attack them or heal you.
    • Aladdin fights the Wily Bandit alongside you. Worryingly, his attacks deal multiple hits of damage, and the Wily Bandit unleashes an extremely powerful attack after taking a certain number of hits...
    • The leader of the group you meet while hunting down a Heartless that broke the plumbing of the Moogle store helps you in the boss battle at the end of the arc.
    • Ralph joins you in various battles such as the Sinister Sweets heartless and King Candy.
    • All the Dandelions except for Ven help out in the battle against Darkness.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Proud Mode can unlock various Keyblades and Electrum powerups for them. Sleeping Lion and Missing Ache are Speed Keyblades, Counterpoint and Diamond Dust are Magic Keyblades, and Fenrir and Darkgnaw are Power Keyblades (with the former of the two specializing in Upright medals, while the latter in Reversed medals).
  • Have a Gay Old Time: The trip to Castle of Dreams keeps the Fairy Godmother's line "Dance, be gay."
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: "Winning" a fight with a Foreteller, like in Sora's first fight against Leon, will have you collapse in exhaustion, even if you get all three fight achievements.
  • Hero Ball: As usual, Hercules holds onto it quite firmly. Hades was trying to get someone to go to the Underworld because he was banking on Hercules grabbing the Hero Ball and trying to rescue them without actually accounting for the Underworld's detrimental effects. Hercules being Hercules does exactly this when Hades whisks Cloud to the Underworld, allowing Hades to move in for the catch with almost no effort. However, Cloud's none too happy about being used, so he agrees to help the player free Hercules as an act of revenge.
  • Heroic Mime: Downplayed. Your character very rarely talks, though it's implied that they're talking. Most of their actions are represented by small movements in their sprite. However, your character does talk when introducing themselves to Ephemer, saying "I'm [name] from [Foreteller union]". In quest 555, your character gives an entire speech when facing a Foreteller, and has more dialogue after that in the same quest.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Upon finding out that a Bag of Coins Heartless was responsible for stealing medals, Aladdin calls it out and informs it stealing is against the law. Aladdin is a street rat who steals only what he can't afford (and that's everything).

    I to O 
  • Interface Spoiler: Unlike the animation of every other Kingdom Hearts game, Emblem Heartless do not release hearts upon their defeat. This hints that their nature is different.
  • It Only Works Once: Nova and Supernova attacks. The former is a large blast which hits all enemies onscreen, and the latter are moves from individual Medals that have a huge boost to their attack power (though exactly what the attack does depends on the Medal). In both cases, the attacks can only be used once per quest.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Starlight, Stroke of Midnight, and Fairy Stars. These Keyblades boost a different Medal type in each slot, whereas the rest specialize in either one or two attributes. Which Keyblade is actually the "best" depends on which one you can fill with the strongest Medals.
  • Kangaroo Court: Just like in the film, Alice gets put on trial. You help her by showing the bottle that allowed you and her through the door, ensuring that there are no white roses in the Queen's garden, and getting the Cheshire Cat to testify on Alice not bringing monsters to wonderland effectively proving her innocence, and the Queen STILL declares her guilty despite all the evidence otherwise.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: With the exception of the Union leaders, everyone, including the Player, has their memories of the Keyblade War and its buildup erased. As far as they know, life is going as usual, save for the Foretellers vanishing.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The opening cutscene of Back Cover is a montage of several cutscenes from χ spliced together, which spoils numerous significant plot events, including Nightmare Chirithy and the Keyblade War.
    • The reveal trailer for Union χ [cross] spoils a very important Wham Shot from Unchained's final chapter, which reveals Ventus as one of the new Union Leaders in the post-Keyblade War era.
  • Layered World: Ava states that there is another layer of reality in the browser game, the "Unchained World" where things are "similar but different." In the same speech in Unchained she states that there is an "outside world."
  • Level Scaling: The Raid Bosses increase in level every time you defeat them.
  • Loophole Abuse: All Proud Mode quests have restrictions on what kinds of Medals you can use. However, if you have an Imitation Medal that is permitted by the quest, you can use it to imitate the Special Attack of a Medal that is otherwise forbidden in the quest.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The worlds that the Players travel to are in the Foretellers' Books of Prophecy that they possess. Like the Journal became in coded, which Maleficent herself compared to said Books.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The Cards system. Battle is engaged by clicking on your Deck, which pulls three Cards from it and executes them accordingly. What this means is that you have no actual control over battles, you simply have to hit the Deck and hope good Cards show up. Of course, pumping your Deck with strong Cards increases the odds of getting good Cards.
    • Bonus objectives that require triggering Skills. Unless you have a Skill that has a 100% trigger rate, the general method winds up being "strike and pray", which is definitely not helped by the limited enemy count in Quests.
    • Many of the bosses require defense-boosting, buff-removing, and healing Medals to pass without continuing. Didn't draw those from the Shop? Better hope you're in a Party with someone that has one. Not in a Party? Tough luck.
