The Best Order to Play Kingdom Hearts Series

Kingdom Hearts was first released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2, and since then, the franchise has released a total of 10 games in the last 11 years, including many spin-offs, remakes, and side stories. It is a unique collaboration between Square Enix and Disney Interactive.

Kingdom Hearts is a unique mixture of Disney characters and Final Fantasy characters. Running around with Donald Duck and Goofy makes the kids happy, but the adults are hit with some nostalgia when they encounter their favorite characters from their childhood. Today, seeing Square Enix characters such as Aerith and Cloud in the same game as Goofy and Winnie the Pooh does not feel weird is proof of how successful the franchise really is.

There have been many Kingdom Hearts games that have been released, but if you want to know to follow the story from the start to the end, then it’s actually not so simple as you may think like, “Start with the first game, then play the second game and so on.” So, if you want to play the Kingdom Hearts story-wise, then don’t worry, we got you covered!

Here is the best order to play Kingdom of Hearts

Name of the Game Platform Release Date
Kingdom HeartsPlayStation 2
Later released on:
PlayStation 3 (Kingdom Hearts I.5), PlayStation 4 (Kingdom Hearts I.5 + II.5)
March 28, 2002
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of MemoriesGame Boy Advance
Later released on:
PlayStation 2 (Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories), PlayStation 3 (Kingdom Hearts I.5), PlayStation 4 (Kingdom Hearts I.5 + II.5)
November 11, 2004
Kingdom Hearts IIPlayStation 2
Later released on:
PlayStation 3 (Kingdom Hearts II.5), PlayStation 4 (Kingdom Hearts II.5)
December 22, 2005
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 DaysNintendo DS
Later released on:
PlayStation 3 (Kingdom Hearts I.5), PlayStation 4 (Kingdom Hearts I.5 + II.5)
May 30, 2009
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by SleepPlayStation Portable
Later released on:
PlayStation 3 (Kingdom Hearts II.5), PlayStation 4 (Kingdom Hearts I.5 + II.5)
September 10, 2010
Kingdom Hearts Re: CodedNintendo DS
later released on: PlayStation 3 (Kingdom Hearts II.5), PlayStation 4 (Kingdom Hearts I.5 + II.5)
October 7, 2010
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop DistanceNintendo 3DS
Later released on: PlayStation 4 (Kingdom Hearts II.8)
March 29, 2012
Kingdom Hearts XInitially released via a Web browser, later released on: Android and iOS (September 3, 2015)July 18, 2013
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep: A Fragmentary PassagePlayStation 4 (Kingdom Hearts II.8)January 12, 2017
Kingdom Hearts IIIPlayStation 4, Xbox OneJanuary 25, 2019
Kingdom Hearts III Re: MindPlayStation 4, Xbox OneJanuary 23, 2020

Kingdom Hearts

(Image credit: Amazon)

Released on March 28, 2002, for PlayStation 2, Kingdom Hearts is the first game released. It was my first time being a game director for Tetsuya Nomura.

This Kingdom Hearts game established the game’s plot that involves hearts and dark beings known as the heartless and introduced the main characters.

This game also established the role of the Disney characters in the Kingdom Hearts game series with character cameos from the Final Fantasy game series.

While playing Kingdom Hearts, you will be running into some of Disney’s famous characters as well as; you will be meeting some Final Fantasy characters.

Disney fans will be in for a treat. Square Enix fans should rest assured that Kingdom Hearts has all the characteristics of a Square Enix game, including the secret items, character building, minigames, and impressive boss battles.

The game isn’t a role-playing game like Final Fantasy X, but still, it does many role-playing elements. The characters will gain levels, special abilities, and spells as they proceed in the quest, and you can go out of your way to find special items or go back to town to shop for better equipment.

You will be fighting the Heartless in virtually every scene of the game; once you defeat a pack, another pack will usually materialize at that moment and right there. The game also features some good platform-jumping sequences and some puzzles to solve. Kingdom Hearts is a linear game, but sometimes you will get to choose where to go first.

