Lighting the fires of excitement for Yo-Kai Watch

Yokai watch, youkai, jibanyanIt was the first game I played on my Japanese 3DS, a game made by one of my favorite gaming companies, Level 5. That is, until Level 5’s CEO said on a press conference some months ago that adult don’t play games on handhelds, but I digress. Anyways, back to my first adventure on the Japanese 3DS, Yo-Kai Watch! Not long now until the game is released in the US, on November 6th, unfortunately a European date hasn’t been given yet. What surprises me though, is that it’s so quiet around the game, I had expected more of a hype! Time to light the fires of excitement here then, because I feel the game certainly deserves it.

The game we will be getting is the first of the three that have already been released in Japan, where the game and the animé series are a huge success. There are several spin offs too, like Yo-kai Watch Busters (a beat them up action style game) and Yo-Kai Watch Three Kingdoms (a cross over game between Yokai Watch and Koei Techmo’s Three Kingdoms). But for now, let’s get started with the first one in the West.

For those who haven’t read anything about Yo-kai Watch, here’s what the game is about:
One day, your character, who is living in a charming little town called Sakura, comes across a strange capsule machine in the woods while looking for bugs to catch. When he or she opens one of the capsules the first Yokai comes out, called Whisper. Whisper gives you a device known as the Yokai Watch, with which you can find and befriend Yokai, which can best be described as spirits or demons. The Yokai cause all kinds of mischief around town, there are some 200 of those, so the collectors among us can rejoice. You have to win them over by battling with them, using the Yokai that are already in your team.

Yokai, whisper, jibanyan, quests

The collecting and the battling remind me of Pokémon, but the rest of the game is quite different. There are no random battles, you have to explore the town to find the Yokai, sometimes switching to search mode: sort of a filtered screen that allows you to see the ghosts. In search mode you will for instance see some people who are possessed by Yokai, and you will have to free them by battling.

The battle system is not like in Pokémon: with different Yokai you’ll have to play different mini games during battles to make them unleash their moves. Optimizing the use of moves, making maximum impact with the mini games and choosing which three of your six Yokai is the task of the player. Because your Yokai are positioned on a sort of wheel, three will battle, three will rest, regenerating their health.

Yokai watch, youkai watch, Sakura, demonThe story-line is good, you have to battle boss demons and you’ll be busy enough doing lots of requests for the townsfolk to receive special items. Even more special are the coins you’ll gather to use in the Gashapon machine (a vending machine for capsules with little toys in it). I have a feeling that many people tend to compare the game to Pokémon, which is understandable because of the collecting and the animé series. But to me, this game played very different. I would almost say the graphics and the world-feeling (is that even a word?) are even better in this game. It’s suggested that this is a game that’s just for kids, but as an adult I can safely say that you’ll find the game play fun and addictive.

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