Kingdom Hearts Union χ
Kingdom Hearts Union χ, previously titled Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ (キングダムハーツ アンチェインドキー, Kingudamu Hātsu Ancheindo Kī?), is the ninth installment in the Kingdom Hearts series, released on iOS and Android. It features plot and gameplay elements from the Japan-exclusive web browser game Kingdom Hearts χ[chi], and is free to play with optional in-app purchases. It is the first Kingdom Hearts game to be released on smartphone platforms.
Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ was first announced on May 12, 2015. During Square Enix's E3 Conference on June 16, 2015, a trailer for the game was released showcasing gameplay. Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ was released in Japan on September 3, 2015 and in North America on April 7, 2016.
In April 2017, the game was rebranded with the Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] content update, featuring multiplayer and a theater mode.
Online service for the game has ended on June 17, 2021 for Japan, and June 30, 2021 for the global server. Following the 4.40 update, players are able to download an offline version of the app that will consist of a theater mode with all story cutscenes, avatar and Keyblade customization, Classic Kingdom minigames, and records from the online version.
While there were rumors of a localization for the web-browser based Kingdom Hearts χ[chi], the smartphone game wasn't publicly referenced until April 14, 2015, in an interview with Tetsuya Nomura. The game was officially revealed on May 12, 2015, with the official title revealed in Famitsu magazine the following day.
On December 7, 2015, Version 1.1.0 was released. It raised the maximum level of Keyblades, added Adamantite Ore and matching quests, added Upright and Reversed Keyblade slot bonuses, and Special Attack Bonus.
On March 31, 2016, Version 1.2.0 was released. It raised the maximum Player level to 300.
On April 7, 2016, Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ was released in North America, starting at version number 1.0.0.
On August 4, 2016, Version 1.3.1 was released for the Japanese version. For the English version, it was called Version 1.1.2, and released on September 1, 2016. It added a Perks system for Avatar Parts, a daily Lux Boost function, and the ability to set up to three decks per Keyblade.
On November 2, 2016, Version 1.4.0 was released for the Japanese version. For the English version, it was called Version 1.2.1, and released on November 10, 2016. It added the Nova system.
On March 23, 2017, Version 2.0.0 was released for the Japanese version. For the English version, the update was released on April 6, 2017. It renamed the game to Kingdom Hearts Union χ, and added Union Cross multiplayer mode, Theater Mode, Medal Traits, Tutorial Quests, raised the cap for buffs and debuffs to 7, and the cost cap for Medals to 20.
On July 13, 2017, Version 2.2.0 was released for the Japanese version. For the English version, the update was released on July 20, 2017. It added completion percentage and icons to the Quest screen, MVP rewards for Union Cross, and a Perk filter feature for Avatar Parts.
On September 21, 2017, Version 2.3.1 was released for the Japanese version. For the English version, the update was released on September 28, 2017. It added the Pet System, increased the amount of jewels obtained as login bonus, made adjustments to several Story Quests, and changed the special attacks of all 4★ and lower Medals to match the 5★ version.
On November 2, 2017, Version 2.4.0 was released for the Japanese version. For the English version, the update was released on November 8, 2017. It added Booster items, the Mission feature, and added Auto battle to quests.
On January 18, 2018, Version 2.5.0 was released for the Japanese version. For the English version, the update was released on February 1, 2018. It added a low resolution option, and the option to display draw odds for Medal deals.
On March 23, 2018, Version 2.6.0 was released for the Japanese version. For the English version, the update was released on March 25, 2018. It added PvP Mode, 7★ Medals, Keyblade subslots, an optimize button for Keyblades, allowed players to skip certain Story Quests, and reduced the required materials for upgrading Keyblades, while removing some materials and matching special quests.
On July 12, 2018, Version 2.7.0 was released for the Japanese version. For the English version, the update was released on July 19, 2018. It added the option to flee from Raid battles, made damage indicators easier to read, and made some adjustments to the UI in PvP.
On June 22, 2020, The Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] app was rebranded as Kingdom Hearts Union χ Dark Road and contains both Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] and Kingdom Hearts Dark Road.