    • Adding Traits works this way. You're guaranteed to get a buff to a Medal, but what the buff does is random. Some are far more useful than others, like giving the Medal an extra attack or lowering enemy defense. The only way to get better Traits is to find ways to keep rolling until you get what you want.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • A Wakka Medal starts out at one star with Blizzard Raid, which deals a measly one slightly powerful hit. New players tend to overlook this Medal in favor of Young Hercules and its more powerful (but Shop-exclusive) counterpart, Cloud. However, by the time it reaches 6-Star, it exceeds the power of both as it deals eight slightly powerful hits to all targets.
    • Another overlooked Medal is Stitch, who can deal a few weak hits to only one target 4-6 times. At 5 stars, it becomes somewhat usable with 7 hits, and by 6 stars, its fifteen hits can kill a lot of tough Magic-type enemies when chained with a few other special attacks.
  • Marathon Boss:
    • Higher-level Raid Bosses get this way. Most notable is the Fortress Crab, which in its first event appearance had a whopping three million HP and a timer of two hours even at level 1. It has even more in the weekend raid events.
    • Within the story, there's the Darkside encountered in the Corridor of Darkness. Its attacks are on par with or weaker than previous bosses, but it comes with a whopping 40 health bars, as well as the ability to buff its defense and heal itself. It's nowhere near as long as a Raid Boss with HP in the millions, but relative to the rest of the story mode, it's enormous.
  • Master of Illusion: Foreteller Ava can make herself look like a different Foreteller, or even create rooms that don't exist.
  • Meaningful Name: The Foretellers are named after the Seven Deadly Sins. Well... we're still not sure yet of how each of their names correlate to each other, but Nightmare Chirithy drops a bomb on you towards the end of Unchained; Lux is your sins.
  • Mentor Mascot: Chirithy, doubling as Exposition Fairy to each Player. There is also an opposing Chirithy.
  • Metal Slime: Eggs. Appearing mostly in the grinding-focused special missions, they have so much defense that you can only deal Scratch Damage, but their HP is in the single digits — or double digits, if they're both high-level and the quest boss. This when even Shadows in the very first quest have HP in the low thousands.
  • Min-Maxing: Avatar Coins can be gained from getting achievements in beating stages, selling Fused Medals, leveling up and events like the coliseum or monthly Union competitions. They unlock nodes on various outfits. These nodes can include medals, clothing parts and stat increases. (Keyblade cost, HP, and AP.) If one focuses on just the stat increases, you can get all of them long before filling out the outfits.
  • Mind Screw: "Unchained 0" from the original browser version, whereupon Maleficent is seen turning up in the Enchanted Dominion at the same time as the Protagonist, upon which she boasts that Sora can't catch her there. What's even more bizarre is the explanation given by the Japanese October 2018 update: Maleficent used Xehanort's version of Time Travel to send herself into the past following her defeat at the hands of Riku in Kingdom Hearts in an attempt to change her fate, except she wound up in a version of the Enchanted Dominion that was made of data. A character known only as "the darkness" explains to Maleficent that her plan to time travel upon having her heart separated from her body by Riku was predicted from the very start, and thus a data version of the Enchanted Dominion was created as a failsafe. "The darkness" then forces her to return to the original timeline, thus cuing her return in Kingdom Hearts II. This is also how she learns of the datascape from Kingdom Hearts coded, the Book of Prophecies, and the Black Box. "Confusing" doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Minigame Zone: "Classic Kingdom" was added to the game, allowing you to sample some of the Retraux minigames from Kingdom Hearts III. Participating in the mode and clearing objectives before III came out allowed you to earn a code to unlock the Starlight Keyblade early for Sora in III.
  • Mistaken for Thief: At one point, Aladdin is suspected of stealing four coins. He's innocent, but he falsely confesses because he is an actual thief.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The pet system introduced in late 2017 comes by default with cat options ("Kitstar") and dog options ("Pupstar") and various rewards have provided numerous other options, including rabbit options ("Bunstar"), pig options ("Pigstar") and reindeer options ("Reinstar") to name just a few. These can be freely mixed and matched with the arms, legs, ears, head and tail.
  • Money for Nothing:
    • Munny is required for fusions and leveling up Medals; stronger fusions require more munny. However, munny is trivially easy to acquire thanks to Vendor Trash selling for quite a bit, and missions giving out large amounts of munny are in abundance. After a few consistent days of playing the game, a player can easily have tens of millions of munny without Money Grinding, and munny requirements for fusions can be all but ignored.
    • Raid Coins, Cross Coins, and Arena Coins can all be spent in any given week to acquire stat-boosting Medals and other prizes. If a player buys everything in a week, the coins can't be converted to anything else, and don't carry over to the following week. This can potentially leave a player with plenty of coins that they can't spend on anything.
  • Mr. Exposition: In the original game, the player's Foreteller introduces them to Daybreak Town and saves them during a fight with Heartless, before letting the player roam free. This was cut in the international version, in which Chirithy appears from nowhere, asks, "Pretty scary, huh?" and proceeds to Info Dump the player on how the world works.
  • Mundane Utility: Subverted. When the White Rabbit is locked out of his house, you try using the Keyblade to open the front door. Unfortunately, the White Rabbit stops you from doing so because he thinks it will destroy his house. You are then tasked with actually finding his house key. This happens again when you try to enter Cinderella's house; Chirithy shows up and reminds you that you could just knock instead.
