Yo-Kai Watch
Hands-On Preview
Trace Wysaske Trace Wysaske




Traditional RPG


US 11/06/2015
Japan 07/11/2013
Europe 2016

Screen Shot
After 50 years, the See 'n Say finally makes its JRPG debut.
Screen Shot
Kids come for the Yo-Kai, but stay for the bathhouses and half-naked men.
"Ultimately, there is some legitimate ingenuity imbued in Yo-Kai Watch's kid-friendly mechanics..."

Yo-Kai Watch's November 6th release is still a few weeks out, but that doesn't mean you can't get your hands on the Japanese sensation right now.

Last week, Nintendo released a Yo-Kai Watch demo on the eShop to give budding fans a chance to tour Nate Adams' neighborhood and brush up on the Yo-Kai basics a little early. Players may just be passing through Springdale in this in demo, but even a quick glimpse is enough to prove that Yo-Kai Watch is shaping up to be another charming Level-5 treat.

The developer behind Ni no Kuni and two highly-acclaimed Dragon Quest entries has a reputation for reinvigorating tired RPG systems, and Yo-Kai Watch appears to be no different. We need look no further than the game's three-on-three battles. Instead of selecting basic attacks, Yo-Kai do so automatically, leaving the player to execute more supervisory tasks like rotating party members in and out or designating targets via the 3DS touchscreen. Other actions like removing status ailments or ordering special attacks called "Soultimates" are performed similarly with a flick of the stylus. Activating these commands triggers quick touchscreen interactions like popping bubbles or scrawling out a symbol, which prove to be fun alternatives to the old mash-the-A-button standard in between prompts.

These touchscreen portions can feel a bit rudimentary at times, but function just fine and there's an unmistakable rhyme and reason behind their simplicity. For starters, it's no secret that Yo-Kai Watch is aimed squarely at youngsters weaned on touch-based smart devices, and what better way to lure kids away from mobile games than by utilizing a familiar input scheme? Moreover, the whole battle interface proves to be engaging enough that a twenty-something like myself can appreciate its intuitiveness. Ultimately, there is legitimate ingenuity imbued in Yo-Kai Watch's kid-friendly mechanics, which isn't entirely surprisingly coming from the makers of Inazuma Eleven and Little Battlers eXperience.

Perhaps where Yo-Kai Watch shines brightest, however, is with its zany, supernatural take on daily life. Feeling a little blue lately? Can't stop eating junk food? Maybe you're professing your love to perfect strangers? Chances are Yo-Kai are to blame, and that's when Nate and Whisper have to step in. The only way to save folks from these mild inconveniences is by quelling Yo-Kai troublemakers through battle or by befriending them through other means.

The demo only covers a small fraction of the game's opening act, but there's more than enough here to get players excited about Yo-Kai Watch phenomenon. Do yourself a favor and check out the demo to see what all this Yo-Kai hullabaloo is about, especially if you're a fan of Level-5's past outings.

© 2015 Nintendo, Level-5. All rights reserved.