Yo-Kai Watch Review

Ben Flygare

Yo-Kai Watch for the Nintendo 3DS is an enjoyable, and fun experience that all can enjoy.

As a fan of many Japanese RPGs, culture, and monster collecting games, when I heard about Yo-Kai Watch and its popularity in Japan, I found myself praying for a Western release. Well, in November 2015 my wish had finally come true, and I was able to get my hands on this fabled game.

Yo-Kai Watch runs in the same vein as other monster collecting games such as the Pokemon series. What sets it apart is that the “Yo-kai” you meet throughout the game are based on actual myths, legends, monsters, and spirits that are prevalent in the Japanese culture’s spiritual history. Obviously, there are some that do not follow this rule; but for the most part, as you collect you can actually learn a little bit about Japan’s myths.

The story follows two main characters that are dependent on the gender you choose to play. Your choices are two young elementary school children, Nate and Katie. The game starts off with you collecting insects for a school assignment during the summer, the main character is outdone by their classmates and friends who are collecting bigger, better, and more insects. Not wanting to be left by the wayside, your character searches the forest located near the local temple for the best insects. While exploring the forest he meets Whisper, who is the first of many Yo-Kai that will the characters will befriend during their quest. With the help of Whisper and the other Yo-Kai, Nate and Katie help people throughout the city with problems associated with (and more often caused by) rogue Yo-Kai.

There were many things about the game that I loved and enjoyed. First and foremost is the soundtrack. The songs are very light hearted, catchy and have an almost “mystical” sound to them that I liked so much that I would often find myself humming and whistling along to the tunes. Another plus was hinted at earlier, which is the roster of Yo-Kai that are available. I knew from the beginning that I would be building a team based on samurai and banchous due to my fascination with them. The designs are not only traditionally based, but some of them were so silly that it just made the game that much more fun. (I’m looking at you Cheeksqueak).

The dialogue of the game was another highlight and made the actual story fun and made me eager to keep going. The banter between the main character and Whisper was always delightful and, more often than not, quite unexpected with where it went.

The hardest thing for me to get used to was the battle system. Being a fan of Pokemon and other similar RPGs, I was expecting the battle format to be pretty similar. Instead, you find yourself more in something that is more a “coach” kind of role instead of a “controller.” What this means is that instead of picking what your Yo-Kai will do in battle, rather they do it themselves and you remain behind the scenes. Just make sure you keep up their health with items and doing special moves called “Soultimate” moves. You can, however, do things that pull the battle into a way you want. Your Yo-Kai have a few different things they do that include attacking, defending, lazing around, healing and what is called “inspiriting” which is a debuff that they inflict on the enemy Yo-Kai to prevent them from attacking. Another option on the battle chart is “Purify” which gets rid of the “Inspirit” debuff. You can also change your Yo-Kai’s personality and attitude to make them more prone to a certain pattern such as changing their personality to “Grouchy” or “Rough” will make them more prone to attack more than another.

Yo-Kai Watch has been a very enjoyable and fun ride that I would recommend to anyone who wants a game that will be light and fun throughout. On a scale of 1-10, I would give Yo-Kai Watch a solid 9.

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