KH1: Ranking All Worlds From The Original Kingdom HeartsThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Kingdom Hearts 1 will always remain a nostalgic and well-treasured classic.
Being able to not only hang out with your favorite childhood characters, whether it’s a Disney or Final Fantasy character, but also getting the chance to explore their worlds and be a part of their stories is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Seeing what these unique and creative universes have to offer besides what was shown on the big screen is such a fun time. And the worlds are still memorable to this day.
So join me as we venture through all the worlds of the first Kingdom Hearts, to find out which ones are the absolute best of the bunch.
13. Deep Jungle
Starting our little world tour is an overgrown jungle, one that’s rather deep if you would.
In my opinion this world is the most lacking.
There isn’t much too see besides campsite boxes, trees, and leaves. The whole level looks the same and can be very easy to get lost and confused in, especially if it’s your first time playing.
Every area looks the same green and yellow, with only a few landmarks to keep track of.
Don’t even get me started on the clunky, broken mess that is… vine swinging… *shudders*
Tarzan isn’t exactly an exciting movie to be a part of, either.
The characters don’t interact in any fun or meaningful ways, besides a few scenes with Tarzan himself. The most you’ll get from interactions come from Sora, Donald, and Goofy, having just recently met and trying to work together.
Other than that, this world really doesn’t offer anything worth writing home about.
Except maybe the monkey heartless, they’re good boys.
Now the strange thing about Neverland is that it’s less of a Disney world, and more of a start to the game’s climax.
This is where, without spoiling too much, reunions take place and plot gears start to turn.
Rather than visiting actual Neverland, you’re spending most of your time on Hook’s ship.
This makes for a rather repetitive environment with not a lot to really see. Just lots of wood planks and boxes.
The closest you’ll get to leaving the ship is flying around a giant clock tower, which is boring but kind of pretty.
Even still, the interactions between the whole cast of characters aboard the ship makes up for the lack of scenery.
Hook is always a fun and chaotic villain, Sora and the surprise guest (no spoilers) have great interactions, and Peter Pan is kind of obnoxious.
As I’ve said, this world is focused less of being a Disney world and more of a steppingstone to the end of your journey, so we can cut it a little slack for being the way it is.
In later games you’ll get to explore the other parts of Neverland, if you’re that excited to see it.
11. 100 Acre Wood
The 100 Acre Wood is much different from the rest of the worlds.
Rather than hacking and slashing heartless through a world’s story, you’re here to just hang out and have a good time with Winnie the Pooh and the gang.
Lots of random minigames are unlocked as you collect more and more Torn Pages.
Now for some people, this world can be an immediate turn off. Why would I want to waste my time playing random childish and clunky minigames when there’s darkness to be defeated?
Well despite its optional status, the 100 Acre Wood is actually quite plentiful with useful and important rewards.
You can get a new summon, new abilities, weapons, and materials that can be used to work towards the Ultima Weapon.
With rewards to be gotten and pleasant times to be had, it’s nice to take a small break from your journey and relax inside a childhood wonder.
However, even a peaceful place like this can lead to frustration, as many minigames can be hard to control and be overall clunky. So patience is key to having a good time here, for many reasons.
Jumping from world to world in your Gummi Ship can be pretty hectic.
There’s countless Heartless and other enemies out to try and destroy you.
After the enemy swarms you think you can relax and enjoy a peaceful glide… but nobody mentioned the potential for space whales!
Monstro is one of the most unique and creative concepts for a “world”.
After being swallowed up in their Gummi Ship, Sora and the Gang have to traverse the insides of Monstro the Whale from Pinocchio.
While a lot of good moments and story beats happen inside the big mammal, the world overall is a trippy and disorienting mess.
Most rooms are covered floor to ceiling with this colorful gooey texture that looks the same everywhere.
Each room consists of mainly platforms and hills, so don’t go looking for easy landmarks either.
The music looping over and over as you traverse the innards of a whale is enough to drive anyone batty.