For a full list of updates and changes, visit the Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ / Union χ page on the Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ Wiki.
Prior to the Keyblade War, Strelitzia, a member of the Dandelions selected to be one of the new Union leaders once the war ends, attempts to convince Player to join the Dandelions. However, she is eliminated by an unknown individual, who then steals her rulebook and takes her place as Union leader.
After being saved by Ephemer and Skuld following the conclusion of the Keyblade War, Player is brought to another realm, where the Dandelions have assembled as per Ava's instructions. Upon entering this new realm, everyone loses all of their memories of their previous world, with the exception of the five wielders chosen to become the new Union leaders.
Following Ava's orders, Ephemer, Skuld, Ventus, Brain, and Lauriam gather at the Keyblade Graveyard to meet with their fellow Union leaders, with Lauriam being the last to arrive. Together, the five enter the Foretellers' Chamber in Daybreak Town, where Brain looks through a copy of the Book of Prophecies that he finds. Ultimately, they decide to keep the Unions united under a Union χ to prevent future conflicts between Keyblade wielders. Brain decides that in order to celebrate, they should make creating new Spirits their first task, sending Ephemer, Skuld, and Ventus to collect the supplies while he and Lauriam prepare to synthesize the materials.
Meanwhile, Player resumes their missions, initially reliving through the events leading up to the Keyblade War, and later making use of the newly created Union χ, joining a party of fellow Dandelions and traveling to new worlds. Soon, Player begins having nightmares of the Keyblade War. Chirithy, concerned about the frequency of Player's nightmares, reports this to Ephemer and Skuld, who encourages Chirithy to protect Player from the truth. Afterward, Ephemer and Skuld begin to investigate this new impending darkness in the world.
Maleficent, who had somehow managed to travel back in time, finds she is unable to take over her world in the past. She encounters an unknown figure called Darkness who explains that the world she is in is only a data simulation, created to prevent her from interfering with the past. Elrena, before confronting Maleficent in the tower. However, she defeats him and escapes. Upon returning to the real world, Darkness instructs Maleficent to use another pod to return to the future. Meanwhile, glitches begin appearing in Daybreak Town. With Player's help, Brain discovers the glitches are an effect of the datascape being forcibly connected to a data world that was never connected to the original Daybreak Town. While searching the Book of Prophecies for a solution, Brain finds the Master's list and discovers that Ventus is not one of the intended Union leaders, suspecting that Ventus was manipulated into replacing Strelitzia. It turns out he is the one responsible for Strelitzia's demise, having been manipulated by Darkness (who was disguised as Ava) into doing so. Lauriam returns to the tower and gets into a heated fight with the others when he mistakenly assumes they had something to do with Strelitzia’s death. The situation worsens when Ventus reveals that it was he who killed Strelitzia, before Darkness emerges from him and reveals itself to the others.Refusing to let her stay, due to the damage her knowledge of the future could cause, Darkness guides her to the tower in Daybreak Town, telling her to use the lifeboat at its center to return to the real world. Lauriam investigates Strelitzia's disappearance, aided by his fellow party member
While talking with the entity, the Union Leaders discover that Darkness inhabited Ventus with no specific goal or motive. Darkness also claims that Ventus wanted power, and that taking the spot of a Union Leader would have satisfied that desire - so it manipulated Ventus into striking down Strelitzia. Ephemer counters that Ventus would not go to such lengths, but Darkness states that the method of obtaining power does not matter. Lauriam realizes that this means Strelitzia specifically did not need to die, and he attacks Darkness - but he is defeated easily in his weakened state. Brain steps forward and asks Darkness further questions. Darkness instead claims that it inhabited Ventus because such was written in the Book of Prophecies - and that Darkness and the Master of Masters are old friends. Brain finally asks if Darkness is the only one of its kind in the room, to which it agrees. With all the answers he needed, Brain summons his Keyblade - the Master's Defender - and battles Darkness alongside Ephemer and Skuld.
