Game: Yokai Watch
Publisher(s): Level-5 (Japan) Nintendo (U.S.)
Release Date: July 11th, 2013 (Japan) November 16th, 2015 ( North America) December 15th, 2015 (Austrailia) April 29th, 2016 (Europe)
Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing away at the new(at least to the U.S.) game by Level Five, Yokai Watch. For those of you that don’t know, Yokai Watch is a role playing game based off the incredibly popular anime of the same name. In Japan many are praising it as the second coming of Pokemon.
Let’s start with a little bit of backstory since this isn’t a series most are familiar with. The main Character is an 11-year-old boy named Nate(in the game you can choose to be either male or female) who with the help of his Yokai
Butler, a spirit or Yokai named Whisper, meets, befriends and battles new troublesome Yokai spirits.
Our game begins with Nate heading off into the mountains to collect bugs for his summer project. It’s here that he encounters a mysterious capsule machine, after opening up a capsule, Whisper emerges and teaches you all about the mysterious Yokai that inhabit our world. He also provides you with a Yokai Watch, the watch itself is worn on your wrist and used to see Yokai as well as summon Yokai friends via their respective medallions. From there the game takes off, Battling and collecting Yokai as you explore a small town as well as Japanese city.
The battle system is where this monster collecting game sets itself apart. You choose six Yokai to take into battle, a front and back row of three each. Your Yokai will act independently in real time; you can, however, drop a pin to target a particular enemy and use items.The only actions you control are their Ultimate or “Soultimate” moves(I see what they did there), to use such a move you must first charge a Yokai’s “soul meter” and then play a minigame such as tracing a picture on the lower touch screen. These minigame segments get old very fast. They’re probably the most tedious announce in Yokai’s combat system.
Throughout the game, you collect Yokai by making friends with them in battle. To do this, you have to get an enemy to like you, usually be feeding them during a fight. If a Yokai likes you, enough it will approach you after battle and offer to be friends, if you agree you collect its Yokai medallion and can call on them anytime.
The games story is surprisingly adult at times for a game that is clearly targeted towards kids. One quest early on has you befriending a Yokai named Jibanya(sort of the Pikachu of this series) who is the spirit of a cat who was hit by a truck.He stands on a street corner attacking any trucks that drive by thus causing mischief as Yokai do.One quest even dealt with one of Nates friends Bear fearing his parents may be getting divorced when he loses his mothers wedding ring.
This game features graphics that put current Pokemon games to shame, a battle system that’s fast paced although repetitive at times and charming characters that feel fun and memorable. I enjoyed my 40 plus hours and hope the sequel makes its way westward sooner rather than later.
Score: 7 out of 10