Get your Yo-kai watch at the ready and team up with Whisper and Jibanyan as you set out to uncover the mysteries of Springdale in this sequel to the Level-5 original hit game. With an exquisitely charming storyline and some new in-game modes, Yo-kai Watch 2 polishes and refines exactly what it did so well in the first.
It may not have the same worldwide appeal as its main rival Pokémon, but Yo-kai Watch has certainly been a contender with its televised anime show, manga and associated merchandise following the original game’s release on Japanese shelves back in 2013. Since then, the series has set up major films and released Yo-kai exclusive versions on the Nintendo 3DS. And though North America and Europe has had much catching up to do, the series has captivated western audiences too with its niche battle style and simplistic storyline.
Following on from the success of the first, Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls will feature version exclusive Yo-kai, similar to the Pokemon series, though will share the same storyline, albeit with minor differences. Play as either Nate or Kate and travel through Springdale, unearthing the mysterious floating, humongous objects that have been spotted throughout the town with your partners in crime, Whisper and Jibanyan. But something eerie is afoot. After trying to steal your watch and Yo-kai memories, Wicked Yo-kai Kin and Gin are up to no good as they pit Bony and Fleshy Yo-kai against each other, setting up a 60-year long feud which begins to take its toll amongst the inhabitants of Springdale. Right the wrongs of the future by travelling back to the past and visit Springdale as you’ve never seen it before; just don’t expect a clock tower or lightning for that matter.
As a role playing game, and for those unfamiliar with the first, Yo-kai Watch 2 provides in-brief tutorials to refresh fans and mini help guides for first-timers on start up. Use your watch to find hidden Yo-kai to battle and befriend, then use their medals to slot into your six-party battle team. You’ll be able to take on different Yo-kai, key quests, side quests and favours from NPCs to get experience and level up your team, all whilst fighting enemies in the unique shuffle and slide battle wheel.
Working in the same fashion as the first game, your Yo-kai team will battle automatically and choose from a selection of attacks, inspirits and helpful aid moves throughout the fight. Players can help their Yo-kai by using soultimate moves, which are a series of powered-up moves that can only be used when your soul meter gauge is full. Either tap, spin or point their stylus as per the touch screen’s animation to charge and eventually unleash the Yo-kai’s power. When Yo-kai become inspirited, though, players will have to switch out their main three front Yo-kai to purify and heal them of the poisonous debuffs, using their stylus through the touch screen animation to do so.
As you progress through the main storyline, you’ll have access to a new upgraded version of your soultimate moves. Switch to the model zero watch on the touch screen and use Moxie Soultimate moves to make quick work of an enemy or boss Yo-kai in battle. Using these moves does take the soul meter from the nearest Yo-kai though, so players will have to strategise and rely on battle wit to gain the most potential from them. And while you can still fast forward through battles, the additional moxie moves keep the fights feeling fresh with a glossier polish to avoid the grind and wind monotony seen in the first.
New to the sequel are in-game apps found in the menu screen; the weather app, Yo-kai Blasters and Trophies are just a few added. Players can also access the online and local battles through these menus, with the ability to set up a battle team which unlocks only after a few hours of gameplay. If you’re looking to make the most of Terror Time however, you’ll want to try the new Yo-kai Blasters mini-game. This four-player co-op mode gives you the opportunity to play as a Yo-kai and summon Terror Time at any point of the day. Work together to defeat the Oni and collect special Oni orbs for a chance to spin the Oni Crank-a-Kai in exchange for rare items. And while Terror Time does still exist in Yo-kai Watch 2, it’s not as bothersome and the improvements from Blasters makes it much more fun and enjoyable to play.
With up to 100 new Yo-kai to find and befriend, Yo-kai Watch 2 is full of interesting new scenes throughout its 20 to 25 hours of main storyline. The game’s charming wit, which exudes from the main characters’ dialogue, presents several laugh-out-loud moments through its age of innocence storyline that you often forget there’s actually very little purpose to the game inside its first ten hours of play. Of course, there’s a lot of unnecessary padding, such as riding the train from Springdale to Fortune Palace, then to Harrisville and San Fantastico just to see your Grandmother, but it’s that constant humdrum of trivial matters which makes the game quite soothing for adults and so relatable for youngsters.
The story’s main quests and side quests also keep the game fresh and exciting. Adding in new modes of transport with the train and the ability to fast travel once again with Mirapo and Miradox means going back to the future is such a cinch we don’t even need a flux capacitor. But that’s not to say that Yo-kai Watch 2 couldn’t be improved. Meatier side quests with more efficient pacing and boss battles that require intricate thought and strategy would be beneficial, giving players less of an easy ride. And since the sequel uses the same engine on the 3DS as the first, framerate drops are still apparent when in crowded areas and are even more noticeable when viewing in stereoscopic 3D.
While Yo-kai Watch 2’s online battle system isn’t as refined as Pokémon’s online battle arena, you’ll still be able to match up in a random, local or friendly battle. Choose your team wisely and play by the official rules with a level 50 cap to earn battle points. There are even weekly battles against Bony and Fleshy Yo-kai for friendly competitive spirit, making way for invigorating and fun gameplay. Additionally, players will be able to trade Yo-kai online and with friends. Given that this is the only way to obtain version exclusives, it’s certainly a must-have feature for the title.
Aesthetically pleasing to play, Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits manages to keep the title fresh with improvements to battle modes, Terror Time and online play. Yet what it lacks in its boss battles and side quests, it makes up for in its mysterious, chuckle-worthy storyline. Perhaps it’s just as well Whisper floats, as wherever he goes between the future and the past, there’s no need for roads.