It’s all just a bad time, and getting lost just means fighting heartless over and overlooking for a way out.
I guess you could say this world is pretty over-whale-ming.
9. Olympus Coliseum
The Olympus Coliseum is really only a bunch of glorified boss fights, all taking place within 1-2 rooms.
If you’re aching to explore, this isn’t the place to do so.
Wait until Olympus in Kingdom Hearts 2 and KH3 for that.
Instead of exploration, you’re here to prove to Phil that you’re a true Hero.
The ensuing boss fights can be lots of fun and get really exciting later on with surprise visits from Hades, and maybe some Final Fantasy characters wink-wink.
It’s a good time to show off how strong Sora has become with each visit, leading up to the strongest secret boss.
The story is rather small and quick here, but is still fun to see.
The Hercules characters have a good chemistry with Sora too, and create some great moments.
Hades is always a joy to see, as he’s one of Disney’s best villains.
Even so, it would be nice to have more than 3 rooms for the world, and maybe meet other characters as well – but that’ll have to wait.
Donald always talked about the importance of keeping the World Order, but he never mentioned you’d have to sacrifice your legs to do so!
The first thing you’ll immediately notice when first visiting Atlantica is everyone’s undersea transformations.
You can’t expect to see a duck, dog, and human just breathing underwater. It’s just unnatural.
Clearly a duck octopus and a dog turtle makes much more sense.
Not only are your appearances changed, but your entire attack repertoire and movement is turned on its head.
This can be a fun change of pace, or extremely annoying, depending on who you are. Luckily, if it’s too clunky and irritating for you, Atlantica is an optional world that you can skip.
Between the pretty ocean scenery and interesting dynamic of the characters, it’s almost worth putting up with your lack of abilities and confusing layout.
King Triton creates an interesting dilemma for Sora by telling him that Keyblades aren’t always a good thing and could create ruin for worlds.
This is the first instance of foreshadowing for the Keyblade War, and various other plot elements, which is all really cool to see looking back.
Get your walking shoes ready, because our next stop is through the sandy deserts and ancient city of Agrabah.
Agrabah is almost a constant in Kingdom Heart games, appearing in all but 2 or 3 games in the series, and for good reason.
Usually, I’m not a fan of desert levels.
But Agrabah always manages to be entertaining.
Despite its sandy and plain appearance, there’s plenty to do in this world.
From exploring the walls of the city itself, to traversing the harsh desert, to even spelunking for treasure in the Cave of Wonders!
There’s lots of fun and pretty scenery, as well as really fun Heartless designs to match the world’s aesthetic.
The characters of Agrabah maintain a fun chemistry with the group, having them act as Aladdin’s friend group rather than just being along for the ride.
This bond lasts through multiple games and stories, which makes for a good time all-around.
Wonderland makes for an incredible first world thematically.
Sora has just recently been thrown out of his normal lifestyle and thrusted into a world of chaos and madness.
Nothing here makes sense, from growing and shrinking into places, to talking animals and card guards, to a cat who only speaks in riddles.
It’s the perfect world to make the player feel as out of placed and confused as Sora is.
Wonderland itself can feel a bit claustrophobic and boxed in, with each room being a literal box with flat walls and flat sky boxes.
It’s definitely the most PS2 feeling world, but that could be its intended purpose given it’s a world of madness.
Various little puzzles thrown about the world help give the world it’s unstable and wacky energy – not to mention the chaotic score that echoes throughout the world and throughout your ears at night.
It all makes for a pretty enjoyable experience.
5. The End of the World
For our next stop on our world tour we have, well, The End of the World.
Pretty terrifying isn’t it?
Surreal and ominous, this world makes for an incredibly powerful final act to your journey.
At least visually and thematically.
The world itself is a menacing and intense void and cavern of darkness, swarming with boss fights and heartless.
However, that’s where this world falters a bit.
