Yo-kai Watch (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Brandon Howard 19.12.2015 2

Review for Yo-kai Watch on Nintendo 3DS

Yo-kai Watch has been a smash hit in Japan since its debut in 2013, enrapturing audiences through its games, manga adaptations, and anime series. Until now, its popularity has largely been confined to its home country, but Level-5 and Nintendo have finally started to move its massive popularity to a western audience. Level-5 is no stranger to games, with a long track record of highly praised titles, ranging from Professor Layton and the Curious Village to Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. An excellent pedigree and a charming cast of characters make this title a promising start for the series on the Nintendo 3DS.

Opening up on the protagonist meeting their friends, the story follows either a young boy or girl adventuring and exploring their town of Springdale. Early on, while exploring a nearby forest, they come across a long-since abandoned capsule machine. The machine prompts them to feed it a coin, and they do so, unwittingly releasing their first Yo-kai, Whisper.

Whisper is the main character's guide to the world of Yo-kai Watch, and he follows them throughout the game, offering helpful advice about the mechanics and his fellow Yo-kai. He's also a major source of the game's comedy, which is utterly charming and reminiscent of other popular kid-friendly JRPGs. The narrative doesn't really move at an exact cadence, so the story can be progressed through at a very free pace. While there are constant objectives to complete, they're never so pressing that there isn't time to go scout out a nearby cave to find more Yo-kai.

Unsurprisingly, a large focus is placed on befriending the more than two-hundred Yo-kai found throughout Springdale and the surrounding area. It's a bit less straightforward than, say, catching Pokémon in that series of games, but it's pretty simple in its own right. Almost all Yo-kai fought have a small chance to ask to join the team after being defeated in battle, and feeding them their favourite food can greatly expedite this process. Other Yo-kai can be recruited through the aforementioned capsule machine, through story-based events, evolution, and even by fusing with other Yo-kai or items.

Screenshot for Yo-kai Watch on Nintendo 3DS

Befriending the Yo-kai is one of the biggest excitements while playing, and searching out and finding them is surprisingly addictive. They're hidden throughout the entire world, but thanks to the Yo-kai Watch accessory, they can be spotted through its lens. Using the touch screen and stylus, the watch's reticule can be trained on Yo-kai scattered around town, who usually end up fighting right at first, but can also give out quests to complete, offering items or a chance to add them to Yo-kai Compendium. Since each one has their own personality, finding the ones that match a particular style is really a ton of fun.

With such a huge selection to choose from, there's a massive amount of variety in team creation. The Yo-kai Watch itself holds up to six creatures at a time, and linking Yo-kai that belong to the same tribe gives a little boost to their stats in battle. Each tribe has its own specialties, so while having six of the same type might seem like the best solution, crafting a team that can respond to any situation might take a bit more finesse. Still, creating a team that perfectly mixes balance and personal appeal makes for a great since of achievement when it's finally pulled off.

Battles themselves don't have a whole lot of complexity, and it is one of the few times the pacing struggles. For the most part, battles just consist of the Yo-kai fighting automatically against the enemies on screen. While there are powerful ultimate moves unique to each Yo-kai that do require player interaction, they're pretty easy to input and don't add a whole lot to battles. While there are a few other ways to interact with battles, they don't always feel as rewarding as they maybe could.

Combat does, however, really shine when facing off against the larger Yo-kai bosses fought throughout the story. The bosses take quite a bit more strategy to pull off—not so much that they become impossible, but enough that a little bit more thought needs to be put into targeting specific weak points, or balancing different types of Yo-kai being used. The puzzle aspect these bosses provide adds a lot of complexity to the combat system, and this complexity is the one thing that Yo-kai Watch definitely could have used a little more of.

Screenshot for Yo-kai Watch on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Yo-kai Watch is definitely an all-ages RPG. Everything from the dialogue to the battle system feels very light-hearted, and that's definitely not a bad thing. With a huge amount of media related to it out there, being accessible to anyone who might want to play through it is a major strength. Despite its kid-friendly appearance, there's a lot to like here, either for fans of the animated series, or just for someone looking to pick up a low-stress RPG. With hugely appealing characters and highly addictive gameplay, Yo-kai Watch has really set itself up for long-lasting success as a franchise.

Yo-kai Watch can be bought from Play-Asia.com today in 3DS card format, or digital eShop codes can easily be purchased for any region.

Image for

Developer

Level-5

Publisher

Level-5

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Comments

Really like the sound of this game and have been a little hyped for it even. Definitely seems like an RPG I can enjoy, with it's more lighthearted approach.

Just hope it gets a release date in Europe soon!

Many wont be fond of the auto style Combat, i didnt at first, but as you give it a chance, you will start to realise its actually fun in it's own right. i approve of this game.

I'm doing the right thing, when no one else wanted to.

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