Meanwhile, as Player continues to investigate the glitches, they have multiple encounters with Darklings which repeatedly state the words "Not You". Chirithy finally demands to know why the Darklings are following them if Player is not who it wants, but the creature does not respond and is destroyed once again. Chirithy ponders whether Darklings are drawn to Keyblade wielders, much like how the cy-bugs are drawn to the beacon - and who this wielder would be, if it is neither Player nor Ephemer. Regardless, Player and Chirithy return to Daybreak Town.
After a fierce battle, Darkness defeats Brain and Skuld, leaving only Ephemer standing. Ephemer admits that he cannot win, and Darkness suggests calling the fight, but Brain defiantly suggests that Darkness is intent on stopping the Union Leaders for some purpose. Darkness explains that it can ride data signals very easily, and Brain asks why there was a need to hide inside Ventus. Darkness again cites the Book of Prophecies, but Skuld interjects that destiny is no excuse for Darkness's actions. With new resolve, Skuld and Brain stand up once more and summon their Keyblades. Darkness changes its story - while Darkness is many, in order to be one it needs a will. By taking hold of Ventus, Darkness could split into pure darkness and pure light - "willful and distinct". Lauriam awakens and realizes that it was Darkness rather than Ventus who killed Strelitzia, so he stands up and summons his Keyblade as well. Additionally, Player suddenly appears through a portal to aid the group. Darkness dismisses the superior numbers, stating that Daybreak Town will still succumb to darkness regardless. The lifeboats were meant to be the last line of defense if Darkness could not be defeated - once a pod is used, the data world begins a process to seal itself, ideally trapping Darkness inside it. Since Maleficent already used one to escape, the process had already begun. Ephemer refuses to believe that Ava would throw away the dandelions in such a way, and the group prepares to fight Darkness once more.
Darkness disappears for a moment, before re-appearing and announcing that it cannot be destroyed, as it has no form. Darklings suddenly appear through a portal and surround Ventus, all stating "You", to Player's shock. Ventus gets up to dispel Darkness and the Darklings with a flash of light, and he maintains an aura of light as he speaks to Darkness. Ventus announces that, much like how Darkness used him to reshape itself, he will reshape Darkness into something that can be defeated. Ventus summons his Keyblade, but Lauriam tries to stop him, saying he does not want to lose him too. Ventus reassures Lauriam, and strikes at Darkness anyway.
In the real Daybreak Town, Darkness attempts to check the computer in the lifeboat room, only to be interrupted by Luxu, who walks in holding a figure wrapped in white. He states that the Master of Masters told him to be there, and he opens up one of the pods. He places the white-wrapped figure in the pod, calling it "a seed of light to be planted in the future. The true Dandelion."
Darkness and the Master of Masters speak on a cliff overlooking Daybreak Town. The Master reveals to Darkness that the Book of Prophecies does not give every detail of the future - only what the Gazing Eye sees, which parts of that the Master deems important, and which parts of that he would allow Darkness to know. Further, the Master explains that the lifeboat's time travel will cause its passenger to lose their body; to reclaim it, there must be a medium to rebuild their body, as well as someone who remembers them. The Master can therefore utilize the Gazing Eye as a medium, and Luxu as a source of memories, to travel to the future - which he used to create the Book of Prophecies. While there, he saw a world that he "can't even conceive". Darkness asks about the seven lifeboat pods and the "seven crowns", and the Master says that they are for the seven lights, though he does not know their identities.
Ephemer, Skuld, and Player talk in a hallway, outside a room where Lauriam is tending to Ventus. Skuld expresses concern about the end of the world, while Ephemer expresses his desire to save everyone. Inside the room, Lauriam apologizes to Ventus for placing the blame of Strelitzia's death on him. He asks Ventus whether darkness is gone, or just a part of him, as Ventus had stated off-screen. A sullen expression starts to form on Lauriam's face - but his grief is stopped by Strelitzia's voice, who urges him to not give in to hatred, anger, and sadness. Lauriam turns, startled, but nobody is there. Ephemer knocks on the door to say there is a visitor, and Lauriam exits the room to find Elrena. Elrena's Chirithy had apparently seen a girl that looked like Strelitzia, dressed in a white coat, walking toward town alongside someone in a black coat. The group tells this information to Brain, who reasons that this Strelitzia may have been made from her backup data. Lauriam figures that they may find more answers in the real world, so the group goes to the lifeboat room, Lauriam carrying the still-unconscious Ventus.
