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Yokai_Event_2Yo-kai Watch 2 is here!

To celebrate the follow-up to last year’s smash-hit Yo-kai Watch for Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo of Canada recently held a fun, family-friendly launch event in the heart of Toronto’s Liberty Village. Not only did children and parents have the opportunity to play a demo of Yo-kai Watch 2, but they could also enjoy tons of other activities like watching an advance screening of the Yo-kai Watch Season 2 anime, browse Hasbro’s upcoming Yo-kai Watch toys, and even meet Jibanyan—the series’ cute cat Yo-kai mascot!

Similar to Nintendo’s Pokémon series, Yo-kai Watch 2 will come in two different versions—Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls—with each including their own exclusion Yo-kai you can befriend. What’s more, at the event I learned that if you buy a physical version of Yo-kai Watch 2 you’ll get an exclusive Yo-Motion medal from Hasbro (while supplies last) that gives Jibanyan a powerful in-game Soultimate Move when you scan it into the game. Now that’s a cool bonus!

Yokai_Event_3Before I dive deeper into what happened at the event, let me back up a moment and explain exactly what Yo-kai Watch is for those who aren’t familiar with the franchise. Back in 2013, game developer Level-5 published the original Yo-kai Watch in Japan for Nintendo 3DS. The game is rooted in Japanese folklore that describes mischievous supernatural “Youkai” entities that walk among us and range from benevolent ones giving good luck, to malevolent ones bringing bad fortune. Level-5’s Yo-kai Watch quickly become as Japanese phenomenon, spreading into a huge media property spanning manga, anime, video games, movies, and toys. Last November, Nintendo published the original Yo-kai Watch game in North America, and now less than a year later, Yo-kai Watch 2 has arrived. If the Nintendo gamers and children in your life haven’t gotten into Yo-kai Watch yet, there’s a good chance they will soon—Yo-kai Watch is picking up momentum here very fast!

Yokai_Event_4Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls demo

Like their predecessor, Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls are open-world role-playing games that put you in the role of Nathan “Nate” Adams or Katie Forester (you can choose to be a boy or girl) and gives you a vast overworld to explore and seek out Yo-kai. While a lot of people like to compare Pokémon with Yo-kai, thematically the two creature collecting properties vary quite a bit. While Pokémon focuses on capturing, training, and battling, Yo-kai has a softer premise: your primary goal is to befriend as many Yo-kai as you can. When you get in the good books with a Yo-kai, they then give you their medal to use in the titular Yo-kai Watch, which can summon them to your aid.

The demo I played was (unfortunately) quite brief, but it did give me a good sense of what to expect with Yo-kai Watch 2. You begin in the countryside village of Harrisville, the village where our hero’s grandmother resides. This is a time-travelling adventure, so at this point in the game you’re actually 60 years in the past to investigate the origin of the Yo-kai watch. Graphically, Yo-kai Watch 2 is even better that the previous game, with richer colours and even better 3D effects that bring this quaint town to life. My first objective was to chase a giant donut, which is a bit odd, sure, but following it led me to a spirit I had to battle in order to obtain its medal. The demo gives you six starter Yo-kai to do battle with, so my party was conveniently full and ready to for the challenge. During battle your Yo-kai can do regular attacks, as well as unleash their Soultimate ability where you need to complete mini-games on the Nintendo 3DS’ lower touch screen to build up power. I loved this style of gameplay in the original game, and it’s just as fun and engaging here.

There’s a timer on the demo and literally moments after winning this first battle my time was up. A Nintendo rep beside me said the two versions will contain over 350 Yo-kai, including 100 brand new Yo-kai to meet. Some Yo-kai can also be fused with other Yo-kai, or combined with specific items, to make them even stronger. What’s cool is that there’s a trading feature in the game, so you can swap Yo-kai medals with your friends, including the Yo-kai that are exclusive to each edition. There’s also multiplayer Blasters Mode where you can team with up to 3 other players to battle bad guys, but we weren’t able to form teams to try this mode out at the event.

Yokai_Event_6Additional Yo-kai Watch activities

Gaming was just one of many things to explore at Nintendo of Canada’s Yo-kai Watch 2 launch event. I got a chance to watch an early screening of the first episode for Teletoon’s Yo-kai Watch anime Season 2. I won’t spoil any surprises, but as expected the anime stars Nate and his helpful butler Yo-kai, Whisper. There were quite a few funny moments in the premiere, so I think fans will be entertained.

The event also gave me a chance to check out the upcoming Yo-kai Watch toys from Hasbro. This included the new “Model Zero” Yo-kai watch that can actually project a 3-frame animation using special green Yo-Motion medals. By contrast, the Season 1 Yo-kai watch plays Yo-kai tribe sounds when you insert a medal. Lots of other toys were on display as well, including small plushies of Blazion and Walkappa, giant plushies of Jibanyan and Whisper, and character figures of Whisper, Komasan, and Tattletell. It’s amazing just how cute Yo-kai characters are, and the attention to detail on the figures is top-notch.

Yokai_Event_7Jibanyan, the fire-attribute cat Yo-kai, made a special photo op appearance, much to the delight of the families in attendance. You can see the photo I took with Jibanyan above! The event also had a face/arm painting stations where you could get either Jibanyan or Hovernyan (a blue flying cat Yo-kai) done. And, to get everyone in the Yo-kai spirit, we were given Hovernyan crowns that also just so happen to have a special code you use in-game to unlock special rewards.

I was already super excited for Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls, and now after Nintendo of Canada’s event I’m even more stoked. Both games release on September 30, 2016, for Nintendo 3DS.

Are you a fan, or do you know a fan of Yo-kai, if so let us know what they love about the series below. If you were at the Toronto launch event, what was your favourite part? Looking forward to reading your answers!