The Drop System is a feature used in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. It allows the player to switch control between Sora and Riku, allowing each to progress independently through the game. One character is presumed to be "asleep" while the other is active. The player will drop into the next character once the Drop Gauge is depleted, or they can drop manually by tapping the "Drop" button that appears on the World Map, in the main menu, in the pause menu or at a Save Point.
Following an interview with Tai Yasue, the Drop System was developed to increase the thrill of the game and to keep Sora and Riku's stories united, in contrast to Birth by Sleep, where the player has to finish a story before going on to the next one.
Sora goes with Neku to the Third District, where they encounter a mysterious youth. While Neku goes to confront him, Sora is suddenly overcome with drowsiness, and he succumbs to sleep. He later wakes up to find the district empty.
After Riku fends off Beat's Spirit and the other attacking Dream Eaters in the Second District, he becomes overwhelmingly sleepy and loses consciousness. When he wakes up, he finds Joshua and Beat have gone.
Xigbar and Young Xehanort corner Sora in The World That Never Was and send him into a dream. After Xehanort shows Sora visions of his meeting Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, Sora and Ansem entering the Secret Place before the Destiny Islands fell into darkness, and Sora's visits to the different incarnations of Traverse Town, Sora suddenly passes out while chasing an illusion of Pluto.
The Drop Gauge has three differently-colored bars that continuously deplete, one by one, from blue to yellow to pink. The gauge's speed is indicated by the multiplier that accompanies it. Once the third bar empties, Bonus Time begins, and the speed multiplier is replaced with a final 30 second countdown. After the 30 seconds is up, the character will fall asleep and Drop, and player control will pass to the other character. When the player returns to the first character, play will resume where it left off. If the character drops during a boss battle, the battle will start over from scratch when they resume, as if it were a Game Over.
Negative status effects like Sleep increase the gauge's speed, as does contact with the pink gas released from drop traps. The player can restore the gauge and reset the drop rate by using items like Drop-Me-Not, Drop-Me-Never, or Megalixir, and the Drop Decelerator bonus slows the gauge down, as does guarding with Wake-up Block.
After a character drops, the Relay Bonus screen is shown, and the player can purchase different boosts with Drop Points, or DP. The boosts will affect the other character's gameplay. They include reduced Drop Gauge speed, temporary stat boosts, new commands or items. Some boosts are available in three different levels after being obtained, each one with better effects, but with a higher DP cost. Any leftover DP is converted to Munny.
DP is earned during gameplay by collecting Droplets relinquished by defeated Nightmares, collecting specific "lucky items", which are detailed on the Forecast screen, or by completing Link Portals. During Bonus Time, Droplets appear more often and more abundantly from enemies. The player can collect of maximum of 999 droplets per drop. The player can give the other character several bonuses depending on the amount of Droplets acquired in the last Drop and depending on what has been unlocked from Bonuses.
List of Relay Bonuses
Notes and references