Yo-Kai Watch Review

Mark Nintendo, Reviews 1 Comment

Yo-Kai Watch ArtworkI think I once ate at a restaurant called Yo-kai. It was memorable for paying ten times the price for raw fish as my local chippy would have charged me to batter and fry it, but my sushi rant is probably better served in a different post.

Yo-Kai Watch, however, is a new Nintendo 3DS role-playing game that has already taken Japan by storm. For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese mythology, Yokai are a class of supernatural spirits that take the form of humans, animals and inanimate objects. What, you think I learned this from Wikipedia as opposed to my already in-depth knowledge of Japanese folklore? Shame on you!

Nate and FumiYour story begins as a young boy or girl searching for bugs in the woods. You stumble upon a Yo-kai named Whisper, who then offers you a watch with which to see and speak to the the otherwise invisible Yo-kai.

The story mode then takes you on an adventure around the village, investigating mysteries caused by the more evil-minded Yo-kai and persuading them to use their powers for good, with literally hundreds of additional quests to be found along the way.

137925_CheeksqueekWhilst it’s impossible not to draw comparisons to Pokemon, particularly as some of the Yo-kai are equally bizarre (a bum-shaped creature that farts through its face?!), there’s a far greater depth to these characters than their Pokemon pals, drawing on their folklore origins to provide weird and often witty explanations of all the strange happenings in the universe. Like the grumpy Yo-kai responsible for your parents arguing, or the cat that got run over and and now wants to take down every passing truck it sees.

137922_BlizzariaYou can have six Yokai in your party at any one time, from which you then choose three to fight each battle. Unlike Pokemon where you choose every move, battles in Yo-kai Watch are more passive, with the strategy mostly being set before battle commences.

Once in battle, your Yokai have four things they can do. Attack, guard and special moves are self-explanatory, “loafing” less so. This is the conscientious objector of the Yo-kai world, although they can be brain-washed persuaded otherwise by morally questionable means.

There are many other options too, such as Soultimate which is their special move, Target, which aims the attack at particular enemy, Purify, which removes the status of a Yokai not in battle, and Items, which include medicine and food.

Yo-kai-battleThe longer you play, the greater number of Yokai you gain (there’s over 200 to collect), and the more advanced Yo-Kai you have, the more you can strategise your battles … or if you’re anything like Sonny, just throw some in and hope for the best.

What I particularly like about the game is that whilst clearly aimed at the younger market, the clues remain cryptic and vague, and it never patronises the player like so many other games aimed at their demographic. It’s also testament to the witty story-lines that I often find myself reading it over Sonny’s shoulder, chuckling to myself as I do.

The graphics are unusually sharp and detailed for a 3DS game, the village itself is large enough to get lost in and there’s plenty of unique areas to explore without it ever feeling repetitive.

The only downside is my obsessive nature means I’m not allowed to play it any more, so instead I’m reading up on the history of yokai’s. Like Ashiarai Yashiki, the gargantuan foot that appears in rooms and demands the terrified owner wash it!

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Yo-kai Watch is out now for the Nintendo 3DS. Pegi rating: 7+.

Nintendo have produced an excellent microsite with more information, guides and answers to all your Yo-kai queries which you can visit by clicking here.

 

{I was sent a copy of Yo-Kai watch for the purposes of this review. All words and opinions are honest and my own}

Comments 1

  1. I can see The Boy going for this in a big way. He’s got one of those Nintendo DS thingies and is forever plugged into it. Gaming is popular with autistic kids as it helps to distract them from stimulus that winds them up. I dread to think how life would be without it..*twitches*
    The farting character? He’d LOVE that.
    Well written review. Informative and entertaining, which kept me interested as I normally don’t bother with reviews. Well done Sir!

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