The monster collecting genre! A very popular genre in terms of gaming, due to the popularity of Pokemon, which almost everyone in the world knows about by now. (Oh, yeah, I forgot, happy 20th anniversary Pokemon!)
However, it has what we Americans mis-consider a “Rival”. And that would be Yo-kai Watch.
The series follows Keita/Nate (Or Fumika/Katie if you’re playing as the female character), who, while catching bugs for a summer project, find a strange crank machine that demands to feed it. Katie/Nate insert a coin in the slot, and Whisper, a Yo-kai, comes out, and explains to Katie/Nate what a Yo-kai is.
A Yo-kai is a invisible supernatural creature of sorts, causing many of the troubles people see daily. Most of them are based on Japanese mythology, however, due to the american localization, they made it a bit harder to figure out what Yo-kai is based on what. (Though there are a few obvious ones if you know a little bit about Japanese mythology and folklore.)
To see these Yo-kai, Whisper gives Nate/Katie a Yo-kai Watch, a watch used for seeing and summoning Yo-kai she/he has befriended.
HE SAID IT! ROLL CREDITS!
*Dis gam was made by 5 levels and a bunch of Japanese people and translated by a bunch of random people who think going to a hot spring is an ‘murican thing.*
Nah, I’m only kidding.
Back to the game…
This is where the annoying Pokemon rip-off accusations come in. Well, I already wrote about that, so there’s no use complaining about it now.
If I were to describe the plotline, it’s very episodic. For me, it feels like the first season of a TV show, (Hey, what do you know, Yo-kai Watch does have a very popular anime with an English dub.) with it’s focus on one situation to the next. The story isn’t exactly the main focus here.
But what I must praise is the game’s dialogue. Good god, this dialogue is hilarious! Think of it kind of like Earthbound, which is a game I’ve recently had the experience of enjoying. Also, the humor also has bad puns, which means the game is literally Chuggaaconroy: The Game.
Worth mentioning in terms of characters is Whisper, your side-kick that I wish was playable. He’s freaking amazing, with quotes like: “Jaywalking won’t save you!”, you can tell why I think he’s awesome. I’m a pretty big fan of humorous (Or snarky) companions when done right, (Ezlo and Midna come to mind when I think of this) so Whisper was easily added to my “Favorite Sidekicks” list.
Now, for gameplay.
The gameplay is much like Xenoblade Chronicles, where your three characters (Or Yo-kai, in this case.) attack automatically (This game also allows you to change the positioning of the team in one battle, which is pretty cool.) However, you can support them in battle by getting rid of inspirits (The game’s equivalent of debuffs, as well what many NPCs have to deal with almost daily.) giving them items to heal themselves or attempt to befriend an enemy Yo-kai, and helping them do Soultimates, the game’s equivalent of a super-move.
I must praise the battle system personally, despite the fact I’m terrible at it, much like Xenoblade. Even though the whole concept of auto-attacking might turn off someone, it’s much deeper than you think. Some Yo-kai have abilities that can benefit (Or not benefit at all) your team. And some Soultimates are better than others, and some Yo-kai are more overpowered than others.
But there’s one problem: Befriending Yo-kai. You see, you have to give a Yo-kai it’s favorite foo for it to befriend you. Simple, right? WRONG. The game gives you little hints as to what a Yo-kai’s favorite food is, so it’s an annoying process of trial and error. And don’t get me started when a Yo-kai doesn’t befriend you even when you have given it it’s favorite food. (*Cough, cough* Castellious III *Cough, cough*)
Back to the positives, we have the sidequests of the game.
These sidequests are really well done. Not only do they give extra rewards, but it adds more detail to the world of Yo-kai Watch. The sidequests revolve around people’s many mishaps caused by Yo-kai, like not being seen or eating too much. But sometimes you’ll have to have the Yo-kai help solve people’s problems as well, such as a school idol not wanting to be noticed.
And one other thing:
There’s A LOT of detail in this game. I know I might sound like a graphics ***** here, but there’s a good amount of color and shine this game has to it’s world. It’s just… really pretty.
As for other complaints…
Upgrading the Yo-kai Watch. Sometimes you have to do it to progress the plot, and I HATE IT! It’s repetitive and wastes quite a bit of time. Oh, geez…
Terror Time. It’s a mechanic that occurs randomly where Nate/Katie is sucked into a nighmare world where they’re being chased by Gargaros (Or Oni.). If you’ve played any of the Etrian Odyssey series, then you probably know where this is going. It’s quite aggravating when you’re just on your way, doing sidequests, and then, out of FREAKING NOWHERE, Terror Time happens. Oops, you didn’t slip away from Gargaros, here, FREE GAME OVER! *Final Fantasy victory theme*
This is where I bash stuff that may not bother you, but personally bothers me.
- I’m not a fan of the English voice acting. It’s a bit cheesy for my tastes. (There are a few pieces of gold though, like: “BETTERFLY!” The cry of the most majestic creature.)
- There’s a part in the plot you might miss if you don’t pay attention to the details. (I’m not spoiling it, since you find out what it is late-game.
End of Nitpicking,
Overall, Yo-kai Watch is a good game with some flaws. With it’s charming writing, fun gameplay, and nice details, I must give Yo-kai Watch an 8/10. Now I’m hoping the second game improves on everything-
WAIT, YOU CAN HAVE KOMASAN FOLLOW YOU IN THE SECOND GAME!? LOCALIZE IT NOW NINTENDO! I NEED IT!