Luxu and Darkness stand in the lifeboat room, the pod containing "the true Dandelion" now gone, leaving five pods unused. Darkness questions why Luxu follows the Master of Masters, to which he says he is not sure, but he is sure that the Master does not like darkness. Luxu asks Darkness for its plan, which is to "accompany the chosen one into the future, so I can lay claim to worlds not yet created". Luxu summons his Keyblade and explains what he knows of darkness's circumstances: it had form when the Master of Masters was young, but then gave up that form to defeat light, making darkness become a whole. But darkness's will could not be maintained in this state, meaning darkness still needed a physical form, which requires infecting people who have hearts. Further, six darknesses with individual will currently exist: the one with Luxu entered the real world alongside Maleficent, while the remaining five are still in the data world. Luxu finishes by saying that this one darkness in the real world is the only one in his way - and the darkness responds that Luxu is the only one in its way, as well.
The Union Leaders, Player, and Elrena enter the lifeboat room, where they find five pods unused and one pod broken. Since the group numbers seven, there is a struggle to decide who should take the available pods - ultimately Lauriam, Ventus, Elrena, and Brain each take one. Before Brain departs, he gives his Keyblade and the Book of Prophecies to Ephemer, saying they were always meant for Ephemer to have. After everyone has said their farewells, Ephemer goes to the computer and sends the four occupied pods to the real world, leaving only one pod unused.
A series of flashbacks throughout the adventure have shown the Master of Masters speaking to Luxu, and this time the Master reveals significant details about his plan. First, a summary of Darkness: "From seven, all is fulfilled. from thirteen, chaos is born." Darkness began as 13 entities, but shed its physical form in order to defeat the light, allowing it to attack people's hearts instead of their bodies. Formless, darkness could spread far and wide, becoming a whole - but by losing its form, darkness could not maintain its will. Bits of darkness spread and separated - those that developed their own forms became Heartless, while the remaining formless darknesses each developed individual will. The formless then sought to take over the bodies of people with strong hearts. Formless darkness cannot be destroyed, but if it inhabits a vessel with a strong heart, then destroying that vessel will destroy the darkness inside it as well.
Of the 13 darknesses, the Master of Masters planned to have himself, Luxu, and the five foretellers host the seven most-powerful darknesses of the group. However, he did not want them to merely be vessels, so he trained them to be resilient to the darkness - to be able to carry it, but to also have a chance of not being consumed by it. The passage about the "traitor" was put into the Book of Prophecies to plant seeds of doubt in the foretellers, which darkness could be baited with. This bait is strengthened by real, powerful emotions, so turning the foretellers against each other would make it even more potent. Eventually, the seven most-powerful darknesses would be tempted to take these seven vessels. For the remaining six darknesses, five would inhabit the Union Leaders, while the last would be sealed within the data world. To recap: these Union Leaders were chosen from the Dandelions, an exceptional group of Keyblade wielders gathered before the Keyblade War, who were then transferred into the data world - all to ensure that the chosen Union Leaders would be strong-hearted and resilient as well. The Master finishes by revealing that Luxu was the "traitor" mentioned in the Book.
In the real world, Brain searches for ways to save more people from the data world - by sending two pods from the real world to the data world, he reasons that he can save Ephemer, Skuld, and Player, but first he sends Elrena, Lauriam, and Ventus to the future to ensure their safety. Just as he does so, a tremor shakes the building and Luxu enters the room. Luxu introduces himself, and asks Brain what his plan is. Brain responds with the two-pods plan and further states that he will try to awaken as many Dandelions as possible from the data world once it falls to darkness and sleeps. Luxu counters that the data world is specifically designed as a cage to trap darkness, and as such, the data world cannot sleep - anyone left in it will be lost. He also informs Brain that the lifeboats need a medium as well as memories of the passenger at the destination in order for their body to be reconstructed. Luxu commends Brain's bravery, and laments that Brain only has one lifetime.