  • Musical Nod: Nightmare Chirithy uses Anti-Black Coat's theme for its boss fight, as they are both Nightmares.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Fiery Tornado special attack found on the Axel Medal is based on Axel's Suicide Attack in II.
    • The opening cutscene of the Moogle 'o Glory questline is a cheeky retread of Goofy and Donald's meeting with Sora in I, except they encounter a Moogle with a cardboard Keyblade as opposed to an actual Keyblade Wielder.
    • When the player finds Cloud at the edge of the Underworld, a single black feather is seen falling from the sky before being caught by Cloud, heralding the presence of Sephiroth.
  • Nerf:
    • In Japan, Judy Hopps was a buff Medal that raised attack by two tiers, while Nick Wilde was a buff medal with a low-cost AoE attack; however, in the NA version, Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde were both nerfed to only buff strength by one tier for three gauges. KHII Aerith, Vivi, and DiZ all have the same buffing power for less gauge cost.
    • Jack & Sally raises attack of all attributes and lowers all enemies' defense of all attributes by one tier each for two turns. When it was originally ported to the NA version, its duration was shortened to 1 turn and its gauge cost was increased from 2 tiers to 3; however, it was mistakenly announced as being identical to the Japanese version, and the resulting backlash resulted in its ability being reverted to the stronger Japanese version.
    • All of the World of Final Fantasy medals are hit with the nerf bat in the NA release, costing an additional gauge to use and lowering their maximum Special Attack Bonus by one tier. This is somewhat justified by the fact that the special attacks of these medals ignore attributes to hit everything for super-effective damage, but this was still otherwise uncalled for.
  • Never Say "Die": Expect substitutes like "fell/lost to darkness" or "fade into the light" to pop up periodically. Chirithy in particular used "lost to darkness" to describe Snow White's condition, and at that point in the story she is presumed dead by the seven dwarves and Prince Charming. To be fair, in the series mythology, someone falling to darkness (particularly a Princess of Heart is considered A Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Non-Elemental: Black Cloak Mickey and Jack Skellington's Seven Swords attack has no elemental weaknesses or strengths, making it ideal against multiple element enemies, or enemies with elemental resistance status buffs. The Shadow medal does the same for single targets.
  • Notice This:
    • Enemies that attack first are helpfully marked with a big "Warning!" over their names, so you aren't caught off guard when it gets the initiative.
    • Target Enemies have nameplates in red and a big "TARGET" display over them.
  • Not Quite Forever: When the Beginner's Deal (All-Target Attack Medals, Single-Target Attack Medals and Buffer & Utility Medals) and Daily Deal were announced for the Global version, the Notice announcing them stated "Starting today, in order to help our newer players get caught up and be ready to take on the Heartless in KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross], we're introducing three deals as permanent additions to the deal lineup!" On January 31/February 1, 2018, they were discontinued, with the promise of replacement banners in mid-February. Not that anyone really mourned their loss.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: Some enemies and material points can be found by immediately traveling in the opposite direction of your intended route.
  • Old Save Bonus:
    • The Japanese only browser version allows you to transfer over browser only outfits (no luck skills have been given to them yet...), and you can sell Cards for special coins that can be used to purchase items such as Skip II Tickets (clear any stage, but will not award bonus objectives) and Illustration Medals.
    • When Unchained updated to Union, all story, Medal, and character data was brought over, and free jewels and seven Sora and Roxas medals were given out.
    • You can earn extra points to buy Cards in Dark Road based on your Medal Album completion in Union χ.
  • One Steve Limit: Terra from this franchise and Terra/Tina Branford (who is referred to as just "Terra" in-game) from Final Fantasy VI are available as medals in this game.

    P to W 
  • Palette Swap: A lot of Heartless are recolored or redesigned from other Heartless that appeared in the series.
    • A notable example is the Morning Star, which, unlike the other recurring Heartless that are featured here, has a yellow color scheme, as opposed to the normal Green palette in Kingdom Hearts II or the Blue colors in that game's Final Mix.
    • Some of the Recolored Heartless have other differences besides color scheme, usually they are Raid Bosses for holiday events.
    • The Nightmare Chirithy is purple with red eyes.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • Quest 57 is frequently visited for its density of Heartless. Because of the said density, it can let you fight Raid Bosses quicker than running other levels as well as spending less AP to look for Heartless.
    • Quest 164 is less visited due to the higher level of mobs as well as their higher AP costs (Upper Quest Levels costs more AP). However, these sites are visited for the same density as well as the type of Raid Boss it can trigger when certain objectives are met.
      • The Omega Fortress Crab event, which has happened multiple times now. The crab itself has 3-10-99 (in Japan) million HP, regardless of its level, and can take time to chew through, and one is given two hours to try! However, the trick is that the crab's body parts can be damaged and killed separately, and will regenerate 3 minutes after they're killed. The body parts will give more Lux than the main body itself. And in a party, you can time it so each member gets the same body part reward; and chain multiple Raid Bosses so you don't have to even wait 3 minutes. Many have gotten to the max level Level Grinding this way alone.
