App Reviewed on: Nintendo 3DS
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Yo-Kai Watch garners a lot of comparisons to Pokemon, and Nintendo hasn't done much to stifle those comparisons.
It's not surprising, since there's no mainline Pokemon release in the cards for 2015, so Nintendo is probably hoping Yo-Kai Watch fills in the monster-collecting category for the Nintendo 3DS this year.
Thing is, Yo-Kai Watch feels quite different from Pokemon, and someone expecting the depth of Nintendo's premiere critter-battling series is going to be disappointed.
On the flipside, someone who feels intimidated by Pokemon's nuanced battle system might find Yo-Kai Watch more their speed.
You play through the game as a child who suddenly finds themselves able to see and communicate with Yo-Kai (wayward spirits) via their new Yo-Kai watch. You battle these Yo-Kai to make friends with them, then take them into fights to help you collect more Yo-Kai or complete story-based tasks.
Yo-Kai fight automatically when the battle screen pops up. You lend a hand by commanding them to use special attacks (which you execute via twitchy mini-games, like tracing shapes on the 3DS touch screen), or by "purifying" the Yo-Kai when they're afflicted with debilitating status effects.
Most fights are relatively easy to win - again, anyone expecting the tests of endurance and type-matching that Pokemon offers is going to find themselves under-challenged.
The bottom line
If you want a monster-collecting RPG that's on the lighter side - or if you're a Pokemon fan and you're prepared to open your mind - you may get quite a kick out of Yo-Kai Watch.
The monster designs are highly weird and very different from anything else currently offered in similar games, the graphics are good, and give you a big open world to explore, and there are supplementary mini-games, like bug-catching.
Also, if you're the type of person who enjoys lore about ghosts and hauntings, you'll probably find the very idea of spirits mingling with our world pretty cool.
One thing's for sure: Yo-Kai Watch's silly monsters and young characters hold big appeal for children. If you have a sibling who's not yet able to get the hang of Pokemon, let them gnaw on some Yo-Kai for a bit.