In the data world, Ephemer, Skuld, and Player ponder whether the others are safe, before they are approached by four darknesses. The darknesses ask for a gate so that they can pass out of the data world, a request that Ephemer strongly refuses. As the trio of Keyblade wielders prepare to start combat, Ephemer tells Player to take a lifeboat - but at this, Player's disposition suddenly changes. Player attacks Ephemer and calls him a fool - Player's heart has already been consumed by darkness, and Ephemer would have made a grave error by allowing Player to escape. The possessed Player proposes to return the body in exchange for a gate, but Ephemer once again refuses. Player and the four darknesses defeat Ephemer and Skuld, and Player holds their Keyblade above Skuld, preparing to end her life. In desperation, Ephemer fires a beam from his Keyblade that pierces Player's chest, forming a portal behind them that pulls in Player and the four darknesses in one fell swoop. Suddenly, the two pods that Brain sent appear, and Skuld gets inside one. Ephemer briefly glances at the one unused pod that Player could have used, before getting into his own. Ephemer and Skuld arrive in the real world, and witness Daybreak Town crumbling into the darkness. Skuld is emotionally struck by the devastation, but Ephemer leads her back inside to safety. The two re-enter the pods, and Skuld begins to weep for the lost world. She thanks Ephemer for keeping her company at the end, but he reassures her that it is not the end. Ephemer briefly reminisces about Player and sheds a tear, before the pods close and the building collapses around them.
In a data cable, Player lies wounded on the ground, surrounded by the four darknesses. They commend Player for goading Ephemer into making a portal, but suggest that the darkness within should escape before Player's body perishes. Player laughs and seals the exit, revealing that they were never taken over by darkness - it was all an act. The darknesses rage and rampage about the room, unable to escape. Player collapses in exhaustion, and embraces their Chirithy before the pair are enveloped in a white light. Player finds themselves in a white void alongside numerous other Keyblade wielders: each one transforms into their heart, which their Chirithy then takes hold of, and each Chirithy-heart pair transforms into a Dream Eater. Player's Chirithy explains that they are connected to their wielders: if the wielder's heart disappears, then the Chirithy disappears, and if the wielder falls asleep, the Chirithy becomes their guardian as they sleep. However, Player has a choice to not sleep, if they wish. The scene fades to an unknown town, where a black-haired woman hands infant Xehanort to a blue-robed figure holding a walking stick. The figure brings Xehanort to the Destiny Islands, where he grows into Young Xehanort. The figure watches over Xehanort from some distance, and then collapses once Xehanort walks toward the sea. Xehanort awakens in Scala ad Caelum, and joins a young Eraqus in playing Alba & Ater on a windowsill. The scene returns to Player, who chooses to not sleep. They embrace their Chirithy one last time, and the pair transforms into a heart, which floats away.
A Darkness comments that the Master of Masters is difficult to understand. The Master explains that, even though the world is ever-expanding with more fairy tales, darkness will still find a way to spread to each one. Therefore, the Master wants to escape to a world he "can't even conceive. A world where neither light nor darkness rules... A world of fiction... a place where voices and sight can't reach. A ---- world".
In the flooded ruins of Daybreak Town, a single lifeboat pod floats among the wreckage. It finally stops on a piece of rubble, opens, and Ephemer emerges.
Maleficent's Raven brings her empty robe to the Mysterious Tower, where Maleficent's time travel is completed: using the robe as her medium, as well as the memories from Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.
Lauriam awakens in a field of flowers as a white butterfly flutters by.
Elrena remains unconscious in a dark mountainous area, as a thunderstorm rages overhead.
Ventus is unconscious in the Keyblade Graveyard, and is approached by an unknown figure.
Luxu drags the black box as he walks through the Keyblade Graveyard, and removes his hood - revealing the face of Brain.