    • Assuming one finds a good party in the "Cross Union" events in Union χ, it's possible to jump from single-digit levels to the upper 100s in just a few minutes of play, since the bosses of these events usually give out several hundred thousand Lux. Assuming a player is quick enough, they can run in and hit this enemy once, then wait for higher-level players to finish the boss off, and get the full rewards.
  • Play Every Day: You get rewards for each day you log in, typically in the form of the premium currency of jewels. So not so much play every day as "log in every day." Played more straight with the daily missions added in a late 2017 update, which grant 30 jewels each (a total of 300 if all completed) for fairly simply objectives such as gathering a certain amount of lux or defeating a couple of Raid Bosses. If you're in a party, there are also weekly challenges that grant 100 jewels each for a possible total of 1,000. Additionally, there are event challenges which tend to change from day-to-day that can grant various bonuses and perks.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Expect this frequently. A medal might be considered super strong at release, but it will almost inevitably be outclassed somewhere down the line by an even more powerful medal. As such, many of the strategies even suggested in other trope entries on pages here have become hopelessly out of date, in some cases mentioning medals that have long since been far outclassed by other medals that are not that difficult to obtain. One of the biggest example of this to date is the seven star medals, which allows even certain medals which had long become outdated to again have the chance to shine, as upgrading a medal to seven stars provides a massive boost to its power, and also gives your keyblade a buff when you insert in a "subslot." Another form of this was the introduction of allowing certain old medals to be evolved to Supernova, or Supernova+, which not only gave them massive bonuses in strength, but also provided them with a special Supernova attack which could be used once per quest.
  • Power Glows: When a Keyblade is leveled up to its final stage, it will get a glowing aura.
  • Prequel: Far before any of the other games.
  • Prolonged Prologue: You thought Kingdom Hearts II was bad? We get the opening Logo in stage 401. This is also when they start showing scenes from Back Cover. When the name of the game was changed to "Union χ", the opening Logo in stage 401 was retained, but the logo specifically designed for Union χ was displayed in stage 730.
  • Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage: Zigzagged.
    • When Disney releases some form of media (such as a new movie), players will generally be given a costume piece for free to reflect it that plays this straight. The free movie giveaway items almost never do anything but look cute, and the few that can do something provide minor stat bonuses at best.
    • Averted with giveaways related to Kingdom Hearts and the game itself. The release day of Kingdom Hearts III saw every player get twelve thousand Jewels for free, and a March 2019 giveaway to celebrate the anniversary of Union χ gave every player a number of Medal Draw Tickets equal to their current level.
  • Punny Name: Eggs that summon Raid Bosses within Union Cross and Raid events are called "Eggcognito", while those in Union Cross quests that drop extra rewards are called "Shenaneggan".
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: The game didn't start this way, but the update that gave certain accessories stat boosts radically increased the amount of Rummage Sale Rejects.
  • Rainbow Speak: Information in Notices often tends to presented in this - for example, medal, gem and Keyblade names will be presented in the color of their element (magic is blue, strength is red, speed is green), information they want you to pay particular attention to will be a dark orange, and references to boosted strength or defense will be presented in a bright yellow, which is also true on medals themselves with boosted stats. However, this is also true of medals that are upgraded to Supernova+, so when this was implemented, boosted Supernova and Supernova+ medals were given a decreased cost stat, also displayed in yellow. Additionally, at a later point it was made so that the strength stat of any boosted medal would be displayed in red on the scrollable medal list, making it easy to tell at a glance which are boosted. This is a huge headache saver, since you if fuse a boosted medal with one that isn't boosted, the boost will be lost.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In Back Cover, when Aced was fighting against Invi, Ava, and Gula; there's a shot of five flower petals splitting up.
  • Retcon: Union χ reveals that Maleficent apparently received Time Travel powers when an Ansem-possessed Riku stabbed her to turn her into a dragon in the the first game. Kingdom Hearts II also implied that Maleficent was accidentally revived after Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather accidentally revive her with their magic.
  • Rush Boss: Many, especially in high-level events. Enemies with levels into the thousands can one-shot you no matter how many defense boosts you pile on, so it's a matter of ramming down their entire HP bar in three turns max (thanks to Second Chance and HP Recovery). Encouraged even further with "Defeat the enemy in 1 turn" objectives.
    • Unchained does not include the opening Big Damn Heroes scene with your Foreteller or the introduction with Chirithy and the Cards system, skipping straight to the tutorial and saving the actual introductions for post-tutorial.
    • The Card system is retconned out for the Medals, which are similar in function, but are not explicitly mentioned to be a part of your Keyblade.
  • Same Plot Sequel: One of Union χ's big reveals is the fact that Unchained X is actually an example of this trope. Unchained X's plot is identical to the original X, but curiously ends before the actual Keyblade War that served as X's climax. In Union χ, the new Union leaders use their Dream Eaters to direct the dreams of the other, slumbering Keyblade wielders so they can relive the events of X without the trauma of the Keyblade War. The implication is that Unchained X is actually this sanitized dream.
  • Scenery Porn: Back Cover is stylized in the same way Kingdom Hearts III is, and Daybreak Town certainly didn't suffer in the transition between 2D and 3D.
