Yo-kai Watch sequel has arrived
Less than a year after his first Yo-kai game released in North American, Nintendo and Level-5 are back with not one, but two new games: Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls. Playing as a boy or girl, travel back in time with your Yo-kai butler Whisper, and cat friend Jibanyan, to discover the origins of the Yo-kai Watch itself.
Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: September 30, 2016
Genre: Role-playing game
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Summer holiday in Springdale
Yo-Kai Watch 2 begins with our hero (I choose Nathan “Nate” Adams, but you can also play as Katie Forester) having his Yo-kai Watch stolen in middle of the night by mischievous beings while he sleeps. The next morning, Nate wakes up with a case of amnesia, having totally forgotten about the watch, and his knowledge of Yo-kai erased. After meeting some friends in the park to catch bugs, Nate stumbles upon a strange shop he’s never seen before, and is given a Yo-kai Watch by the owner. Whisper, the friendly butler Yo-kai soon shows up, giving Nate a serious case of deja vu. Once the two come to the realization they know each other from a previous adventure, they decide to set-out and explore the world for hidden Yo-kai once again.
For the first few hours of the game you’ll learn the ropes in the city of Springdale (the setting of the first game), but soon enough you’ll be whisked away to meet your grandma in the new town of Harrisville, as well visit San Fantastico, another new setting in the game. Where the game gets really interesting though, is when befriend Miradox, a Yo-kai shaped like a mirror, who helps you to travel sixty years in the past to uncover the truth behind the Yo-kai Watch.
A familiar, fun battle mechanic returns
One of your main goals in Yo-kai Watch 2 is to befriend new Yo-kai and obtain their Medal (which lets you call them for help), but in order to do so, often you’ll need to defeat them in battle. During battles you’ll have a roulette wheel that can hold up to six friendly Yo-kai, three of which will actively participate in battle, while the remaining three are your back-up team. Your Yo-kai will automatically use a variety of attacks, and these fill their “Soultimate” gauge, which you can unleash once full. Soultimate moves activate a variety of mini-games on the Nintendo 3DS’s touch screen, such as drawing shapes, tapping moving orbs, or spinning your stylus in a circle, and these actions will charge up the Soultimate’s power. It’s a simple, straightforward battle mechanic that is super easy to learn, and remains fun even after hundreds of battles.
A questing we will go
Yo-kai Watch 2 uses a quest system to help you every step of the way. There are main quests that will progress the story once complete, and many different optional side quests you can take on. Missions will take you around different cities, like Springdale, and some challenges will require you to travel through time to complete them. What’s great is this time around, the game includes a quest arrow that will direct you exactly where you need to go. You can take on a story quest and a side quest at the same time, with each end location marked by a different colour arrow—it’s very convenient!
Battle and befriend Yo-kai
Traveling around and making new Yo-kai friends is a lot of fun, but sometimes you’ll come across challenging boss battles that require a good strategy. All of your Yo-kai belong to one of eight different tribes, each one possessing various traits such strong physical attacks, strong healing powers, specializing in inspiriting, and so on. Putting two or more adjacent Yo-kai of the same tribe on your roulette wheel will award you with Tribe Unity bonus in the form of extra attack power, a speed boost, or other perks. As well, there are lots of dungeons areas crawling with Yo-kai if you ever need to take a moment to gain XP and level up your party.
There are so many funny/quirky Yo-kai to befriend, and that’s what makes this game so much fun. Some of the early Yo-kai I encountered included Swellton, a bathing Yo-kai that can conjure a protective wall of sweat, Baku, a purple tapir that finds human dreams to be especially delicious to eat, and Snotsolong, which, err…I’m sure you can figure out. People often draw a comparison between Yo-kai Watch and Pokémon, but Yo-kai definitely stands out with its creative (read: bizarre) cast of characters.
One of most useful Yo-kai in the game is Mirapo, a teleporting creature that enables you to instantly travel to places you’ve been before, and avoid taking the train. Mirapo really is a huge time-saver considering how unnecessarily long the train rides are between cities in the games, but it’s too bad you meet Mirapo until well into the game. The later you get into the game, the more you’ll need to move between city locations as well, making this Yo-kai all the more useful.
Graphically, Yo-kai Watch 2 is very similar in appearance to the original game, which is definitely not a bad thing at all. The towns you visit are richly detailed and full of life, and the 3D effects give these locations a sense of presence. The character animations are excellent, and there are tons of cutscenes that rival the quality of hit anime show. The music is also very good, and plenty of catchy tunes get stuck in my head even after turning off the games. My only presentation gripe is the occasional time you can’t see a treasure chest, or some other important object very well, due to the poor camera angles at time. On the positive side, you’re able to zoom your map out quite far, and that helps you find your way quite often.
Two different Yo-kai games
As mentioned at beginning of this review, Yo-kai Watch 2 comes in two different games: Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls. Like in Pokémon games, each version contains exclusive Yo-kai for you to catch, such as Count Zapaway, a remote control Yo-kai exclusive to Fleshy Souls (seen on the left.) Don’t worry though, there’s no need to pick up both games to discover all Yo-kai, as the game includes a trading app that can exchange characters locally, or via the internet.
Enjoyable online modes
In Yo-kai Watch 2, you can play with friends both offline and online, up to four players. Challenge mode lets you battle your friends, using pre-selected Yo-kai teams of six, to see who has the best team and strategies. Another multiplayer option is Blasters Mode where you and friends can team up and battle Yo-kai in an overhead, beat ’em up action style. Playing together with friends is tons of fun, and these modes also help to extend the replay value long after you’ve beaten the main story.
Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits is a charming game full of humour and warm moments. The gameplay may be virtually identical to the first game, but it’s quite unique and fans of the original will have next to no learning curve. Even though the Yo-Kai Watch series is targeted at younger audiences, older gamers can still have a blast befriending Yo-kai and challenging themselves to collect the 350 plus found in-game.
+ Charming and funny story
+ Fun online modes that are easy to access
+ Tons of main and side quests for extra replay
+ Beautiful presentation
+ Befriending Yo-kai is challenging and amusing
– Opening few hours are a near repeat of the first game
– Takes a long time before the story reveals itself
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5