NS Preview – Post E3 hands on with Yo-Kai Watch (3DS)
To cut a long story short us twitchy tykes were invited to play some Nintendo games post E3, we got our eager paws all over Super Mario Maker for starters! Do you catch our drift? So without further ado and in true Nintendo Scene tradition gird your loins for another article stashed with varying opinions, of the Yo-Kai Watch kind of course…
Ready, set, here’s my take…
What if negative human emotion was the cause of oddball spiritual beings known as Yo-Kai pranking us from the invisible to the naked eye sidelines? What if these said Yo-Kai took the form of twin tailed red cats or perverted old men trapped in dog bodies? What if we had Grimm like powers to interact with these jesters? It’s all rather daftly poetic stuff.
With only having a trailer to go by I was near clueless plunging into my demo, but from what I briefly digested it rocketed straight up to my ‘1-2-watch’ of the event (eh? eh? EH!). Nodding to the likes of Digimon, Pokémon and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch here we have your classic kid (boy or girl) gone battle critter recruiter RPG. The difference being it is all about buddying up with these spirits rather than imprisoning them, along with the stylus required wristwatch based battle system dangling somewhere within a real-time yet turn-based strategic tin.
Of all the titles on show there wasn’t one which made me chortle as much, stooped in Japanese folklore wearing a loosely fitting pair of mockery pyjamas I can see why it has become the newest fad over the other side of the world! Witnessing Whisper (you’re fellow Yo-Kai adviser) spout comical pre-battle dialogue under the depressing influence of other hidden Yo-Kai is an experience I would like to extend please!
Talking of whispers… *whisper begin* sorry Pokémon but come Yo-Kai Watch’s PAL release I’m afraid you’ve been trumped *whisper ends*
So what did Conor have to say on the matter? Well, this…
As it turns out, Level-5’s video game series Yo-Kai Watch has been extremely popular in Japan for over two years now. The series is venturing into the western world with this title. You play as a young character, accompanied by a wise-cracking Yo-kai called Whisper. Together you search the world for other Yo-kai, battling them and befriending them if you’re lucky. It does seem to be entirely down to chance on whether a defeated Yo-kai will want to become your friend and consequently give you a medallion. Once a Yo-kai is a friend, they can be called upon to battle in your team of six. Not everyone seems to be aware that Yo-kai exist, and some Yo-kai will have a negative effect on the people around them.
There was a large number of Yo-kai present even in the demo, and their visual designs and attacks are both intriguing and at times hilarious. One Yo-kai has the appearance of a dog with an old man’s face. It isn’t as terrifying as it sounds. The battles themselves seem to play out in a similar vein to pure turn-based combat, but the player takes a more active role; Yo-kai can be healed or ‘purified’, and each Yo-kai comes with an ultimate attack known as a Soultimate. A quick touchscreen minigame precedes the Soultimate.
It’s engaging enough to avoid getting boring, and the game gives off a very charming vibe; elements of Japanese culture are evident in the game as the player-character will remove shoes inside houses, and get shouted at when crossing the road at the wrong time or place. Yo-kai Watch is a pleasant experience that will hopefully succeed outside its developer’s native country.
Reuben chimed in with…
Oh Level-5 you wonderful people, you never cease to impress me. I started playing Yo-Kai Watch with the mentality that it was simply Pokémon but with ghosts, and I could not have been more wrong about that. This game has far more to it that Pokémon and is (arguably) better than its older cousin. The basic premise is that Yo-Kai (spirits) are everywhere and can influence our actions and moods; your character can see these thanks to his watch and can enlist them to help him or fight them in three-on-three battles.
Now, there are way too many clever ideas in this to cover them all, but I shall pick a few of my personal favourites. Firstly, in the battles, you can have a maximum of six Yo-Kai (three out at a time) in battles that you can rotate between at any point. Secondly, the Yo-Kai will attack under their own volition, only changing when you perform the individual special attacks that each Yo-Kai has. These activate small mini-games that are selected randomly and you are then challenged to complete them quickly to avoid threats. Thirdly, you have a little magnifying glass-like object that allows you to find Yo-Kai hidden all around you (I even found a little one under a vending machine), and this makes the world feel alive and really brings you into the games world. Speaking of which, seriously Level-5 know how to make a pretty game. Yo-Kai has a beautiful, child’s anime-style art direction and some amazing animated sequences, along with some fantastic character design. This game is one to “watch”.
Wish for more Yo-Kai Watch gossip? Either ask away in the comments below or tweet away to @NintendoScene
All the above opinions are based on the demo build of Yo-Kai Watch on show at 30/06/15 – 01/07/15 gameplay and content is subject to change.