The game was later released in North America on September 17, 2002, which featured additional content, not in the original Japanese version.

Kingdom Hearts was then re-released exclusively in Japan on December 26, 2002, as Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. The Kingdom Hearts Final Mix featured the content from the North American release and additional cut scenes, enemies, and weapons.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories was released on the Game Boy Advance in Japan on November 11, 2004. The game is a direct sequel to the first Kingdom Hearts game.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories was proclaimed as the bridge between Kingdom Hearts I and Kingdom Hearts II, giving the players an introduction and a preview of the plot elements explored in the next game.

In the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, as Sora, you will be exploring the Castle Oblivion, in which each floor takes on the properties of the places you have explored in Kingdom Hearts.

In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, no one remembers Sora, but they know his name and other important bits. The game will consistently remind you that the most important memories are stored in your heart and not your head.

As you travel through the Disney environments from Agrabah to Halloween Town, it will create a kind of a deja vu sense for you. Even though there is some additional content in this game, much content is just like it was in the first Kingdom Hearts game.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is unique card-based combat and exploration. To advance through the various doors that a player comes across, the player must spend room cards when entering a new area for the first time.

Players will earn these cards by successfully defeating foes. The rooms have a variety of features; some rooms may push you into darkness, forcing you to identify the Heartless by their gleaming eye, while in other cases, you can spend a card to create a room with a save point in it or a room with a treasure in it.

In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, battles in the room may end in a spin of the roulette wheel, which could either clean up your existing cards or give you new cards. To gain access to rooms in which the story unfolds, you will need to use special cards.

The game was remade for the PlayStation 2 as Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and was released in Japan on March 29, 2007, as a second disc that comes with Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and was released on December 2, 2008, as a standalone in North America.

Kingdom Hearts II

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts II was released on the PlayStation 2 in Japan on December 22, 2005. The game takes place one year after the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Kingdom Hearts II further explores the “Heart” concept by involving a new group of enemies, the cast-off shells of the Heartless, the Nobodies.

You take the role of Sora, a young boy who happens to have just the right mojo for wielding the keyblade, again in Kingdom Hearts II. Keyblade is a weapon that is useful for destroying the heartless and a key to unlock other worlds.

The main goal of the game for you, Sora, traveling from one land to another along with companions Goofy and Donald Duck, is to get rid of the heartless and rescue your missing friends.

Kingdom Hearts II is an action role-playing game that provides you a certain amount of freedom in determining your characters’ attributes and in standard combat that you cannot avoid.

The seasoned role-playing gamers will be able to spend plenty of time perfecting the allocation of their attributes, grinding to level up, and synthesizing new items. In contrast, those gamers who are not interested in role-playing games can enjoy the main gameplay without worrying much about the statistics.

The game was revised into Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix with more material than the original Kingdom Hearts II, such as additional bosses and additional cut scenes. Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+, a collection of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, was released in Japan on March 29, 2007.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was released for Nintendo DS in Japan on May 30, 2009. The game takes place between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II and focuses on Roxas’s time in Organization XIII and his motives for leaving.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is the first game in the Kingdom Hearts game series that features cooperative gameplay and the traditional AI-controlled partners.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days features a simple yet beautiful friendship story, dynamic characters, and twists. In this game, you play Roxas, his “nobody,” a mirror image deprived of its memories, instead of the Kingdom Hearts game series’ protagonist, Sora. Roxas wants to retake his past by defeating shadow monsters known as heartless with nothing but a name and a doubtful group called the Organization XIII.

There are so many familiar faces and Disney characters in the story, but they do not steal the plot’s thunder ever as you unearth the Organization’s dark secrets.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days’ gameplay is torn into challenging missions that let you have your own pace. At the same time, the gameplay also encourages exploring, unlike the gameplay in previous games in the Kingdom Hearts game series.

The missions are set throughout the seven classic Disney worlds that are segmented, but you will get to quickly face new areas that you can explore along with some fun elements.

