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I know I came in saying that Yo-kai Watch doesn't play like Pokemon, and yet I spent a few points comparing the two. It's impossible to draw comparisons in games that both center around catching monsters and using them for battle.
Yo-Kai Watch might not be Pokémon, but it doesn't have to be. Level-5 and Nintendo have delivered a world filled with enough humor and charm that it stands more than well enough on its own. The game has some minor issues, but nothing is ever significant enough to trump what Yo-Kai Watch does so well. RPG veterans won't find the journey all that difficult, but younger fans and the young at heart will find plenty to love.
So, while Yo-Kai Watch is pitched firmly at children, I found it to be utterly delightful, absorbing, and lengthy. I'm about 60 hours in, at the end of the main quest, but still have enough side quests to keep me going for a while. I can't see it resonating quite so powerfully in the west, and certainly Pokemon's extreme depth and competitive scene isn't going to be threatened by the gameplay on offer here. At the same time, there is a much stronger emphasis on the human characters, narrative, and setting in this adventure, and on that side of things, I haven't seen a game better suited for children (but one the adults can still enjoy) for quite some time.
While a lot of missions boil down to a lot of fetching and running around, the charm behind the story and strategy-driven battling system create a fun world to explore and master. It's a fresh take on the genre that can pull in more than just Pokémon fans waiting on the next game. Yo-kai Watch is a surprising hit that builds on itself the more you play, demanding more thought and focus than its cheery exterior suggests.
Yo-Kai Watch is another game to add to 2015 that surprised the heck out of me. I've tried countless times to get into the Pokémon games before and they just never pulled me in, even though I appreciate what they offer players. Here, the idea of spirits, the charm, the writing, the battles, and the style just immediately sucked me in. I wanted to explore the world, find the spirits, and help people. It's a great start to a new franchise, one of the best looking 3DS games I've ever played, and if you're looking for a RPG with heart and spirit, Yo-Kai Watch is the right choice and a great start to a new franchise.
Though Yo-Kai Watch does borrow a lot from the Pokemon franchise, the game does strike out a spot for itself in the monster-collecting market. The game is still really fun to play, and the feeling of collecting and discovering new Yo-Kai is exhilarating. The game has tons upon tons of cut-scenes, and does not have random enemy encounters, which makes it so much easier to get through dungeons without facing the same exact Yo-Kai again and again. Sure, Yo-Kai Watch definitely has places to improve, like its multiplayer and depth, but overall Yo-Kai Watch is more than worthy of a purchase.
Yo-Kai Watch is no Pokémon clone but rather its own unique game that gives the player a sturdy combat system with some great Japanese RPG elements thrown into the mix. It's also a well-designed game that really allows you to explore this colourful world as you solve quests and discover new Yo-Kai for your collection.
Yo-Kai Watch is an endearing, charming title with some minor missteps, but it overcomes those with the pure joy of discovery and intrigue that can only come from a well-crafted collection-RPG, reminiscent of my youth spent behind a dim GameBoy light.
Yo-Kai Watch isn't the second coming of Pokémon, and that's perfectly okay. If you love to sit by the fire and train your Pokémon for hours, perfecting their EV and IV levels so you can be the very best, you likely won't find the same depth in Yo-Kai. Its world and philosophy is much simpler than that. But as a result, none of it feels frustrating or like work, and I'm constantly tempted to jump back into my adventures with Nate and Whisper.
While not a revolutionary game, Yo-Kai Watch is testament to Level 5's ability to breathe new life into familiar concepts. More than any game in recent memory, Yo-Kai Watch as a whole is an experience that I enjoyed more the longer I played it. While combat was initially off-putting, taking the time to acclimatise revealed a far more complex set of systems than were initially apparent. With delightful characters, beautiful scenery, and missions both intriguing and bizarre, I can see why Japan has fallen in love with Yo-Kai Watch.
Aside from it taking me (and potentially many others) an embarrassingly long time to get a handle on the combat system, this game is a good, solid package that I recommend, as it will offer loads of fun for those that have the time
Yo-Kai Watch is a game with a great personality and a highly approachable combat system, but not free from major flaws: the random Yo-Kai capture system can be kinda frustrating, and it's a shame that it doesn't have an online multiplayer feature.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Yo-kai Watch is definitely an all-ages RPG. Everything from the dialogue to the battle system feels very light-hearted, and that's definitely not a bad thing. With a huge amount of media related to it out there, being accessible to anyone who might want to play through it is a major strength. Despite its kid-friendly appearance, there's a lot to like here, either for fans of the animated series, or just for someone looking to pick up a low-stress RPG. With hugely appealing characters and highly addictive gameplay, Yo-kai Watch has really set itself up for long-lasting success as a franchise.
Forget any sneering Pokémon comparisons. Yo-Kai Watch looks sure to be a monster hit with the 3DS's school age audience, but it might also make a fair few friends among older gamers. It's not the deepest or richest game that Level 5 has ever come up with, with character development linear and limited, but it's smart, innovative and funny. You won't grow to love it any less.
Don't let Yo-Kai Watch's kiddie appeal fool you: It might not be as deep as your average, adult-style RPG, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Level-5's gradual evolution of their "house style" has amounted to a true successor to Pokemon—one entirely free of its predecessor's 8-bit baggage.
"Yo-Kai Watch" is an immersive, hard to put down RPG with tons to do that will more than fill up the time until the next real Pokemon game. Although the fetch quest-filled gameplay and mediocre map take away some of the fun, it's still a tough game to put down and the best new Nintendo 3DS series in North America of 2015. In the end, "Yo-Kai Watch" is not "Pokemon," but it's just as cool, in its own unique way.
