Yo-Kai Watch Wallpaper. © Nintendo

Yo-Kai Watch is a role-playing videogame developed and released in 2013 for Nintendo 3DS by Level V. The success of the game was so great, that the developers were encouraged to produce sequels that have resulted in a fully fledged franchise. Based on the Japanese folklore, the game follows the adventures of Nathan Adams and Katie Forester, two youngsters blessed with the ability of seeing ghosts called Yo-Kai.

Key facts about Yo-Kai Watch

  • Yo-Kai Watch is still regarded as one of the best game in the franchise, despite the inconsistent gameplay that drew some criticism.
  • The role-playing videogame has an impressive world that players can enjoy at leisure and various side quests to complete.
  • The highlights of Yo-Kai Watch are the boss fights, which are significantly more challenging than the regular encounters.
  • Compared to the sequels, the original game has fewer side quests and many pale in comparison to the main missions.
  • Yo-Kai Watch bears some similarities to Pokemon games, as players can capture the Yo-Kai after defeating them in battle.

The Yo-Kai Watch games

The success of Yo-Kai Watch prompted developers to release a sequel in 2014 for the same console and another one a couple of months later. These go by the name of Yo-kai Watch 2: Ganso and Yo-kai Watch 2: Honke and feature the same gameplay, which was tweaked to address criticism. More game modes were added, the roster of ghosts and apparitions was expanded and the already impressive world just got wider and more exciting.

Yo-Kai Watch games are driven by a very similar gameplay, with the most significant changes being made to boss fights. Befriending Yo-Kai and solving the tiny problems caused by the supernatural beings are the bread-and-butter of the franchise. The videogame was the first one to make the most of the Nintendo 3DS touchscreen. A second sequel is planned for release in 2017 and it is expected to tap into the technological advancements made by smartphones and tablets.

What is Yo-Kai Watch

Yo-Kai Watch is the first title in the franchise developed by Level V, a role-playing videogame that was released in July 2013. The name derives from the apparitions and ghosts that are called Yo-Kai in Japanese culture and are allegedly responsible for daily mischief. The central characters of the game encounter these ghosts and establish connections with benevolent ones, while fighting the hostile Yo-Kai.

In order to complete the single player campaign and some of the most important missions that comprise it, players are supposed to unlock key Yo-Kai. These can be acquired by using the in-game currency or find them in the Gasha Machine, if they don’t have the necessary number of play coins. These beings come in different forms and range from puny ones to powerful creatures and the best part is that many of them have the capability to evolve.

Gameplay of Yo-Kai Watch

Yo-Kai Watch looks like a rather simplistic game, at least for role-playing videogame standards. Its gameplay was supposed to make the most of the 3DS' touchscreen, with players browsing a world populated by supernatural beings. They can interact with friendly creatures, give them food and earn their trust, or confront them in battle. Once defeated, these ghosts can be summoned at will, but only after players collect the necessary Yo-Kai Medal.

Screenshot of Yo-Kai Watch Jibanyan. © Nintendo
Screenshot of Yo-Kai Watch Jibanyan. © Nintendo

Leveling up is a key ingredient in most role-playing games and when it comes to Yo-Kai Watch, not only the protagonist, but also the Yo-Kai can grow stronger. The most powerful ones are the Legendary Yo-Kai, which not surprisingly are the most difficult to defeat in battle. The Yo-Kai Watch gameplay makes it mandatory for players to have at least six creatures in their roster to initiate a fight, so it is essential to befriend them.

The Yo-Kai have distinct abilities and special skills that can be countered by opponents, which adds another layer of complexity to the gameplay. There are also a couple of in game events that force players to enter the nightmare realm, such as the "Oni Time" which can be translated as Terror Time. During this phase of the game, players can find and unlock treasure chests without drawing the attention of powerful Oni Yo-Kai. Only the most powerful parties can defeat these creatures, so the wise thing to do is running.

Plot of Yo-Kai Watch

Yo-Kai Watch has a relatively simple storyline, with players getting to choose between two characters which go by the name of Nate or Katie. A lot of exploration is involved and it all starts with the protagonist discovering a mysterious capsule machine deep in the forest. When opened, this capsule will reveal the first Yo-Kai Watch ghost, a friendly one that is called Whisper. It will accompany players throughout their voyage and shed some information on the creatures in countered.

It is Whisper who entrusts players the Yo-Kai Watch, a magical item that allows them to see the otherwise invisible creatures. The protagonist gradually learns about how the Yo-Kai influence their daily lives and the mischievous events that they previously ignored. The main quest is comprised of a string of battles with increasingly powerful creatures, but players keep befriending pleasant creatures.

Development of Yo-Kai Watch

Yo-Kai Watch was supposed to run smoothly on the Nintendo DS and didn’t spend a lot of time in the making. Level 5 was the Japanese videogame developer that took on this quest, after tasting success with puzzle adventure video games. They used the same recipe for success, while drawing inspiration from other games popular in Japan and took a leap of faith with an open world role-playing game. Once released, the videogame was in line with the expectations, appealing to both adults and children.

Screenshot of Yo-Kai Watch Whisper. © Nintendo
Screenshot of Yo-Kai Watch Whisper. © Nintendo

Where can I download Yo-Kai Watch?

Yo-Kai Watch can be downloaded from the official website of the game developer, as well as the Nintendo website. Since its release, two more titles were added to the franchise and they build on the popularity of the original, while tweaking the gameplay. By placing an order for a bundle containing all the games in the series, prospective customers will receive discounts.

What are others saying about Yo-Kai Watch?

Yo-Kai Watch was a major hit upon release, with both players and critics praising the simplicity of the gameplay and its addictive nature. The learning curve was anything but steep, so there was no risk whatsoever of players losing focus or giving up early on. The battle system is praised in most reviews, which also acknowledged the successful way in which developers made use of the stereoscopic features of the console. Even those who criticized the gameplay, gave the RPG thumbs-up for its open world.

Yo-Kai Watch tournaments

When playing Yo-Kai Watch for the first time, you get the feeling that the single player campaign is just the prelude for multiplayer. Befriending ghosts and conquering hostile ones is an excellent training for boss fights, but the most competitive players are dying to put their skills to the test against their peers. Both the original game and the sequels are suitable for multiplayer, but developers didn’t have Yo-Kai Watch tournaments in mind.

The second installment in the series is scheduled for the first quarter of 2017 and should be available on mobile devices. Tournaments no longer seem like a far-fetched idea, but at the time of writing, this type of competitive play is not available. Those seeking this kind of amusement, can’t go wrong by choosing industry classics, such as League of Legends, Dota 2, World of Tanks, Counter Strike Global Offensive, SMITE or Heroes of the Storm.

My rating of Yo-Kai Watch

I wasn’t there to play Yo-Kai Watch when it was first released, so unfortunately I didn’t get to experience the excitement of the cross. I can only imagine how fun the game felt back then and how impressed players were by the touchscreen capabilities of the Nintendo console. Looking back at the game released three years ago, I have to acknowledge the fact that developers did a fine job at creating an addictive title.

The gameplay is not elaborated enough to ensure the long lasting appeal that most of the popular titles now offer. Yo-Kai Watch is more of a pleasant pastime, for those who explore the beautiful open world envisioned by Level 5. I think that this is more of a videogame for children, rather than a competitive role-playing game. In this niche, it is one of the best so a review score of 8.5 out of 10 does it justice.

Overall Score