In this game, you have a lot of control over the tasks that you can accept, which gives you the freedom to work on the tasks that further progress the story, or you could go around doing extra stuff for the greater rewards. The story events and the mini-bosses make sure that the gameplay doesn’t get boring.

The Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days has a fast-paced battle system that happens in real-time and provides a thrilling combat experience that includes combos.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by sleep

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep was released for PlayStation Portable in Japan on January 9, 2010, and in North America on September 7, 2010, with additional content. The game is a prequel to the series and takes place ten years before the first Kingdom Hearts game. The game also reveals the origins of the villain, Xenohart.

One of the Kingdom Hearts: Birth by sleep’s opening cut scenes introduces you to the game’s three main characters Terra, Ventus, Aqua, and a fourth one, who will be unlocked upon completion of the first three. You will have to decide which of the characters you want to play as first.

You will get to do this step two more times, eventually, and explore the evolving story from three angles so you can reveal everything that the game’s story holds. The game has a Square Enix story feel since it has strained friendships, internal struggles, battles between the heroes (the good-hearted) and the villains.

While all this is going on, the charming Disney characters you fight alongside experience a familiar story from a unique perspective. The characters from Disney that you fight together with are Prince Charming and protect Snow White from the attacking fiends and getting to see the dark side of the infamous mirror.

The Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep features many specific tasks for each of the characters in each of the three character’s play-throughs. At different times you will be crossing paths with Disney characters and fight different bosses.

Ventus is energetic and young and is well-meaning enough but not so much that it becomes annoying. Aqua is focused and thoughtful and provides with more of a mature point of view. Terra struggles with the darkness that is within him.

Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded was released on October 7, 2010, for Nintendo DS in Japan. It was originally released as an episodic mobile phone game that takes place right after Kingdom Hearts II. The game was remade for Nintendo DS as Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded with additional features.

Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded’s story starts with bugs; Jiminy Cricket, a dedicated royal who keeps track of the important and historical events, gets his hands on the original journal of Sora’s Travels only to find out that there is a mysterious message that has been added.

After the events in Kingdom Hearts, the volume was nearly completely erased; this causes the little fellow to bring it to King Mickey’s attention. They decide to utilize the technological skills of rodent wunderkind’s Chip and Dale to search for the data that is believed to be spread throughout the volume even though the pages are empty.

Instead of finding the answers, they find the classic worlds filled with corrupted data and glitches. They create a digital version of Sora and his keyblade since they need a helping hand to get to the bottom of things.

The heartless and the other foes are now dismembered, and with auto-aim targeting, you can smash your keyblade button. Still, you have to watch the character’s position and be careful and stay alert against some specific enemies.

You can also use special abilities built into the keyblade of Sora by continuously hitting the monsters that give you a boost as you fight. Every weapon has its own set of bonuses like dodge automatically, faster attacking, or protection against magic.

Most of these are quite easy to utilize as you fight. Through an ability menu, Sora can also equip extra magic spells, melee strikes, and items. All of this makes killing enemies enjoyable.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream drop distance

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream drop distance was released in Japan for Nintendo 3DS on March 29, 2012. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream drop distance focuses on Sora and Riku Mark of mastery exam under Yen Sid in anticipation of Master Xehanort’s return and their conflicts with enemies.

If you’re not a fan of Mickey Mouse and his entourage, then most probably that Disney charm will be lost on you. If you’ve never played the Kingdom Hearts game ever before, then the already complex narrative becomes really complex intertwining plot points. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream drop distance does its best to give you the details through flashbacks and some recaps of past games.

Just keep in mind that you are probably going to spend most of the game confused. Sora teams up with Riku, another teenager, to take on the Mark of Mastery exam, which is a test that will turn them from amateurs to full-blown keyblade masters powerful enough to take on the villain Master Xehanort.

