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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Join the Conversation

  • Simon H.

    “Paris level”
    You wot m8

  • Mark

    What does every Japanese creature game inevitably get compared to Pokemon by the media? Can’t y’all be just a little less banal, for once? Or is putting Pokemon in a headline simply a tactic to get clicks?

    • Kandorv

      Both apparently. Slapping Pokemon onto a title is guaranteed clicks.
      There’s also the stigma that there can only be one way to do something, and everything else done afterwards is based off of that one thing.
      I think it’s mostly because people see the collection aspect first and then jump to the conclusion.
      Heck, even LBX (Little Battler’s Experience) got compared to Pokemon, and those games barely have anything in comparison, the former being a mecha game!