If there’s one thing that has rarely disappointed me in Japanese folklore it’s stories about Yokai. They are usually compelling and have really fun characters. I expected Yo-kai Watch to follow in those footsteps. Honestly I have kind of mixed feelings on how they did.
Characters: Yo-kai Watch revolves around Chad Evans and his ghost butler Whisper. Both are quippy and quirky and have a lot to say. Most of which isn’t very interesting. Not to say they are boring, but the only ones of real interest so far are Orochi a mysterious yokai with a snake like appearance and Jibanyan a cat who got hit by a truck and died. There are a hefty amount of side characters ranging from other yokai to human friends and family and overall they just don’t really have an exciting story to tell.
Story: The story of Yo-kai watch revolves around a young boy whom lies to his friends and claims that he has an awesome bug collection, I would like to believe that this is something we would be going back to. In eight hours of gameplay….we haven’t. So I have this massive bug collection that I diligently gathered for literally no reason. Right so moving on, Chad decides to go into the woods in the middle of nowhere to try to find some rare bugs, there he finds a capsule machine, he puts a dollar into the machine and out pops a capsule. Via this transaction he not only gets his watch that allows him to see and track Yo-kai but the ghost butler Whisper begins following him around. I’ve run into a few loosely linked different plot points. Overall though I can’t find anything compelling here that would push you through the thirty hours it takes to play it.
Mechanics: The game play itself is just as all over the place as the story. You have your fishing mechanic as well as bug catching, they play the exact same way. I’m kind of okay with that. The game maps out every single thing you have to do. Ever. It shows you an arrow and a pin on the map for every single main quest and a literal flag if you need to talk to someone. So far the best part of the game is ‘Terror Time’ which in games not made for kiddos we call the ‘Silent Realm’. it feels ripped straight from The Legend of Zelda, but at the very least it’s fun to try to not get caught. Last and definitely least is the battle system which is charming and by charming I mean you can seriously put down your ds and go make a sandwich. Your presence is only required for healing and special moves. Please enjoy your sandwich.
Music: The music is fairly upbeat and kind of fresh, at some points being light and poppy and other times kind of eerie. It’s pretty nice.
Monster Designs: With monsters like Nosepass Pokemon has felt kind of stale for a while now, like they ran out of ideas and are just combining objects for the sake of it and not because it would be cute or unique. Well I really expected Yo-kai Watch to have a leg up because of this. There are thousands of yokai in Japanese lore, so here we are watching them make up more. It should have been so easy damn it! Instead we get like thirty two different variations of cat type yokai and not one of them is referred to as a bakeneko. Fail!
Pokemon: Yo-kai Watch is not Pokemon, it doesn’t possess the required charm to be Pokemon. It does have a large cast of critters and they are cute and fun, but it also doesn’t really feel like you need to befriend them. You get story monsters in just about every chapter so far, so why bother catching more? Extra fodder I suppose. Your monsters do evolve like in Pokemon I irresponsibly raised my Cadin up to level thirty with exp orbs (used so you don’t have to train) so now he’s a Nincada or something of the sort. Also as far as I know is aside from ‘Whisper’ your yokai do not have the ability to affect things on your map ie: cut or fly. Your yokai are used however for small side quests to help the various people in town whom are too lazy or stupid to help themselves.
Ni No Kuni: The overall problem is I feel kind of like I’m playing Ni No Kuni again. With everything being marked on your map, nothing you can take serious, and pets doing all your dirty work it feels like a cheap sequel more then anything else. Right down to the loud companion character tagging along beside you to give you instructions that you really don’t need.
Overall I’m not impressed by this title, maybe if I watch the show the characters may end up endearing themselves to me, but right now I’m just unsure why I should invest my time and money in something so utterly wasteful.
Current Score: 2 out of 5