Throughout the adventure, you play as both characters, switching between each of the characters in timed intervals that are known as drops. It’s a strange idea, though. You can use buffs to increase the length of your drop or by fighting enemies.

It doesn’t help much as Riku and Sora are sent to alternate realities of worlds destroyed by the villainous Heartless.

The Mark of Mastery exam doesn’t go quite well, and the pair find themselves tangled in another villain’s dastardly plot over the world of Kingdom Hearts.

With nonstop blurry flashbacks, wavy visions of the future, and some interesting dialogue makes it is a good plot.

Kingdom Hearts X

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts X was released for Android and iOS on September 3, 2015. Kingdom Hearts X takes place before Sora’s adventures and the keyblade war.

You will be taking on the role of an amateur keyblade wielder chosen by the Lost Masters and trying to solve the world’s problems. The game has basic sub-plots in the various worlds.

Kingdom Hearts X’s gameplay is quite simple, you get a deck of 3-5 cards, and it depends on how much your keyblade has leveled up. There is a corresponding color that every card has green, blue, and red.

The colors have a meaning: Blue is weak to green, green is weak to red, and red is weak to blue. They also have a special ability: a combo of attacks, healing, or a blast that hits everything.

Apart from all that stuff, Kingdom Hearts X also features guilds, and you can assist other players or get help from other players to defeat a raid boss who appears quite often.

The raid bosses that the players have to fight range from the Behemoth to the Darkside Heartless. Anyway, it is still quite addictive to collect these cards when you level up and find them from packs.

Kingdom Hearts X does indeed lack the strategy that the original games have. The game is no doubt fun, but for small sittings and not for likely hours of grinding.

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep: A fragmentary passage was released for PlayStation 4 on January 12, 2017. The game takes place after Kingdom Hearts II: Birth by Sleep.

It’s fun to play and quite often feels more fluid than previous games in the series, even if it feels like playing the Kingdom Hearts games a decade ago without all the additions in between. Some puzzles dot Aqua’s journey, including a few that have her using mirrors to tinker with gravity or chasing gears to repair a bridge.

Whacking aside fiends with Aqua’s keyblade paired with smooth combat while building chain attacks, double jumping, and casting spells are really fun. You can also earn cosmetic items like dress patterns and Minnie Mouse ears by completing various challenges.

You will be happy to know that you will get a couple of dozen hours out from the HD remaster of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. Since it’s a simple remaster from the 3DS with nothing new or new elements, it still doesn’t look bad.

They should have tried to populate Dream Drop Distance’s extra rooms with the empty world, and this flaw is more obvious on the big screen. The upgraded graphics are a big improvement.

The combat system and its flow that sends you zooming past enemies, bouncing off walls, and swinging from light fixtures are quite impressive.

Kingdom Hearts III

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts III was released in Japan for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 25, 2019. The series protagonist, Sora, is searching for the “Key to Return Hearts” while searching for keyblade wielders handled by Sora’s friends Riku and King Mickey.

Kingdom Hearts III is the concluding chapter in a massive story arc; it can’t be faulted for having this fixation. Kingdom Hearts III is so stuck in the finer details that it can be difficult to get a sense of the three main heroes trying to accomplish even for the massive fans.

The story of Kingdom Hearts III involves Sora, Donald, and Goofy, who are preparing for an upcoming war against the forces of darkness by gathering the Guardians of Light.

The reason for the bloated state of Kingdom Hearts’ lore is the result of so many spin-offs and sequels that introduced new characters to explore the side and backstories.

These characters had the time and space to establish themselves and have full narrative arcs in their own games. But, when united in one game, each character made less of an impact in characterization.

Kingdom Hearts III is trying to tie up all the separated narrative threads across the many Kingdom Hearts games and weave them into one conclusive story, and the result is incoherent, to say the least.

Numerous characters look the same; some are time-traveling versions of themselves, while others are reincarnations who have taken a new form or exist inside the heart of another character.

