First Impressions: Yo-Kai Watch is a post-millennial Pokemon

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I don’t know what Yo-Kai Watch is, but millions of kids do, and therefore I checked it out because I want to know what the kids are up to.

But I still didn’t really get it.

Released to Japan in 2013, the game is accompanied by a Manga series, a TV show, and plenty of other hot merch. It’s the Star Wars of anime, destined to be a hit.

And it was still a little confusing.

The game starts just like a Pokeman game. You’re in a house, just like Pokemon, and it’s pretty great.

When you walk outside the graphics are actually pretty impressive for a 3DS game. It’s almost like the Paris level in Pokemon X & Y. You can run, although there is a limit to your running stamina. It’s like the fast-boots in Pokemon but not unlimited. And it feels like a truly open world compared to a Pokemon world, one with depth.

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When it comes to finding the Yo-kai things there’s a hot and cold meter, which is about as fun as a game of hot and cold in real life. The anticipation is like waiting for a Katy Perry chorus. Although it’s more manual than, say, just running through bushes in a Pokemon game.

As the meter heats up you’re told to press Y to look around, and you move the stylus around until a Yo-kai appears. It’s pretty intense.

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Then you’re suddenly in a battle with other Yo-kai, with a 3 v 3 match, and your spinning Yo-Kai Watch of 6 Yo-Kai.

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IMG_0517There’s two different options, Target, Soultimate, and Purify. In my attempts to act like a 6 year old I didn’t read the instructions, and I still won the match. It was a defining part of my life.

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There are actually some pretty interesting mini-games mid-fight, including a tapping game, a tracing game. If anything it makes the game feel like it was made with the 3DS in mind.

Either way, Yo-Kai Watch was bright, colourful, and fun, and in ten years kids will probably be playing a remastered version on the 5DS with the same adoration that I have for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. But I’m an old man now, and this game reminded me of my mortality. Get off my lawn.