Editor's Rating

Yo-Kai Watch 2 does very little different from its predecessor. Adults may find it a little too simplistic but youngers gamers will probably really enjoy this title.

Level Design

Almost a year ago resident siblings Menno & Paulien reviewed the original Yo-Kai Watch on 3DS. In their opening they said the game wasn’t for adults but better suited for kids under 10. Now I happen to have one of those running around so I figured I give her the game and try to review it through her eyes.

My daughter likes Yo-Kai Watch, she has some of the toys and tries to watch the TV show. So when the 3DS game came out last year she was keen to try it. We downloaded the demo to see what it was about and were held back by the fact that the first game was only available in English. For a text-heavy game, English was a bridge too far for my, then, 7-year-old. So when Yo-Kai Watch 2 was announced I was glad to learn that the new game would be fully localized.

Coincidentally, this fit very well with how Level 5 set-up this sequel. Because even though this a sequel, it’s very much an(other) introduction to the series, with the events of the first game serving as this game’s tutorial. For veterans, this isn’t good news, however. Mainly because this tutorial can take up to 6 hours…

Another thing that veterans of the series may not like is that very little has changed in the gameplay department. For fans of the original game, this might be good news but some improvements are usually quite welcome. Especially when the original had some significant issues. Most of these issues haven’t been resolved in the sequel. Most importantly the battle-system is still mostly a passive affair.

Battling is a mix of real-time and turn-based actions. You go into battle with up to six Yo-Kai who can attack on their own. This means that without doing anything you can actually win battles, and this actually happens quite regularly. For tougher battles you can choose what enemy to target and when to use the Yo-Kai specific Soultimate attacks. These Soultimate attacks consist of having to “play” a minigame on the lower screen. This mechanic also is used when you need to dispell certain status effect your Yo-Kai might have to endure.

The tedium of the battle system also extends to other parts of the game. The (mostly entertaining) story results in a whole bunch of fetch quests which mean a whole lot of running to and from places (with fast travel only becoming available very late in the game). This tedious travel is best illustrated by the in-game train travel, which literally has you staring at the screen for minutes, a little too realistic for my taste.

On the upside, the game does come with a whole bunch of new content. With 184 new ghostly Yo-Kai to catch there is enough for completionists to do. For a series already heavily compared to Pokemon Yo-Kai Watch 2 has adopted now also adopted Pokémon’s signature double edition system. This means you’ll need someone with the other version of the game to get everything. This approach to player interaction also extends to the improved multiplayer options. The biggest change being the addition of online multiplayer. However, the passive battle system hinders the experience here as well, albeit slightly less so than in the singleplayer campaign.

The world of Yo-Kai Watch is a lot bigger this time around. Exploring Springdale and its new environments is where the game is at its best. The series’ premise of Yo-Kai being the cause for all kinds of strange mishaps, really comes into its own when exploring the game’s world. Finding and catching Yo-Kai is fun, it’s just a real shame the catching mechanism remains very dependent on luck.

The game is also a good looking game. The graphics are crisp and detailed without having the heavy outline that was so typical for 3DS games for a while. The 3D effect also works really well, just make sure you disable it through the 3DS’ parental controls when kids younger than 7 will be playing the game.

So, Yo-Kai Watch 2 basically is more of the same and a bit simple for adults. That’s probably why my daughter adores it. It’s great that she can play (and understand) the whole game on her own now. So for younger kids (who can read) this really is a great fit. The game’s story explores the origin of the Yo-Kai making it a great entry point for the Yo-Kai franchise as a whole. The simpler controls and battle system work in her favor too.

Yo-Kai Watch 2 is an odd sequel. In many ways, it really isn’t. It doesn’t address any of the original’s flaws nor does it really build on the story of the first game. While it does provide heaps of new content it feels more like a second attempt to kick things off. The game is strongly geared towards kids but does so successfully. For younger gamers who like Yo-Kai Watch or Pokémon-esque games, this is one to check out. Adults may want to try again with the upcoming third installment.