What is Yo-Kai Watch?
Yo-Kai Watch is a role playing game in which players take on the role of a young boy or girl, and embark on a summer time adventure/project in catching, raising and taming the town's meddlesome Yo-Kai - little spirit creatures that love to cause trouble wherever they go. In a similar vein to Pokemon, players can recruit Yo-Kai to their team, and use them to battle with other errant Yo-Kai, solving problems for the various townsfolk as they go, whether it be finding the source of a 'cold' ravaging a nursery, retrieving a stolen pair of lucky undies by force, or helping a friend find his mom's lost ring.
How do you play Yo-Kai Watch?
Most of your time with Yo-Kai Watch will be spent wandering around town, talking to and accepting missions from the locals, who'll almost certainly have a problem they'll want you to solve. You'll soon discover that almost every problem in town is actually caused by the troublesome Yo-Kai, no matter how it may appear on the surface - and so by using a combination of your hot/cold Yo-Kai detector, and a special magnifying glass to examine the environment for Yo-Kai causing trouble, it's up to you to find the problem-causing Yo-Kai, and put it in its place.
Once you find one behaving badly, you'll likely have to teach it a lesson with a battle. Here, your team of six Yo-Kai arrange themselves in a circle on your 3DS' Touch Screen - the three Yo-Kai in front are your active trio in battle, while the rear stay in reserve. Rotating the wheel will let you rotate through the Yo-Kai you have in battle, while your Yo-Kai will attack of their own accord - all you need to do is give them a few pointers, either marking out a target for their attacks, choosing to let rip with one of their special attacks, or curing their status effects on their behalf. Some special attacks require a bit of interaction on your part too, via a short Touch Screen-based mini-game to charge things up, perhaps swirling a vortex, tapping some bubbles or tracing some shapes.
How easy is Yo-Kai Watch to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Yo-Kai Watch is fairly easy to learn, as it plays out in a fairly similar way to many adventure games. Mostly played out from an isometric style perspective, it does call on your intuition, as it's up to you to explore the areas, and find the Yo-Kai, using the aforementioned detector. Getting to grips with the battles may be a bit of an uphill struggle at first, as despite the fact your characters will attack automatically, there's actually a surprising amount to manage and think about.
Yo-Kai Watch also has a bit of a strange preoccupation with rules. If you stay out past your bedtime, or don't cross the road in the designated places, the game will let you know by either throwing a pretty much unbeatable boss fight at you, or by entering a kind of punishment world known as 'Terror Time'. Terror Time relies on you being stealthy, and sneaking around town to reach the exit, avoiding the many patrols of bad guys in the process - it can be quite difficult, as well as potentially scary for some. On the plus side, you can save whenever you want whilst exploring around the town, although the game's infrequent dungeons do only allow you to save at certain points.
For the youngest of players, a good reading ability is a must, so this may be a little bit too tricky for them. With a lot of reading to be done - and with said reading being essential to knowing what to do, and understanding the story - a confident reading ability is a must
- "Allow myself to be of assistance to thee and... myself. Ready thyself, evildoer!"
- "Don't make Sproink get outta dis tub and settle you down hisself! *snort*"
- "Oh, the Yo-manity! It's 190 years! Can you imagine it? That's 19 decades!"
As with many Nintendo games, Yo-Kai Watch has little in the way of mature content - there's no sex, no bad language and no guts and gore as far as the eye can see. Violence is of a distinctly slap-stick and largely unseen variety; the Yo-Kai creatures battle it out with various punches, kicks and magical attacks, but there's no contact shown, merely cartoon-y impact symbols and sparks. Defeated enemies simply disappear in a puff of smoke at the end of the battle.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS