Yo-kai Watch 3 (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Tomas Barry 24.01.2019

Review for Yo-kai Watch 3 on Nintendo 3DS

The Yo-Kai Watch franchise has been huge ever since the initial 2013 Nintendo DS release. It sparked an entire franchise, including films and TV series and shows no signs of letting up any time soon. Due to the difficulty involved in localisation, Europe, North America and Australia have typically faced a two-year wait for release in their region. However, it's surprising that's remained the case for the third instalment. Granted, the 3DS is being treated to an array of titles in its winding down years, so it's not irrelevant by any means. However, had Yo-Kai Watch 3 reached further shores quicker after its initial 2016 release in Japan, it would probably achieve even better numbers. With that said, considering the popularity of Yo-kai Watch, it's difficult to envisage the fans not lapping this up in droves, regardless of timing. Better hunt down that 3DS charger and get exploring St Peanutsburg!

This Yo-Kai Watch 3 is an ultimate combination of sorts, integrating all the Yo-kai and unique elements from the three versions that were released back in 2016; Tempura, Sushi and Sukiyaki - into one package. With this project, Level-5 has certainly produced a celebration of sorts for the handheld series, which works equally well for newcomers looking for something with a similar slant as the classic handheld Pokémon formula. The games certainly do pander to that audience, with vibrant worlds, full of mysterious Yo-kai creatures that are both friend and foe, not to mention its tight battle system. Based on 'Yōkai,' which are the monsters, spirits and demons in Japanese folklore, Yo-kai Watch is a really intriguing universe, which quickly draws players in with its sense of charm, mystery and adventure. Although the game series has never quite exploded across the world with the same success as Pokémon, this third edition is a fantastic prospect for RPG fans looking to extended the life of their 3DS.

Screenshot for Yo-kai Watch 3 on Nintendo 3DS

Yo-Kai Watch 3 integrates the Blasters mode, first seen in Yo-Kai Watch 2 and then expanded in the Sukiyaki edition, into the experience. Infinitely more impressive than that, however, this edition somehow merges the story, characters and locations of Tempura and Sushi versions, in a way that actually works. The cutbacks between Hailey in Springdale and Nathan in his new American-themed environment known as St. Peanutsburg, work surprisingly well and certainly doesn't come across as a forced makeshift combination, which was the risk. However, it's the tweaks and revisions to the battle system, which really improves the experience over its predecessors. Combat still plays out in the same way, with Yo-kai initiating attacks without prompt, but the new Tactics Medal Board, which occupies the bottom screen, brings an interesting new dimension to the existing formula. Players have to keep their Yo-kai aligned with their opponents on the grid, and the choice of formation significantly effects how battles play out, bringing more variety to every encounter.

Screenshot for Yo-kai Watch 3 on Nintendo 3DS

Perhaps the only annoyance of combining the 2016 versions is that both characters obviously have their own teams of Yo-kai. In terms of the battling, it's fair to say it sometimes take a moment for the player to adjust when the game switches characters. Recalling how the player last had that character's team setup can sometimes effect the pacing and flow of the experience, but perhaps these moments are only noticeable because things are fairly fast-paced and straight-forward most of the time. On the whole, that's only a minor annoyance, because the decision to produce an ultimate version for Western consumers, rather than putting multiple editions out, gives the player the best chance of soaking up all that Yo-Kai Watch 3 has to offer. It's an upbeat mix of mini-games, battling and exploring, supported by interesting and vibrant characters, not to mention a slightly more bizarre story-line than previously seen in the video-game series.

Screenshot for Yo-kai Watch 3 on Nintendo 3DS

It's possible, however, that existing fans of the series may eventually start to find the formula of Yo-Kai Watch 3 a little repetitive, because they know that existing template far better. While featuring two main characters works surprisingly well, and their stories entertain and produce some memorable moments, the actual structure of the exploration gameplay could be more ambitious. Granted, this is also a fair criticism of the Pokémon series, but it's perhaps a little over-reliant on the item-hunting and the 'go here, come back' type of task. Fortunately, this issue is smoothed over by the title's depth of extras and side-games, integrated into the main experience, not to mention its online and local wireless battle mode. On the whole, the title has shed-loads of variety and content. Even more pleasing, it all still looks pretty great on the 3DS. Despite the system's age and lack of power under the hood, the colourful and unique aesthetic serves the adventure very well.

Screenshot for Yo-kai Watch 3 on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Yo-Kai Watch 3 is a fantastic last hurrah for the series on the 3DS platform, which is also an ideal jumping in point for new players. Although it's very much in the vein of a Pokémon-styled adventure, it's a franchise with its own interesting quirks. The battling system, which has been much improved here, offers something different, with its fast-paced special-attack mini-games and new Tactics Medal Board. On top of this, the universe of Yo-Kai Watch is very imaginative and vibrant in its own way. The concept of these creatures, influenced and based on Yōkai, is very interesting and with 600 Yo-kai in this version, that sense of discovery is palpable and ever-present. Although on a mechanical level, Yo-kai Watch 3 isn't as polished as a Pokémon title, it makes up for this in droves with its flexibility, not to mention its sense of charm and adventure. Great fun.

Developer

Level-5

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Turn Based 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   

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