It is a good time to be a Yo-Kai Watch fan. What with the English dub of the anime just days away from release at the time of posting and the game just over a month away, the Yo-Kai invasion is set to take the rest of the world by absolute storm. However it all must begin somewhere and this past weekend it began at EB Games Expo 2015.
Nintendo Australia had the Yo-Kai Watch game available at Australia’s biggest gaming expo alongside the first ever look at Hasbro’s toys and merchandise based upon the series. Not only that but the world premiere of the English dub took place at the event to boot.
As a huge fan of the series and seeing just how crazy Yo-Kai fever really was in Japan, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the game at the expo. When I finally got my hands on it after a mad dash to Nintendo’s booth it was like Christmas had just come early for me.
We played a demo of the game which has you taking on various Yo-Kai in battle at the behest of a mysterious woman. The demo kicks you off with a 6 Yo-Kai team from the get go. I had Jibanyan, Komasan, Noko, Tattletell, Walkappa and Manjimutt on my team. We had to search around Springdale, Idaho in search of 3 particular trouble making Yo-Kai, after following a trail of clues with some simple problem solving you could discover the location of the Yo-Kai and what manner of mischief they were causing.
I loved the mystery solving element of the game, it was reminiscent of another Level 5 title; Professor Layton. While many compare the game to Pokemon, Yo-Kai Watch plays more like a mix of Level 5’s past with some portions playing like Layton and others playing a lot like PS3 classic Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. I even found the notion of being a young boy exploring your town similar to the short but sweet Attack of the Friday Monsters.
Sure the notion of collecting monsters is similar to Pokemon, playing the game felt just about the furthest thing from playing Pokemon. The game for starters doesn’t take itself to seriously, opting for a more goofy Inazuma Eleven style of wacky dialogue and wild scenarios combined with a heaping helpful of totally on the nose punny names. My personal favourite was Hungramps, a hungry Yo-Kai who looks like your grandpa. “Hungramps you are making everyone hungry! Let’s take this outside!”
There is something just innately charming about the world of Yo-Kai Watch and the way in which the game treats every little discover with a sense of wonder and excitement adds only to its charm. As a kid the littlest of discoveries can have the most lasting of impacts on your life. For me discovering a blue tongue Lizard in my backyard for the first time was an encounter that has stuck with me forever. There is just something about that child-like wonder that everyone can surely relate to.
Most of all Yo-Kai Watch is a truly fun game. The battles are simple and easy to pick up and understand and the exploration segments and mystery solving are utterly addictive. This is not only going to take the West by storm it is going to take the world over. Yo-Kai Watch has heart. It is goofy, fun and just plain makes you feel good. If it has been a while since a game has made you feel that way, you are not alone. Yo-Kai Watch is the answer.