Yo-Kai Watch is a charming and sprawling RPG, one that appeals to a younger audience with its adorable characters and moral-heavy story, but also to mature players with its intense and complex battle system.
Yo-Kai watch is a promising addition to Nintendo's stable of games, thanks to a polished presentation and intriguing game mechanics. Admittedly, the questing can get a bit repetitive and the battle system isn't quite as dialed down as Pokemon's from a competitive standpoint. Still, with its sizable stable of interesting ghosts, solid gameplay and oodles of charm, Yo-Kai watch should tickle the fancies of the young and young at heart.
Yo-Kai watch might seem like another Pokemon clone, but it's anything but. Don't be fooled by its kid-friendly nature; it's chamring, endearing, and one of the best 3DS games of the year.
By and large these are all minor gripes. The battle system is a lot of frenetic fun, the writing is sharp, and visually the game is that Level-5 cel-shaded colorful anime that looks fantastic. The 3D is unnecessary, but they appear to have learned from what was irritating in a game like LBX (recent as it was) and really worked to smooth out the rough and awkward edges. Aside from a few clumsy design choices, mostly regarding side mission requirements and scrounging around awkwardly for the few required missions, Yo-Kai Watch is a charming gem that's only helping bolster the claim that fun and full RPG experiences are only getting better on portable hardware. And it's a great and action-ish way to invite newer RPG players into the party without entirely scaring away the more hardcore fans. Just because it's cute and funny doesn't mean it doesn't get tense, like seeing a g-g-g-GHOOOOOOST!
As many other games developed by Level-5, Yo-Kai Watch is a well-rounded RPG, perfect to address a younger audience. On the long run, though, the battles become somehow boring and the narrative weakens.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Overall, Yo-Kai Watch can't quite overcome the Pokémon juggernaut due to its various problems, but it's a good introduction for what could potentially be a financially viable series for Nintendo.
Yo-Kai Watch is a kid-oriented, lighthearted game packed with quirky characters, secret areas to explore, and bizarre Yo-Kai to befriend. The unwieldy process of recruiting Yo-Kai to your team and an incredibly unhelpful map bog the side content down a bit, but the battling system is unique and fun and there's always more to discover.
Yo-Kai Watch might look like a pocket monster clone with a fumbling battle system, but it's the genuinely endearing cast of characters and Yo-Kai who give it enough heart to be more than just a simple copycat. It's not the next Pokémon, but it certainly is going to be something in the future at this rate that other games will aspire to emulate.
Pokémon's younger brother has a lot to learn. Yo-kai Watch is hugely recommended for young teens and kids, but I struggle to imagine any adult 3DS owner finding it to be an essential purchase.
As an RPG, Yo-Kai Watch mostly fumbles its battle system and creates a relatively passive experience. However, I adored exploring every corner of its compelling world. The low difficulty ultimately works in its favor — I was always eager to move on to the next charming character or compelling idea. Yo-Kai Watch is a "kids' game" that doesn't talk down to or sugarcoat darker themes for kids, and I appreciated not being talked down to either.
Still, Yo-Kai Watch makes for a good time on the 3DS. It might scratch the itch of a long-time Pokemon fan, and will surely delight younger players. This game doesn't rewrite the formula and will likely not go down in history as an all-time great, but it's a fun, worthwhile experience.
While it does not usurp the Pokémon franchise in any way, shape, or form, Yo-Kai Watch is a viable alternative for those who can get past some of the inconsistent design choices. It's easy to understand why kids in Japan have been drawn to the franchise and while the game feels like it's on autopilot a lot of the time, there is enough complexity here to keep you from getting bored. Younger gamers in particular are likely to find the most enjoyment in Yo-Kai Watch.
Ultimately the appeal of Yo-Kai Watch will depend heavily on you as a gamer. If you're interested in a light JRPG with a twist on standard turn-based mechanics, you will find Yo-Kai Watch to be a delight. If you're looking for something deeper, you might want to stick with Pokémon.
Yo-Kai Watch is a good variation on the monster collection genre of RPGs that will definitely please fans and earn a few new fans, but has just enough tiresome elements to keep it from being great.
Yo-Kai Watch is almost a great game. In fact, in many ways it eclipses the effort GameFreak has put into Pokémon over the years, both in production and creativity. That alone should be commended. Unfortunately, there are a few oversights and missteps that ultimately detract from enjoying the many, many things Yo-Kai Watch does so well. The groundwork is here for a franchise that could thrive for a long while to come, but Level-5 needs to rethink a few design decisions and put more focus into plot before Yo-Kai Watch reaches its full potential. This is definitely a game that you should play if you're attracted to the concept, but there are caveats to bear in mind before hunting down spirits on your 3DS.
A stunning looking RPG with fun interactions and gameplay, Yo-Kai Watch packs over one hundred hours of lifespan to explore fully. While it could have invested more in developing its plot, it's a very welcome arrival to the European market of a game that has spawned a successful series in its home country.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Yo-Kai Watch is a rather odd beast in many ways. Kids' trends are always difficult to predict, and even with the massive marketing push behind the game, it's hard to say if Yo-Kai Watch will achieve Pokémon-like levels of cross-cultural penetration. It certainly isn't up to Pokémon's level: while exploring is fun, combat is a passive, frustrating slog that keeps it from being as enjoyable as it should be.
Its appeal lies in its delightful story and colourful cast, a compelling bunch that would indeed give the Pokédex a run for its money. If only it could find the mechanics to match.
I'm interested to see if Nintendo will continue this series in America. There's definitely a lot of groundwork made in this game, but it's so unrefined that I really can't recommend buying this game. But keep an eye out for a sequel, because if the combat system was fixed, this game could have been a home run.