As Kotaku's own Kirk Hamilton pointed out last week, one of the most amazing things in Square Enix's DS hit, The World Ends With You, was its techno/pop/rap soundtrack. While we aren't getting a new game in the series anytime soon (if ever), we are getting the next best thing, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
While the designers could have easily lifted the music wholesale from one to the other, they actually went the extra mile to make remixes for some of The World Ends With You's most memorable tracks.
Someday -Kingdom Mix-
By slowing the tempo and removing all the electric instruments — save for a single electric guitar — this song has been turned from a pop/rock track into a power ballad. The quiet piano and string instruments give the vocals a chance to shine and the singers' harmony stands out beautifully. Topped off with a light sprinkling of acoustic guitar, I would call this more re-imagining than remix.
Calling -Kingdom Mix-
In its original form, Calling was already a light techno/j-pop beat composed on a synthesiser. The Kingdom Mix takes everything Calling was and dials it up to eleven. It now sounds more like an early nineties anime hit than anything modern — though that's not necessarily a bad thing. The other major change is the harmony vocal line which is now ever-present throughout the song — the result of which is a very haunting tune that is just as addictive as the original.
Twister -Kingdom Mix-
The original Twister is a light synthesiser piece blended with a digitally distorted rap for the vocal line. The Kingdom Mix removes the vocal distortion, ditches most of the synth, adds a brass section, and tops it off with a booming soprano harmony line. This all comes together to create a sound more akin to swing or big band than anything else. All in all, it makes the song just sound more fun than the original.
Personally, I couldn't be happier with The World Ends With You remixes found in Kingdom Hearts 3D. Those involved really went the extra mile to make the songs completely different — yet, at the same time, keep the core intact. I would even go so far as to say that some of these remixes (Someday and Twister) are superior to the originals. My only complaint is as I was playing Dream Drop Distance, I wanted nothing more than the characters to just shut up so I could listen to the music uninterrupted.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance was released in Japan on March 29, 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS. A Western release is planned for July 31, 2012, and the soundtrack will be released in Japan on April 18, 2012.