Anime Reporter takes a minute to tell you why I’m excited about an upcoming game based on an anime I’ve barely seen.
Yo-Kai Watch is making its way to the Nintendo 3DS systems pretty soon and… Oh, that’s right. If you’re reading this in America or Australia, then this game has been out for five or six months now, and in Japan for almost three years, but since I’m sitting here on a tiny little rock in Northern Europe, it’ll be another couple of weeks before I’ll have the opportunity to pick it up. I have played the demo of the game, which gives a brief idea of what to expect and, well, there are a few reasons why I’m really looking forward to this title.
So, Level-5 are the developers behind their game and their style was instantly recognisable even in the demo version from the design and gameplay style. They’ve developed games in the Professor Layton series, as well as Fantasy Life and Little Battlers eXperience, all glowing testaments to their ability weave an entertaining game and theatrical experience together. They have a proven track record when it comes to making an anime into a successful game, (Inazuma Eleven, anyone?) I’d quickly put my trust in Level-5 to deliver on Yo-Kai Watch.
From what I’ve seen firsthand, playing Yo-Kai Watch involves tracking down spirits causing various problems and effects around town, battling them and occasionally recruiting them to join you. Doubtless, this is already reminding people of the whole Pokémon concept just a wee bit. It is quite similar, but the actual dynamics of battling are far more interactive. You battle with group of three spirits at a time, on a wheel of six. You can spin the wheel to manoeuvre your preferred group of three into the battle, with different type-combinations offering different effects in battle. The touchscreen also comes heavily in to play when using powerful moves or tracking down spirits. Since the Pokémon series has, in many ways, been afraid to take huge chances when it comes to storyline and battle-formula over its twenty year run, Yo-Kai watch looks like a fresh innovation for the genre of monster catching and battling games.
I know, I know. I’ve already admitted that I’ve only seen a little bit of the anime. In fact, I watched, I think, maybe four episodes for a project I was working on a while back and I immediately found it pretty charming. It’s probably the nostalgia-hound in me, but there’s something about the style of the series. A young kid introduced to this whole new world that nobody else around him can see and the chance to make some amazing friends in the process. That’s exactly the type of anime that got me hooked as a kid and it still seems to be working now because I really can’t wait to join the adventure.
Like I said, this game has been out for a really long time around the world, so just take a look around. This game has been really well-received. In fact it’s already had several sequels in Japan. I’m not sure why Europe has to wait quite so long for Yo-Kai Watch, but at least we’ll know it should be good when it gets here.
Thanks for reading,