There’s just so many boss fights and group encounters that it can be pretty tiring after a while.
So if you aren’t riding the end of the game hype wave, you might get a little exhausted of this place. The bigger boss fights such as Chernabog and Ansem are obviously very exciting and really cool fights, but the never-ending behemoths and darksides are a bit irritated to grind through.
Not only must you travel through the empty abyss of darkness, but you must also travel through various rooms from the other worlds you’ve encountered on your journey, creating a final world tour for your goodbyes.
And this all leads up to a reunion with your first and original home, Destiny Islands, now overtaken by darkness.
Despite its flaws, I couldn’t think of a better place to end the game.
4. Destiny Islands
Ah, Destiny Islands.
This relaxing getaway is where this whole crazy ride started.
Just a couple of simple islands inhabited by a small group of people.
Destiny Islands is a lovely tropical place to be. After exploring the island to get your raft supplies, you’ll understand why Sora would want to return here – and you’ll be confused as to why Riku wants to leave.
The Destiny Islands play a pretty big role in the themes and story of Kingdom Hearts. And not just the first game, but various other ones afterwards.
Seeing what Sora is used to really puts an emphasis on how every other world is vastly different and almost out of place.
Going from some normal looking islands to a town inhabited by animal people, or becoming a merman underwater, truly feels like an otherworldly experience.
This world is definitely the place you’d want to plan your vacation, though. With its beautiful ocean, shady trees, and bopping main theme, you’ll never want to go anywhere else.
That is, until it becomes a darkness infested hellscape and puts a damper on your travel plans.
Thanks a lot, Ansem…
3. Halloween Town
This might be a more biased and personal opinion, but I always find the Nightmare Before Christmas worlds to be the absolute best of the bunch.
I’m always so excited to get to them and explore the wonderfully creepy world of Halloween Town.
Every area, texture, design, etc. is packed with love and care for the original’s gothic and haunted art style.
There’s plenty of unique touches from the new costumes Sora, Donald, and Goofy wear, to the spookified Heartless, it’s all a great festive time.
Not only is the world itself great – but the story is also super unique and connected to the overall game, rather than being a rehash of the movie.
Jack Skellington, being the frightening aficionado that he is, is actually trying to work with and experimenting on the Heartless to add them to his show.
All of the other worlds have been fearing and trying to defeat the Heartless. So it’s interesting to see such a change of pace.
2. Traverse Town
Ask anyone who played the original Kingdom Hearts which world they remember most.
Their answer will most likely be Traverse Town.
There’s just something incredibly memorable about this world. I don’t know if it’s the art style, the wacky design of the buildings, the peaceful theme song, or what… but this town is a staple to the Kingdom Hearts name.
It’s the world where remnants of other worlds reside after being swallowed by the Heartless, giving refuge to those in need.
Sora finds himself here after Destiny Islands gets destroyed. And he gets to meet others who have had a similar fate.
These people help Sora slowly understand his situation and guide him in the right direction.
Seeing all of your favorite Final Fantasy characters is sure to be a treat to any RPG fan, and seeing them work together despite never meeting in their games is such a fun experience.
1. Hollow Bastion
Hollow Bastion is the world that makes you realize the stakes and weight of your journey, and of the game itself.
Basically, it’s where things get real.
After having visited countless Disney world after Disney world, you’re thrown into a completely new and unfamiliar world.
One that’s desolate and ominous.
A lone, broken castle looms overhead, bearing the Heartless sigil.
One look and you know this is where your adventure starts to take a serious turn.
You’re filled with questions as to what might have happened to this ruined town as you explore the halls of the castle.
A desperate and lonely Beast is all you have to try and fight back against the forces that stand in your way.
Quite of few intense and very memorable boss fights are to come as Sora’s fight comes to a close.
This world’s story, scenery, and environment will stand to set a precedent for every future game to come.
One could say this is where the true essence of Kingdom Hearts starts. So buckle up, as you’re in for a wild ride.