Add new comment | Casual Game Revolution

Add new comment

Kingdom Hearts Perilous Pursuit

Roll dice, save the world, and defeat the heartless. You will have to work together, helping each other to perform actions and sharing item cards, if you wish to achieve victory.

Published by The Op, Kingdom Hearts Perilous Pursuit is a cooperative dice game. It can be challenging, and games are often very close by the end.

Gameplay

Each player selects a character and draws an item card to start the game with. On your turn, you will roll six dice: five blue and one black. You may set aside any dice and reroll the remaining ones up to two more times. You may even choose to reroll dice you initially set aside. If you roll a heartless symbol on the black die, you may not set aside any dice from that roll.

After rolling, you resolve your dice. There are five actions in the game, each corresponding to a different die result. The blue dice can also roll a wild symbol, which can serve as any action symbol on your turn. Each action requires you, on a single turn, to roll a set number of that action symbol in order to ready it on your player board. When you ready an action, you place a special tile on your board to mark it. Different heroes will require different numbers of a symbol for the different actions. For example, Sora only needs one attack symbol in order to ready it, while Goofy needs three. Once an action is ready, you will need to roll that same symbol one more time in order to set it. You can do this on the same turn or on a future turn. Once an action is set, you can now use a die showing that action’s symbol to activate it and perform the action.

You may only activate the same action once on your board, on your turn. However, if another player also has that action set, you can assign a die with that action symbol to his board in order for him to perform it, but you both must have that action ready and set.

One action is collect, which allows you to draw one item card. These can be symbols which you can spend during any player's turn to act as an additional die showing the symbol on the card, and action cards which give special abilities and can also be played on any player;s turn (these can include an extra reroll, allowing a player to perform an action twice, etc.). Other actions are distract, which will lower the number of dice rolled during the world phase by one; protect, which gives you one shield; and attack. Each player also has a unique special ability, which will often be more powerful attacks or allow you to both attack and perform another action such as heal or draw a card.

After a player’s turn, the world phase occurs. At the start of the game, six world cards are randomly selected. You will face them in increasing difficulty level. Each world has a track, with the tracker token starting at a set point along it. Each time you perform the attack action, the token moves one space towards the 'world saved' end of the track. On the world’s turn, it will roll a set number of dice. Depending on the symbols shown and the specific world, the active player might lose health (you can discard one shield to prevent one damage), the token might move back a number of spaces on the track, or you might lose items. Each world has a special attack that occurs if you roll the heartless symbol. These tend to be particularly powerful.

If the tracker token reaches the 'world saved' end of the track, you get a bonus (what that bonus is varies from world to world). Each player then rolls the black dice. If you roll an action symbol, you must lose the ready and set tokens for that action (if you have them). You will have to ready and re-set that action in order to be able to activate it again. If you roll the heartless symbol, you lose any set tokens you have and then reroll and lose the ready token for the symbol you rolled.

If the tracker token reaches the 'world is overrun' end of the track, the world is discarded and you randomly select another world and place it at the bottom of the world stack. Then each player loses all set tokens from their player boards, and must roll a blue and black die, losing the ready tokens for the symbols they roll (if you roll the heartless symbol you lose the ready tokens for the first three actions listed on your board).

Players win if they save six worlds. Players lose if any player loses all ten of their health points or if two worlds are overrun.

Kingdom Hearts Perilous Pursuit Components

Review

Kingdom Hearts Perilous Pursuit’s gameplay is fast, challenging, and enjoyable. Games tend to be tense, and there’s a constant tug of war between the players and the worlds as the marker goes back and forth repeatedly across the track.

The characters are well balanced. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses, and each one specializes in different actions based on how many dice results each character needs to prepare each action. The special abilities also serve to make your character feel more unique.

Being able to assign dice to another player’s board is a nice way to bring a little direct player interaction into the game, and also gives you a reason to go after the more difficult-to-prepare skills. All the actions are valuable, depending on circumstances, so sometimes you want to spend a lot of dice readying a difficult action simply so you and another player can both perform it together on a future turn. Also, the more actions you have ready to be activated, the less it hurts you when you have to lose one before moving onto the next world.

Kingdom Hearts Perilous Pursuit is the type of game where trying to find the right balance and figure out the correct strategy is key. Different worlds also hit harder in different areas — some might take your health down more while others might set the world track back more often. This requires you to adapt and focus more or less on different actions as the game progresses.

There are times the rulebook could be more detailed. For example, it states clearly what happens if you roll a wild when assigning your dice, but not if you roll one during the world’s turn or after completing a world. Do you roll again? Do you get to pick the result? Does it count as no effect? This feels like a situation that’s pretty clear to pop up and really should have been noticed and clarified in the rules.

The theme also leans far more heavily into Kingdom Hearts itself and not so much the Disney side of things. For example, while many of the worlds will have names based on Disney films, the image used for them will be an enemy from the game that you won’t recognize if you haven’t played it. However, despite not having played the video game, the gameplay was sufficient to suck us in and engage us.

Kingdom Hearts Perilous Pursuit does have a lot of luck of the roll but there are lots of ways to mitigate it, from the distract ability to the item cards you draw, making it a game about balancing luck, focusing on building up your characters, and trying to save the world quickly while preventing the world track from falling too far behind. The components are well made and the dice are enjoyable to roll. The item cards look a little bland, but it’s immensely satisfying slotting the tiles into each action as you ready and then set them. If you enjoy dice and cooperative games, Kingdom Hearts Perilous Pursuit is suspenseful, fun, and easy to learn. Even if you’re not a Kingdom Hearts fan, the game can win you over.

Pros: Challenging, interesting choices, each character has their own different strengths, several ways to mitigate luck of the roll

Cons: Theme could have been a bit more universal if the Disney side had been more represented, rulebook is vague on some scenarios

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.