By Joshie Jaxon
Greetings, geek fans! I love handheld games. Anything you can hold in your hands and play with, bringing hours of enjoyment is for me. That sounds dirty. It was meant to. I’m here with our next Handheld Hits entry, Yo-Kai Watch. I’d been seeing this one on recent trips to Game Stop, but had no idea what it was about. A friend and fellow gaymer had it, and showed me a bit of how it worked. From there, I went to YouTube, and learned more about this interesting franchise. Now to pass those savings on to you! Let the geeks begin!
First things first, this game has been out in Japan for years, but we’re just getting it here in the states. Why is beyond me, unless they were waiting for the anime to get dubbed, so they had something to help market it to kids. Kids don’t need a lot of marketing. Give them something bright, colorful, and fun, they’ll invest every dime of their allowance into it. Or don’t. Give them an empty box, or a bit of wrapping paper and they’ll be entertained. Wait, I’m thinking cats. Eh, the same can apply for some kids. Just look at those silly band things that were all the rage. Anyhow, before going out to drop money on this game, I watched the opening, and the first ten minutes of gameplay, thanks to Gamexplain. A related link was the first episode of the anime, in English, which I also watched.
In the game, you start off in the playground, talking about your bug collecting project, which of course you haven’t started. Your friends taunt you into showing it off later, Giggity, and slacker that you are, you decide to go catch some bugs right now. I swear they did this plot in Calvin & Hobbes. You can’t find any decent bugs in the city, so you head towards the woods, cause that’s where the bugs live. There’s a fence blocking off a forbidden area, but then some purple fog causes it to disappear. Now, even though your character saw the gate before it disappeared, peer pressure to look cool, causes him to go up the forbidden path, and possibly put his life in danger. There’s a giant tree with spirit tags on it, with an rather old looking gasha machine in front of it. You hear a voice saying feed me, and rather than running like hell, cause you’ve seen Little Shop of Horrors and know this won’t end well, you put a coin in the machine, turn the crank, and collect your prize; a bloated, sperm-looking, ghost named Whisper. He tells you that he is a Yo-Kai. Rather than being impressed, you wanna go catch more bugs. Whisper gives you a rather modern looking watch, and tells you it will help you see other Yo-Kai, who are all over in the human world. You identify one nearby, battle, and end up making friends with it. Is this starting to sound familiar?
What do you mean no? Come on; Companion monster thing, battles for you, is able to talk and say it’s name, trying to make friends… That’s right, Yo-Kai Watch is a blatant copy of Digimon. What? You think I’m missing the obvious here, don’t you? C’mon, Digimon was supposed to be the next Pokemon, so why can’t Yo-Kai watch be the next Digimon? Fine, it’s similar to Pokemon. Only instead of Pikachu, you have Whisper, and no one can see him but you. Kinda like less creepy version of Ryuk. Anyhow, your first real quest is to recruit a few more friends. You can have 6 Max. It’s like they’re not even trying to hide it. You wander around town, using your watch to help you locate the Yo-Kai all over. While you travel your hometown, you’ll encounter a lot of Cadin, Dimmy, Coughkoff, Buhu, Negatibuzz, and Dulluma. Similar to early portions of Red/Silver/Ruby/Diamond/Black/Y, and the never ending supply of Rattata, Sentret, Zigzagoon, Bidoof, Patrat, and Bunnelby, you’ll get more than a little sick of seeing the same monsters over and over again. Such is the nature of early level gaming.
Instead of types, there are several classifications for the Yo-Kai. Brave, mysterious, tough, charming, heartful, shady, eerie, and slippery. They don’t seem to have an advantage over one another, at least that I can tell, but can effect how you might catch them. Now, on to the battle mechanic. Your Poke- er, Yo-Kai will battle on their own. You don’t have to do anything. It’s idiot proof. I really don’t like that aspect of it, but considering nearly every battle is a three on three, I guess it’s a time saver. That isn’t to say you don’t have options. You can use items to try and recruit the enemy to your side after the battle. You can target a specific enemy, or purify one of your creatures if they got inspirited. The option you’ll use most often is Soultimate. Get it? It’s an ultimate move, but you’re a ghost. Hey! Someone worked hard on these jokes. People were fired for not doing better than that. Laugh it up.
As you progress though the game’s first quests, you meet a kitty spirit that spends it’s time attacking trucks. Why? Well, before he became a Yo-Kai, he was a little girl’s pet. He was crossing the street, and was hit by a truck. His owner, rather than being grief-stricken, scoffs at him for being stupid enough to get hit. Yes, seriously. This is a game for children, and there’s a girl that had no right having a cat in the first place. I hate her so much. Anyhow, he’s been spending his time trying to get strong enough to take down trucks, so he can be worthy of his neglectful bitch. Poor spirit kitty. I’ll befriend you!
There are several side quests you can participate in to get extra items or experience. There’s the possibility of evolving or fusing your Yo-Kai as well, but I’m not that far in yet. Initial impressions are that it’s a good game, and I can see the potential. I’m trying to overlook the similarities to Pokemon, especially as they aren’t trying to keep them in balls, go to gyms, or save the world from Team Rocket. It’s worth the cost of admission, and considering there’s anime you can watch online as well, it’ll help flesh out the world a bit. I’ll post again, or update as new things happen. Until next time, stay geeky and keep gabbing!