Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. 45
    Save for a tedious gimmick level in the Hundred-Acre Wood, each stage follows the same basic structure: work towards the first cutscene, which provides the key to the second cutscene, which provides the key to the boss. There are no puzzles or complex paths to work through -- once you've solved one, you've solved them all.
  2. The story is deep and intriguing, with very enjoyable and addictive gameplay.
  3. It's not important that you be familiar with the original, in some respects it may be better since you visit the same places over again. There are new characters and missions and the storyline will keep you intrigued and entertained.
  4. This is more than just a cynical cash-in conversion, but in pitching itself as a kind of '1.5' iteration it's never clear if the game is a necessity or a distraction for devotees of the Kingdom Hearts universe. For all but the most ardent follower, its off-target execution will imply the latter. [Feb 2005, p.80]
  5. Although billed as the bridge between the first and second PS2 "Kingdom Hearts" adventures, Memories feels more like a "Golden Girls" clips episode - lots of reminiscing and recapping in lieu of new hijinks. [Jan 2005, p.143]
  6. Though certainly not without its flaws, the most problematic of which being the somewhat mismanaged combat system, this is nonetheless a terrific game that delivers a fun quest, stellar presentation, and an added incentive to revisit the game after it has been completed.
  7. A really excellent GBA game which pushes the little system to a degree that few games have tried.
  8. 80
    Combines two much-maligned RPG staples, random dungeons and card battles, and somehow pulls it off with aplomb.
  9. For story, gameplay and graphical tasty goodness this is one of the best titles for the GBA this year.
  10. An enjoyable handheld, but like the direct-to-video Disney sequels, it just doesn't have the magic of the original. [Jan 2005, p.146]
  11. And as a videogame, there's not much in Chain of Memories that I haven't seen before…except card breaks and room synthesis.
  12. 70
    Conceptually, Chain of Memories is a good idea but when awkward hybrid gameplay meets plotlines based on afterthought ideas, it's just a perplexing mess.
  13. The combat system is card based, but just pressing the A button enough will most likely guarantee you victory regardless of the situation.
  14. Chain Of Memories' biggest problem is the repetitive nature of most of the rooms. In order to build up anything that even resembles a decent set of cards you'll need to repeat fights countless times to earn Moogle Points and experience, and the relatively limited number of different Heartless in each area can make this something of a chore.
  15. The combat can be a bit repetitive after a sustained amount of play time, but the decent story, characters and card collecting aspects more than make up for it.
  16. This game is clearly aimed at hooking existing fans of the developing Kingdom Hearts series, and those fans will get the most value out of Chain of Memories.
  17. 80
    Though the level design is inconsistent and the combat gets repetitive, there's plenty to keep you entertained if you're into the world and the characters.
  18. Without a doubt one of the best games available for the GBA and one of the best reasons for owning the system. The characters, locales, and enemies from the original are all here, creating a compelling game and story on par in many ways with the original.
  19. Perhaps the nicest aspect of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is that it appeals to both those that played the first and those that've never heard of it.
  20. Yes, you're essentially playing through the events of Kingdom Hearts in portable form, but there's enough content here to make the experience seem new and fresh again.
  21. It is the perfect venue to bridge the story between the two PS2 titles.
  22. The levels are repetitive, boxy mazes with nothing interesting in them aside from battles, and the story's for fans only. Still, it's a technically excellent and fun game that begins to wear only through repetition and ease. [Jan 2005, p.84]
  23. 80
    The production value alone is worth the price of admission, and even with repeat scenarios, a strategic combat system that turns into a button-masher, and surprisingly linear quest, this game has an engrossing storyline that actually changes up after the adventure comes to an end.
  24. The problem with Kingdom Hearts is it's definitely not the action RPG people fell in love with on the PS2. It doesn't carry the same mood along with the story (though it had a well-written plot), and with the pacing the game has; it can often feel a bit rushed.
  25. And though the stories are changed to better fit the memory theme of the new game, it is often times a little too familiar, a sort of 'been there, done that' feel.
  26. Fans of the PS2 game will enjoy their time with CoM. However, newcomers to the series may feel a little lost as the game's story does not update the player accordingly. The lack of a summary screen will leave players feeling lost.
  27. If you were a fan of the first Kingdom Hearts title, you owe it to yourself to play Chain of Memories, if only for the addition to the story.
  28. The story is superb, the graphics and music are among the best on the GBA, and the concept is unique and interesting. [Feb 2005, p.112]
  29. A mildly amusing game that half-heartedly struggles to maintain the feel of its predecessor while still maintaining an air of uniqueness. It'll definitely serve to entertain, though those who haven't played the original game may be a little lost.
  30. 80
    I was a little disappointed when I finished it, because I wanted more. A great game that shouldn't be passed up by any Kingdom Hearts fan.
  31. The card-combat mechanic does not work quite as well as it could, and the game is a bit too linear and the combat repetitive. Still, the magical union of Final Fantasy characters and Disney's different fantasy worlds give the game enough appeal and charm to keep you playing until the end. [June 2005, p.77]
  32. The plot is basically a device to rehash the stories of the original Kingdom Hearts. [Jan 2005, p.86]
  33. A very solid, fun package that should please both hardcore card-game players and casual RPGers alike. [Spring 2005, p.71]
  34. Chain of Memories does a great job of getting gamers who are unfamiliar with the series up to par with the story in preparation for "KH2"...A stellar addition to the Game Boy Advance line up. [JPN Import]
  35. The story is engaging, enhanced by terrific characters, pleasing animation and memorable tunes. It's a pity there are not more puzzles to solve.
  36. 87
    The presentation is unmatched by any handheld game ever, and overtly competent in audio and visuals.
  37. A disjointed storyline that seems more driven by gratuitous cameos than compelling gameplay won't please everyone, but die-hard Disney fans won't mind.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. Aug 17, 2012
    A good game. However, the card system is rather...annoying. The story is good and there is a lot of content. Unfortunately the card system really diminishes the game. Full Review »
  2. May 27, 2012
    This game was fun.
  3. Mar 17, 2012
    This game... it's pretty much the Kingdom Hearts equivalent of Final Fantasy IX to me. Everything about this game, in my eyes, is straight up perfect. The pacing of the story is perfect. The characters are perfect. The worlds are perfect. And yes, even the battle system, in my eyes, is straight up perfect. The card system was something fresh and new and it never deteriorated from the balls-to-the-walls-battles for me. The addition of the Nobodies as the primary antagonists was also perfect, because it gave some very complex baddies to actually be scared of. And the story is still from the brilliant minds of Square, being able to capture the themes of rememberance, what we need vs. what we want, and deception in one glorious package.

    This game garners a perfect ten out of me, and keep in mind that this is my opinion.
    Full Review »