  • Scratch Damage: An empty slot without a Medal in it will do little more than tickle the enemy when used to attack. Also, in Proud Mode, setting a medal in a slot that doesn't match its attribute will usually result in scratch damage, for example, placing a magic medal in a speed slot. This, however, is nullified if using one of the really powerful EX medals like Illustrated Kairi EX or Illustrated Xion EX, which boost your power by so many tiers and lower the defense of the enemies that it just breaks through.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: The early in-game chat was infamous for heavy-handed censoring, leading to players calling vital game materials "***els" and "Orichal***," asking how to activate their Medals "s***s," recommending "S***ch" to take down Metal Slimes, and wondering when a "***anese" event will be released overseas or what an unfamiliar icon "me***". Ironically, the filter was case-sensitive, so all this could be bypassed just by capitalizing a letter in the middle of a censored word. Thankfully, a lot of it eventually got fixed, though you still can't talk about "returning to the title screen" without the game thinking you're trying to use a naughty term for "breasts."
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • Ava catches the player snooping around the sewers, takes affront to the idea that she's hiding something, and challenges the player to combat. It only goes for a few turns before she calls off the fight. She only wanted to test your mettle in combat and the state of your heart.
    • Your Union's Foreteller finds you and Skuld inside of the Foretellers' study, claims that Ephemer's Union were the traitors, and that Ephemer himself was a spy, and thus the Foreteller banished Ephemer to another world. Unable to accept what your leader has told you, you give a speech choosing Ephemer over your Union, and take up your Keyblade against your leader. You fall easily against them, but then the room around you changes, and the Foreteller reveals themself to really be Ava, giving you one last test. (If your Union is Vulpes, she appears to you as Ira in the illusion.) Having passed, she offers you membership in the Dandelions, her group of Keyblade wielders beyond Unions, being sent to another world to avoid the destruction that the imminent Keyblade War will bring.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: In Back Cover, the Master of Masters entrusts Luxu with a Keyblade to pass on down a Master-Apprentice Chain (eventually ending in Xehanort getting it) that will allow the Master of Masters to see the events of the future, in turn letting him write the Book of Prophecies. As the Master explains to Luxu, the fact that the book exists means Luxu succeeds.
  • Serial Escalation: The utterly insane levels of power scaling later into the game's life cycle resulted in health and damage values that would put Disgaea to shame. Enemies toward the very end of the game's story have tens of millions of health bars, and to punch through them in a timely manner you're expected to deal several billion damage almost every hit!
  • Sleep Mask: After the pet system was introduced, a quest made this available as an accessory for your pet.
  • Snipe Hunt: The 2018 Summer Adventure event opens with the silver-haired red-bandana wearing wielder assigning the pink frog-headed wielder, the moogle-head wielder and your player character to find and defeat a Hermit Pretender heartless, which the moogle-head wielder says is "impossible to find." Given that you never do find one, it is apparently either especially rare or non-existent. Later your party discovers that keyblade wielders have been disappearing all around Daybreak Town and begins investigating this. After the silver-haired wielder finds out, she reveals that she assigned you a fake mission specifically to try to prevent you from stumbling onto this, because those who have been investigating it have been disappearing as well, and she didn't want this to happen to you. Possibly subverted though at the end of the event when she tells you that even though the mission was a diversion, it was nevertheless also still homework and you're not getting your ice cream until you complete it.
  • Sole Survivor: Only the Player survives the events of the Keyblade War. Worse, Ephemer erases their memory of it to relieve their pain.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • Ephemer starts noticing things about the scenario that don't quite make sense, and investigates them.
    • Brain is able to determine that Ventus can't be the traitor, because he has the fake memories of Ava. When Brain asks Ventus where Ava told him he was to be a Union leader, he names the wrong place.
  • Standard Status Effects: You can inflict statuses on enemies with Skills, and some enemies can also afflict you with them when they strike you.
    • Paralysis has a chance of forcing the enemy to skip their next turn. When affecting the player, Medals may be randomly skipped over without activation.
    • Poison does a percentage of the afflicted target's HP and damage at the start of the turn.
    • Sleep causes the afflicted enemy to skip their next turn, but wears off if the target is struck. If affecting the player, a random number of Medals at the start of your turn are skipped until you wake up.
  • Status-Buff Dispel: Very important for removing defense from Bosses that you are trying to beat within a round limit. The Alice and Belle medals have this, the Zero medal combines it with healing, and the Kairi and Xion medals also attack.
  • Storm of Blades: Black Cloak Mickey's Seven Sword Attack has the Pleiades Constellation turn into swords that come down. Taken even further with later King Mickey medals, especially the HD King Mickey EX Medal, which throws down a veritable shower of blades of light onto all foes.
  • Stood Up: After investigating the sewer to a certain point, Ephemer suggests coming back another time, so you don't raise too much suspicion being gone for too long at once. You agree to meet at the fountain at noon the next day, but Ephemer never shows up... as he returned to the sewer after you both left. You wait the whole day for him to show up.
  • Suddenly Voiced:
    • All of the Foretellers (and Luxu) have voice acting in Back Cover, while the game proper has no voice acting, Kairi's grandmother's stock audio narration from the opening notwithstanding. Except when Ephemer tells the player "We'll go together" in the ending of the browser game.