The villains, many of which are of Organization XIII, say inane lines that are purposely vague. This was to build mystery, but it doesn’t help much either. The characters are delivering cheesy dialogues, which feel odd sometimes compared to what’s happening around them.

Kingdom Hearts III Re: Mind

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kingdom Hearts III was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Japan on 25th January 2019. Kingdom Hearts III Re: Mind is the DLC of this previous installment,1,i.e., Kingdom Hearts III.

It is the overhauled version of Kingdom Hearts III, which will be released in 2020 in the first quarter. The fan following was huge; Square Enix could give the fans one more game consecutively in pair of 2 years.

Kingdom Hearts III Re: Mind Is claimed to be the antidote to the bad endings, which was not so adored in Kingdom Hearts III. So it surely consists of some unfold and untold storyline ending.

Kingdom Hearts 3 finished with Sora going off all alone to scan for Kairi. Re: Mind takes you on that journey in average Kingdom Hearts design: neither essentially nor neatly.

It runs synchronously with the occasions at the Keyblade Graveyard, which means you really need to replay the peak again from the Keyblade Graveyard labyrinth right to the standoff with Xehanort. Even though the clarification Re: Mind is basically a Director’s cut.

As an update, the Keyblade Graveyard doesn’t generally highlight any investigation. It’s a progression of manager battles isolated by long cutscenes. Luxord still holes up behind a playing card provoking Sora, and cutscenes stop the activity in comparative spots.

A portion of the exchange and cutscenes are revamped while others are new; however, the greatest contrast is the choice to play as Riku, Roxas, Kairi, or Aqua in a few battles. Shockingly, playing as these characters really make the smooth and up-to-date battle less gameplay.

Every one of them feels like more fragile forms of Sora with constrained move sets, and it doesn’t help that the Keyblade Graveyard itself is the blandest world in Kingdom Hearts 3.

What Re: Mind uncovers is a game, and an arrangement, continually changing itself in apprehensive self-reflection. Kingdom Hearts doesn’t know how to end, so it won’t, and it will return and reshape itself as much as it needs to ensure it. Remind, with a partition between the prefix and the word—proposing to recall as well as to reconsider.

Which makes Re: Mind an unusual DLC for a special game and a cure to our nervousness about Kingdom Hearts III’s endings. Kingdom Hearts will never stick the arrival since it will never at any point attempt.

Is that the correct answer? Who knows, yet in a period of disillusioning finales, a story that destroys itself to maintain a strategic distance from the result is a breath of new sea air.

A hidden episode called Limit Cut opens when you complete Re Mind, giving you access to a few testing supervisor battles. They’re ultra-extreme, and one bogus move (like not obstructing at the specific right minute) implies you lose everything. These are practically identical to the arrangement’s mystery supervisors (e.g., Sephiroth),

The KINGDOM HEARTS III Re: Mind DLC includes:

  • The additional story: Re Mind
  • Limitcut episode and 13 boss battles
  • Secret episode and boss battle
  • Data greeting feature
  • Slideshow feature
  • Premium menu (Diverse difficulty settings and gameplay challenges)

Frequently Asked Questions

In what order should I play Kingdom Hearts?

I suggest you play Kingdom Hearts in Chronological order as it may help you better understand the story and structure of the game. Play the games in the following chronological order: Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, Kingdom Hearts Dark Road, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage, Kingdom Hearts / Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Chain of memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts 2 / Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Coded / Re: Coded, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Kingdom Hearts 3, Kingdom Hearts 3: ReMind DLC and Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memor.

What is the best Kingdom Hearts game to start with?

You should play The Kingdom Hearts in Chronological Order to understand the storyline and interesting narratives that bring life to later games. This is why I suggest that you start with Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover.

Zakriya Amir
Zakriya is right from Pakistan. He was raised with a quest for the gaming craze with an organization of specialized folks. This is the place he understood that computer games can grow your creative mind to unlimited universes. Gaming is no longer for him only a method for amusement, yet enthusiasm. From the youthful age of 8, gaming was simply the main method for communicating.