Direct Mini

Square Enix dominates underwhelming Nintendo Direct Mini with 2 new games

A Kingdom Hearts rhythm game and Final Fantasy Legend re-releases.

The many rumors about a new Nintendo Direct in late August 2020 were true, because Nintendo dropped another surprise Direct Mini Partner Showcase Wednesday morning. The presentation didn't contain new information on first-party games like the Mario 35th Anniversary Collection or Breath of the Wild 2 and instead put the focus on third-party games from other publishers like Just Dance 2021 and Puyo Puyo Tetris 2.

While the presentation at large felt like a bit of a letdown, Square Enix stole the show with announcements related to two of its biggest franchises: Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy. And yet, even release dates for these upcoming Switch games might leave you wanting more.

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory release date revealed

The Nintendo Direct Mini presentation kicked off by revealing a release date for Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. The game will be released on Nintendo Switch in addition to PS4 and Xbox One on November 13, 2020, and it's already available to pre-purchase on the Nintendo eShop. As the first new title in the series since Kingdom Hearts III, Melody of Memory is a rhythm game with levels and music based on Disney movies and the other Kingdom Hearts games.

The game will also include a gallery of major cutscenes from previous Kingdom Hearts games, boss battles, multiplayer that can support up to eight players locally on Nintendo Switch. If you're thinking about skipping this spin-off, we wouldn't recommend it as it does continue the overarching story of the Kingdom Hearts series. Its plot can get confusing if you miss a game, especially as this story focuses on catching up with Kairi.

While it's not Kingdom Hearts IV, Melody of Memory kicks off a new era for the Kingdom Hearts series after the shocking Kingdoms Hearts III ending. Nintendo was able to snag the release date announcement, making for a strong opening for a presentation that was otherwise just mediocre.

Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend announced

About halfway through the presentation, Square Enix dropped an announcement related to the Final Fantasy series as well. Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend was confirmed and will launch as a Nintendo Switch exclusive on December 15, 2020. Similar to 2019's Collection of Mana re-release, this collection reintroduces three often forgotten Final Fantasy games to a new generation.

The three titles in question are The Final Fantasy Legend, Final Fantasy Legend 2, and Final Fantasy Legend 3. These were turn-based RPGs for the Game Boy that have activity-based progression like Final Fantasy 2 or Skryim where players get better at certain actions through repeated use. While this series started as Final Fantasy spin-offs for the Game Boy, they laid the groundwork for Square Enix's Romancing SaGa series.

The Final Fantasy Legend games are mostly forgotten Game Boy spin-offs of Square Enix's most popular series.

Square Enix

While Romancing SaGa stayed more niche in the west than series like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, it's still going strong with the mobile game Romancing SaGa Re;universe. This collection will reintroduce the series to players and includes some new quality of life features like character speed boosts, screen magnification, a retro display mode, and the ability to play in Japanese or English.

If you want to emulate the Game Boy experience, Square Enix will even let players go through the game while holding the Switch vertically in handheld mode. If you are a fan of Final Fantasy but have missed out on the Final Fantasy Legend and SaGa games, then this collection will finally give you the chance to see what you've been missing out on.

The Inverse Analysis — Square Enix is also releasing a Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition later this week. In general, a Kingdom Hearts rhythm game and the Final Fantasy Legend re-release seem like odd choices when many fans of the developer's classic JRPGs might prefer to see games like Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, and/or Final Fantasy VI ported on the Nintendo Switch instead. We can still hold out hope.

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