    • The player character will suddenly gain their voice during key scenes:
      • When they introduce themselves to Ephemer, they give the player's name.
      • After witnessing Aced and Invi battling across the rooftops, they say, "Let's go" to Skuld.
      • When asked by their Foreteller (Ava in disguise) if Ephemer was a friend: "Yes, he is." They then break into monologue, noting proudly that Ephemer was their friend and left a lasting impression on who they are, and that they simply can't forgive the Foreteller for taking him away. The player character then challenges their Foreteller to a duel.
    • While it remains that the game proper has no voice acting besides the opening cutscene, Ray Chase, reprising his role as the Master of Masters, unofficially dubbed over one of the cutscenes from the game's climax and posted it to his Twitter.
  • Super-Deformed: It's very subtle; the head size of the characters are only slightly larger than normal. This is most apparent with Chirithy, who, in Back Cover, is properly proportioned, revealing that its depiction in χ uses an inflated head size.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Power beats Speed, Speed beats Magic, Magic beats Power. As there was originally no direct Player Versus Player, this comes entirely in the form of damage bonuses against Heartless (or penalties, if you get the triangle backwards). When a direct Player vs. Player mode was added - well, it still didn't really make any difference because you don't have any way to see what medal attributes your opponent is using going in; the only information you're given is a numerical average of the player's strength and defense totals, which is only mildly useful at best. And then the game started adding medals which can reflect particular attributes or change medal attributes, which made a huge difference in Player vs. Player.
  • Temporal Paradox: Of the information ontological paradox variety. According to Kairi's grandmother, the children who survived the War created the worlds. Where did they get the idea of what the worlds were like? From the Foretellers' prophecy books.
    • In Back Cover this is why the Master forbade Luxu to hold a Book of Prophecies, as it is a log of his future as well and he was afraid of changing the future he has already set in motion.
  • There Are No Adults: Except for the Foretellers and their Master. No parents have been mentioned.
  • Time Travel: In a manner of speaking. The Players aren't really travelling to the future; they are gathering Light in simulated worlds that exist in each Book of Prophecy that each Foreteller has.
    • This doesn't explain Mickey, Donald, and Goofy appearing in the Gummi Ship. (Special event in the original, but a chapter for everybody in Unchained.)
    • The browser game's secret ending has Maleficent, hiding out in Enchanted Dominion, where the player has just woken up, comment about being somewhere Sora can't reach her. Then it was later revealed why Maleficent is present in the game. After gaining the ability to use it after a possessed Riku stabbed her in the first game, she ends up time traveling to a data version of the Enchanted Dominion because that was the only version of her available to time travel to at that point of time. The reason why she ended up in a data world is that the Master of Masters knew that someone like her would try their hand at time travel, and prevented any other versions of Maleficent from existing at the time Union χ takes place.
  • Title Drop: In Unchained χ, after completing quest 425. Ephemer is revealed to be "in an unchained state". The meaning of this is unclear, but it seems to mark the point where the Unchained χ plot diverges from browser χ.
    • In the flashback 5 years before the events of the game, the Master of Masters dropped all 3 titles of the game while talking to Luxu.
      "They'll start at χ, become unchained, and fulfill their duty through Union Cross."
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • The No Cost skill medals. While they may seem easy to use (stick it on a medal with a powerful or costly special attack to reduce that cost to zero bars), what to use it on is the problem. Adding to it, you get them by buying event Avatar Boards with Jewels, and you only get one of them. They'll likely be sitting there in your inventory gathering dust for a long time.
    • In the title update to Union χ, they've added SP gauge 0 and 1 medals, as well as ATK boost 3-4 and gauge 1-2. They're even more ludicrously hard to figure out what to use, since your strongest may have a low cost to begin with, and like No Cost, they're only available through Premium Boards. Unlike No Cost, they have a 100% activation rate (No Cost had 49% at max level), meaning you're going to be hoarding at least one for the right medal. Add in the traits, and good luck.
    • Jewels. Assuming you don't want to fork over the cash for more of them, Jewels are used to access some of the best Avatar Boards, recharge a Keyblade's special attack meter, buy packages of the best Medals, and generally make your life much easier. It's not uncommon to not spend any Jewels for a while, just in case something comes up that you'll really like. "Save for the anniversary" was also a common phrase during the game's run, as awesome content tended to be released during the game's Japanese and global anniversaries.
    • The Cid-10 boost medals were once this. You can only use two Cid-10s on any Medal, but using them reduces the equip cost of a Medal by ten points each, for a maximum of twenty points reduced. In early stages, this can be a real Game-Breaker, as it lets you equip a powerful Medal and potentially breeze through several hundred story stages with ease. However, they're very hard to come by in normal gameplay, and special events that let a player earn them were once rather uncommon. The itch to not use them just in case you get something better from a random Medal draw was once a powerful one indeed. At least originally. A daily Cid quest has been available for a while, and Cid-10 medals don't really provide any effect other than Cid-5 or normal Cid medals, other than that it takes less of them to reduce the cost, and the lesser medals have become extremely common. Furthermore, it at some point became possible to evolve the lesser ones into Cid-10 ones. Additionally, cost maximum on keyblades has been greatly increased. As such, these are no longer nearly as necessary as they once were, and most players at this point have a large stock of Cid medals just sitting around. invoked
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The reveal trailer for Unchained χ [chi] spoils the twist that Chirithy is a Dream Eater.
