Yo-Kai Watch is an all new game from Nintendo that offers a fresh and intriguing concept for the 3DS. This new Nintendo IP has an interesting cross-media promotion that includes a manga and anime series based off the content found in the game. Both series will reference one another in an attempt to build a new world for players to be immersed in.
Many gamers will inevitably draw a lot of parallels to the Pokémon series, but the familiarity isn’t enough to prevent Yo-Kai Watch from being unique in its own way. While attending New York Comic Con 2015, I had the opportunity to play a demo build of Yo-Kai Watch with Nintendo that left me wanting to see more.
Immediately from the start, I was greeted with a town that echoed the layouts found Pokémon X and Y. The smooth animations and solid controls stood out very well and felt somewhat different than in Pokémon. The bottom screen of the 3DS system displayed a detailed map of the town I was located in, which marked various NPCs and points of interest. This made navigating the town easy and encouraged me to explore areas away from my destination. Entering into a building changed the layout of the bottom screen map to display different floors within buildings. This was so much better than any of the maps found within Pokémon X and Y.
The bottom screen map also allows you to scan your environment and find various ghosts to battle and capture. The game refers to these monsters as Yo-Kai, creatures that you can capture and battle against throughout the course of the game. Finding Yo-Kai requires you to activate a special lens item and use the stylus on the bottom screen to scan the environment around you. You can find various Yo-Kai in just about every area you can explore in the game, but not all Yo-Kai are hostile. Some will just have idle conversation and offer you a hint about your current story objective or various side quests.
Once I found a Yo-Kai I could battle, I was immediately taken to the battle screen. Battles are fought in a turn based format, but with smaller mini games you play using the 3DS stylus. The player actively controls three Yo-Kai during battle, which can be switched with others on the fly. A player can hold up to six Yo-Kai in their party at a time, all of which can be used in battle. The touch screen is used constantly to execute attacks and switch out Yo-Kai when necessary.
The Yo-Kai I controlled in the demo utilized various special attacks that were powered up through spinning and tapping on the touchscreen to make attacks stronger. Each battle I fought was not very long in length, but definitely had a heavy emphasis on interaction with the touchscreen. The motions to power up my Yo-Kai’s attacks were a bit repetitive, but kept the action in battles exciting.
Much like in Pokémon, players will be able to collect and battle with many different kinds of Yo-Kai in the game. Each Yo-Kai has a variety of traits based off different personality classes, similar to the elements found in Pokémon. The personality class of a Yo-Kai will dictate the kinds of attacks it will use, as well as its strengths and weaknesses.
The demo build I played had a large number of different Yo-Kai classes for me to use, but the final game will have even more to discover and collect. The anime and manga series for Yo-Kai Watch will showcase many Yo-Kai classes that can be found in the game, but won’t reveal all of its secrets.
I was pleased with my time playing Yo-Kai Watch. I was ultimately intrigued by what was displayed in the demo and had a strong desire to explore more of this new and original world. There is a lot more in this game than just a simple Pokémon-styled clone. Yo-Kai Watch is definitely a game that Nintendo 3DS owners are going to want to keep an eye on. Yo-Kai Watch releases on November 6, 2015 for the Nintendo 3DS.
Are you excited to check out Yo-Kai Watch? Think that this new original game can be a big hit for Nintendo? Leave us a comment below and let your voice be heard!!!