Brain awakens in an unknown town - the same as the one with the black-haired woman. A hooded man walks over and seems to already know who Brain is, before handing over Brain's hat. The man introduces himself as Sigurd, and makes a report by holding a hand to his ear. Sigurd states that it was decided Brain would escape Daybreak Town's destruction, appear in this time and location, and be welcomed by Sigurd's group. Brain is confused, but Sigurd re-assures him that he can explain more at headquarters. The pair walk to a square with a fountain, and Brain immediately recognizes the statue atop it. Sigurd explains that this is the original Keyblade Master and founder of this town, Scala ad Caelum - Master Ephemer, wielding the Master's Defender. Brain responds that he knows - and that Ephemer was a good friend.
An Oath to Return. Kingdom Hearts
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Much like in its preceding iteration, Kingdom Hearts χ, players are able to create and customize their own unique characters. Gameplay primarily takes place in hand-drawn, two-dimensional overworld areas that players can explore and navigate, interact with NPC's, open chests for prizes, and initiate battles by coming into contact with wandering Heartless. Battles are a hybrid of the quick-paced, action-based combat familiar to the series and a more traditional turn-based combat system. By tapping a single enemy on the screen, or swiping to hit multiple enemies, players can deal basic damage. Rapidly tapping or swiping results in a quick combo. After the combo is complete, the enemy takes their turn. Normally the player character always attacks first upon engaging an enemy, but certain scripted factors may allow the enemy to attack preemptively.
Players can install Medals into their Keyblades to strengthen them and gain access to powerful special attacks for use in battle. During battle, the Medals are displayed in the Keyblade carousel on the bottom left corner. By touching the medal and dragging it to the center of the screen, players can activate the Medal's special attack. Doing so consumes special attack gauges, displayed in the Special Gauge next to the Health bar. Players can purchase new Medals from the Moogle Shop with Jewels, or earn them in Quests and special Events.
Each individual Medal can be leveled up and upgraded, granting it new skills, traits, and status boosts. By maxing out a Medal's Special Attack Bonus, their Nova ability is automatically upgraded. By tapping the Nova icon on the right side of the screen during battle, players can unleash their Nova ability on all enemies; it doesn't consume any special attack gauges, but it can only be used once per quest. Additionally, certain especially powerful Medals have their own unique Supernova abilities. By holding the Supernova icon (located underneath to the Nova icon), players can select the Supernova Medal and unleash the attack. Like Nova, it doesn't consume any gauges, but can only be used once per quest.
In addition to customizing their own avatars, players also have access to a Dream Eater Pet. Aside from customizing the Pet's appearance and name, players can also equip them with Medals to level them up. The higher the Medal's individual rank, the more points the Pet gains. With each level, they gain useful Tricks they can bring into battle. Additionally, having an active Pet gives the player a sixth Medal slot to use in battle. The damage multiplier offered by the sixth slot depends on the Pet's level.
Upon reaching story quest 130, players gain access to the Olympus Coliseum, which is divided into two categories: PVE and PVP. In PVE mode, they battle waves of enemies in a series of increasingly challenging gauntlets. Clearing the blocks earns Coliseum Coins, which can be used on the Coliseum Boards to earn prizes. In PVP mode, players face off against hologram data copies of other players, controlled by the in-game AI. Each week, specific Keyblades are chosen to be used. In PvP, Medals can't be equipped on more than one Keyblade. Players each take turns dealing damage to one another. After both players complete their turns, whoever dealt more damage wins the round. When a player wins two out of three rounds they win the match.
Players can undertake online cooperative quests, either with their own Party members or random players, to earn Cross Coins, which can be used on the Cross Boards to collect prizes. The quests are all done in real-time, much like in a MMORPG, however once a player engages the enemy it turns into the traditional turn-based system. Union Cross quests typically have timed bonus challenges that will appear randomly in the quest. Clearing it within the time limit increases the number of Cross Coins all players earn.
Changes from Kingdom Hearts χ[chi]
Worlds and Characters
Notes and references