    • The Back Cover trailer for Kingdom Hearts 2.8 gives quite a bit of future information as well.
  • The Un-Reveal: It's never revealed in Back Cover who the traitor in the Foretellers was, or if there ever was one in the first place. We're also not shown how the Keyblade War was started or how the χ-blade factored into it.
  • Unwinnable by Design: On March 4, 2021, Square-Enix posted a notice admitting that the difficulty on Proud quests 966-970 was too high for them to be beaten and that they would be patched with an update on March 25 to adjust the difficulty. Reportedly, some players had actually beaten them, but only those with the most absurdly powerful setups that nobody but those who regullarly purchased jewels / VIP would have.
  • Updated Re-release: Unchained χ [chi] for χ [chi], although much like Kingdom Hearts coded, it's less of a "rerelease" than it is an actual remake. While Unchained retains the original's story (save for a few Retcons) and graphics, the actual core mechanics are completely overhauled and revised, to the point where the two games play entirely different. For example, the Card system is excised completely for the Medals system, which serve similar roles but perform in different ways. The actual handling of combat is also redone, as well as the Action Points system, the consolidation of Lux and EXP, and the removal of BP.
    • Union χ [cross] fits into this better, due to just adding the (long requested) multiplayer quests.
  • Vendor Trash: Moogle Medals sell for lots of munny, and basically serve no other purpose. While they can be used for EXP boosts to other Medals, Moogle Medals give some of the worst EXP in the entire game; they're better off sold for munny.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: Ephemer, Skuld, and Chirithy induced amnesia of the Keyblade War for the Main Character because they feel it was too traumatic for them.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The first "boss" in the storyline, Wretched Witch, doesn't show up until mission 300, but its strong attacks, poison damage, and healing ability quickly prove it worthy of the title. While much of the storyline up to this point can be beaten by just pounding away with the strongest available medals, Wretched Witch will likely require some more strategy, and the use of abilities and skills to defend and heal rather than just attacking. And even if one manages to force their way past Wretched Witch, fourteen missions later comes Cerberus, whose high HP and absurdly powerful first attack ensure that nobody will pass without at least a basic grasp on defense.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Strelitzia gets killed one update after her introduction.
  • Wild Goose Chase: In Back Cover, the Master of Masters gives the Foretellers a quest to find a traitor amongst them, giving Gula an original page for the book that tells of a traitor amongst them. In reality there was no real traitor (or if there was, their identity was never revealed to the audience), but the suspicion starts a chain of events that leaves the five Foretellers to fight amongst themselves. Meanwhile, the Master gave his Keyblade to his sixth apprentice Luxu and ordered him to observe the forthcoming events and pass on the Keyblade to future generations. As it turns out, this particular Keyblade, the same one that Xehanort would later wield in Birth by Sleep, bears the Master's Gazing Eye, and the Master can also see the future through the Gazing Eye and has used it to write the Book of Prophecies up until the supposed end.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The final chapter of Unchained χ [chi] leading into Union χ [cross]. An expanded version of the chapter "Case of Ava" from Back Cover reveals that The Master of Masters wanted Ava to sustain the Unions even after the Keyblade War, and asks that she adds five particular Wielders to the Dandelions so that they may become the new Union Leaders, and one of them will inherit the Book of Prophecies. Ephemer and Skuld arrive at the Keyblade Graveyard early, and are joined by a third, revealed to be Ventus.
    • The first story update post-III. Elrena and Lauriam discover that Strelitzia has been harmed to an unknown extent. Meanwhile, the update ends with Skuld and Ventus asking Brain why he's so curious, to which he reveals that his goal is to fight destiny because there's nothing but "ruin" ahead for them in their current destiny and he refers to himself as a "virus that will rewrite this program that is destiny" — Luxu having also called the Dandelion leaders' traitor a "virus" in the III Secret Reports.
    • Similarly, the first story update post-Re:Mind reveals that Ventus wasn't supposed to be a Union Leader, and that he's the one (unknowingly) taking Strelitzia's place. And just after Maleficent finds the machine Sora found in the End of the World in the original game.
    • Close to the end of the game, the Master of Master reveals some startling revelations about his true motives to Darkness: the Book of Prophecies isn't actually all-knowing as was claimed throughout the rest of the story; the span of its knowledge only goes as far as Luxu himself and what he actually bothers to inscribe in the Book. Also, a vast majority of the events throughout the plot, most importantly granting Luxu the No Name with his own eye embedded in it, was part of a massive gambit to enable the ability to Time Travel.
  • Wham Line:
    • In-universe, the last page of the Book of Prophecies states that "On that land shall darkness prevail and the light expire."
    • Ephemer reveals to the player that the worlds they've been traveling to are only illusions, and thus that the Lux being collected is actually from Daybreak Town.
    • The Nightmare Chirithy reveals that Keyblade Users are literally becoming Heartless.
