NS Review – Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Red Cat Corps & White Dog Squad (3DS)


After being fairly dormant over the past year, Yo-kai Watch is back on the 3DS with their first pair of spin-offs, Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Red Cat Corps & White Dog Squad. Originally released in Japan in 2015, it was incredibly popular at the time due to how big the franchise was, and the high replay value kept people hooked. So, how does the game fare three year later, and does it live up to expectations set by Japanese fans?

Unlike the turn-based RPG gameplay of the original games, Yo-kai Watch Blasters is a real-time action RPG where you take control of a team of four Yo-kai to complete missions and defeat a variety of bosses. For those who have played the original RPGs, movement feels very similar to walking around the world in Yo-kai Watch 1 and 2, boasting the same stamina meter and camera controls. The maps used for missions are also taken directly from the RPG titles as well, so it will definitely have a familiar feel for returning players. That said, new players or those who did not like the passive gameplay of the originals can find something to enjoy here as the rest of the game is much different.

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Yo-kai can have one of four classes; Fighter, Ranger, Tank, and Healer. Each offer a different style, with Fighters being the go-to attackers, Rangers usually causing buffs or debuffs, Tanks shielding the team from damage, and Healers periodically healing teammates. Although the different classes do vary the gameplay, I always ended up with a team of mostly Fighters and a Healer for the highest damage output. Attacks are performed with A, X and Y, with each Yo-kai having different attacks depending on their class or if they are a physical or ranged fighter. The combat isn’t too in-depth, but there are enough differences between Yo-kai attacks to make it worth trying out new team compositions every so often.

During the main game’s story, you will be playing as a rag-tag team of Yo-kai aiming to rise the ranks and become a full-fledged Blasters team. It’s not really the most engaging story, being split up into episodic, monster-of-the-week styled stories similar to Saturday morning cartoons, but the cutscenes do their job and are entertaining enough. The characters are quite charming, especially for those who are already familiar with the Yo-kai from the show or the original games. It is definitely a story aimed towards kids, though the cutscenes can be skipped if it’s not your thing (you won’t be missing much, honestly).

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The missions in story mode generally follow the same few requirements, and get repeated in most chapters. Examples include defeating a wanted Yo-kai, escorting an ally to a certain point of the map, and collecting certain items. While this isn’t too much a bother as the main story chapters are generally quite short, it can get rather repetitive and most enemies in said missions can be beaten easily by simply button mashing. This repetition can also be seen in the boss fights to a lesser degree. At the end of each story chapter there will be a unique boss, but once defeated a few of these bosses will appear again in later areas as recolours (similar to the main RPG titles). While the end of chapter bosses are quite entertaining fights and can get rather challenging by the end of the game, the recolours don’t offer much outside of story padding and a slight difficulty increase.

Aside from the story mode, there are a good amount of extra modes and missions that can be unlocked after completing certain chapters. These include Patrol Mode and Big Boss Mode, and extra missions can be accessed via a phone in the Blasters HQ. The phone missions are special, usually solo missions which can give special Yo-kai only obtainable by completing them. These can be helpful as most of the Yo-kai you obtain during story progression are relatively low rank. Patrol Mode is where you free roam a map of your choice and complete mini-missions to earn orbs. This mode pretty much solely exists to help recruit new Yo-kai, which is unfortunately still all luck-based like the mainline games. Big Boss Mode, as the name implies, allows you to refight the bosses from story mode at varying difficulties for some great rewards. All of these modes are welcome additions to break up the story, or more importantly, for playing co-operatively online.

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The most enjoyment I have had from Yo-kai Watch Blasters by far has been from the online multiplayer. Up to four players can play online in a team, which can consist of either friends or random players. The AI controlled teammates can be unreliable at times, so co-ordinating with a team of actual people is much more efficient for taking down powerful bosses or farming for rare Yo-kai on patrol. Online play is not just restricted to extra modes either; the entire story mode can be played online with anyone. Although I didn’t do this during the story, I can imagine it would be fun for a few friends to play through the entire game co-operatively either locally or online. As the game is spilt into two versions with exclusive Yo-kai and bosses in each, linking up with a person with the opposite version also provides more content to enjoy. The online play has lengthened the game’s longevity for me immensely and I can see myself playing it for a while.

Overall, Yo-kai Watch Blasters is a fun enough game on its own as a single player experience despite some slight repetition, but I would say it is definitely worth a look if you have a few friends to play with or can find an online community to take on missions. The gameplay loop of earning rewards from missions, then using said rewards to power up Yo-kai to take on more difficult challenges is one that I found myself playing for hours at a time. Despite the Switch being out for over a year and a half, the 3DS still has some life in it for me yet with this title.

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