    • Skuld reveals that Ephemer told her that the world is going to end.
    • Nightmare Chirithy "Why do you think you call it "guilt?", because the truth is, you've been collecting sins.
    • Nightmare Chirithy "''You'' are MY Player."
    • Maleficent says that Sora and his friends won't be able to interfere with her plans this time.
    • The Secret Reports in III reveal that Luxu knows the identity of the traitor within the Dandelion leaders, referring to him or her as a "virus" that is ruining the Master's plans. The first story update post-III release have Brain reveal that he wishes to Screw Destiny and says that "[he's] going to become the virus that rewrites the program that is this destiny."
  • Wham Shot:
    • Chirithy's cape lifting up to reveal the Dream Eater Emblem.
    • The Ursus and Anguis Foretellers openly fighting in Daybreak Town.
    • The player lying in the Keyblade Graveyard in a Call-Forward.
    • Luxu summoning Xehanort's Keyblade.
    • After arriving in the new world, we are introduced to the five new Union Leaders. The first two are Ephemer and Skulld, as expected. Then the third arrives and talks to the two from offscreen. Then the view pans over, showing the third newcomer to be none other than Ventus.
    • Strelitzia getting killed by an unknown assailant, meanwhile there is another leader within the Dandelions is a keyblade user by the name of Lauriam, also known to most in his Nobody form as Marluxia. One of the leaders could be fake.
    • Lauriam approaching a girl named Elrena, the original self of Larxene, to ask her about Strelitzia...who he reveals is his younger sister.
    • The Player and Ephemer traveling to a new world to find the problem with Daybreak Town. After traveling through a tunnel and being attacked, they end up in Game Central Station, from Wreck-It Ralph.
    • Maleficent using the machine from The End of the World in Kingdom Hearts to travel back to her own time.
    • Darkness reveals itself to the Dandelion leaders, and Brain's Keyblade turns out to be the Master's Defender.

Dark Road provides examples of:

    Dark Road

"Your world can change in an instant. Sometimes all it takes is a single step."
  • Actionized Sequel: Compared to Union χ, which uses turn-based combat, Dark Road is significantly more frenetic, with battles taking place in real-time and featuring high-speed battle against enemies on a Combatant Cooldown System.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Tweedledum and Tweedledee tell Xehanort, Eraqus and one of their classmates the story of "The Walrus and the Carpenter", trying to warn them of the dangers of curiosity. Considering Xehanort's motivations and all the danger he'll bring about, that lesson didn't take.
  • Call-Back:
    • At the start of the game, Xehanort is seen having dreams of the Player Character's adventures from χ.
    • The game's battle system is highly reminiscent of the original χ browser game, where the player draws random cards from a deck and uses cards in sets of three to perform attacks.
  • Doomed by Canon: Xehanort and Eraqus' classmates are neither seen nor mentioned by the time of Birth by Sleep. Sure enough Episode 01 ends with Xehanort and Eraqus standing in a cemetery four years after the start of the game, with the implication being the graves Xehanort placed flowers next to are theirs.
  • Endless Game: World Battle, the main mode outside of Main Quests, involves fighting a constant stream of Heartless one by one until Xehanort falls or the game resets for the evening, is updated, or you choose to stop it. The more Heartless you beat, the more BP you earn to level up Xehanort.
  • Foregone Conclusion: No matter what happens in the game, it's going to lead Xehanort down the path to starting a second Keyblade War, killing Eraqus, dragging innocent lives into his mess and inadvertently playing into the Master of Master’s hands.
  • The Ghost: Baldr, one of Master Odin's underclass students, isn't seen until the end of Episode 03. It’s explained that he's excused for the time being due to one of the missing upperclassmen being his sister.
  • Healer Signs On Early: One of the Beginner Missions rewards you with Queen Minnie, a Light Blue card that allows Xehanort to use Cure. Given that you're unlikely to have any means of healing at this point, it's very much appreciated.
  • Old Save Bonus: While playing Union X isn't necessary to play Dark Road, the game strongly incentivizes it, as Jewel pools are shared across both games, meaning having existing Union X data will likely give you more breathing room to pull for cards from the gacha.
  • Required Party Member: Eraqus is always in the party, whether you like it or not. You get the third choice, however, so there's some level of customization.
  • Rewarding Inactivity: In addition to earning BP from playing the game, you can earn BP from not playing the game. You can later collect the BP earned from idling and add it to your grand total.
  • Start of Darkness: Specifically Xehanort's
  • Time Skip: Each Episode so far ends with a cutscene that takes place four years after you first find the level in which it takes place.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Quest 20 pits you against a Flame Core. This enemy has vastly more HP than anything you've likely encountered thus far, hits like a truck, and spams debuffs out the wazoo.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Episode 01 ends with a flash-forward 4 years from the start of the game with Xehanort paying his respects at four gravesites. It's all but said that they're for Bragi, Vor, Urd and Hermod. Also, he now has Young Xehanort's hairstyle, indicating that he will meet the Master of Masters pretty soon.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Kingdom Hearts Chi


The Master of Masters

The Master of Masters tends to toy with his comparatively serious apprentices.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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