Yo-Kai Watch on Nintendo Platforms - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Yo-Kai Watch on Nintendo Platforms

by Danny Bivens

We take a look at all of the releases on Nintendo systems.
Yo-kai Watch has seen a lot of success on Nintendo platforms. Not only that, but the series has spawned anime, manga, merchandise and a lot more. Needless to say, Yo-kai Watch is loved and known by a lot of people around the world. Although the popularity of the series has waned over the past few years, possibly due to the super resurgence of Pokémon with Go and the steady stream of mainline games, Yo-kai Watch still has strong mindshare in Japan. Over the years, the games have slowly started to make their way over to the West, but there are still some games that the West won’t see for awhile, or never at all.

Yo-Kai Watch | 3DS
JP: July 11, 2013
NA: November 6, 2015
EU: December 5, 2015
AU: April 29, 2016
The game that kicked off the whole series for Level 5 originally released in Japan in July 2013. Initially the game saw modest sales. Around the two month mark in September 2013, Yo-kai Watch managed to crack 170,000 units. Not bad, but more success was on the way thanks to (at the time) the upcoming anime series. After the anime debuted in January 2014, game sales spiked. By the end of February, sales were nearly sitting at 500,000 units sold. Given the popularity of the series in Japan, Level 5 teamed up with Nintendo to publish the game in the West in 2015. When it was all said and done, Yo-kai Watch went on to sell through 2.8 millions units.

As for the game itself, players get to choose between a boy named Keita (Nate) or a girl named Fumika (Katie). After stumbling across an old beat up capsule machine on a nearby mountain, Nate/Katie are introduced to Whisper, a friendly yo-kai that gives the kids a “yo-kai watch.” The device allows the kids to find nearby yo-kai. They’re able to become friends with, battle or discover what mischievous yo-kai are doing around town. Gameplay consists of exploring the town, helping people and, of course, fighting various yo-kai. The battle system allows players to have up to six yo-kai in their party that can be switched by turning a dial. The battle system was pretty interesting and quite different from what other similar titles were offering at the time. That coupled with the various yo-kai, it’s no wonder why the game captured the imagination of so many. It got a lot of praise from Japanese outlets (Famitsu gave it a 36/40) while in the West, reviews were a bit more mixed. Metacritic has the game sitting around 76.

Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits (Ganso) / Fleshy Souls (Honke) | 3DS
JP: July 10, 2014
NA: September 30, 2016
EU: April 7, 2017
AU: October 15, 2016
Given the success of the first title, Level 5 got to work on a sequel in pretty short order. This time around, the game was released in two versions - Ganso and Honke (later to be localized as Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls). After losing the yo-kai watch and their memories of the events that went down in the first title, Nate/Katie eventually get their hands on another yo-kai watch and also meet up with Whisper once again. There are more yo-kai, more yo-kai types, new areas to explore, a time travel mechanic and more. In Japan, Yo-kai Watch 2 was met, again, with critical praise. Famitsu gave it a 36/40 while like western reviews for the original, opinions were a bit more mixed.

In terms of sales, Yo-kai Watch 2 hit at the height of the popularity of the series. The anime, manga and merchandise were all in full swing. A full length movie also saw release several months after the game and continued to feed into the excitement. The game was finally brought the west in 2016 in North America and Australia) and in 2017 in Europe.

Yo-kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters (Shin’uchi) | 3DS
JP: December 13, 2014
NA: September 29, 2017
EU: September 29, 2017
AU: September 30, 2017
A slightly updated version of Yo-kai Watch 2 hit store shelves in Japan in December of 2014. This version has all of the content from the previous release plus a little bit extra. This time around players also have the ability to befriend bosses, new quests and some new areas to explore. Clearly, this is the definitive version of Yo-kai Watch 2. Between the original release and this third version, Yo-kai Watch 2 sold through roughly 5 million units in Japan alone. This version of the game was brought the West in September of 2017.

Yo-Kai Watch Blasters (Busters): Red Cat Corps (Akaneko-dan) / White Dog Squad (Shiroinu-tai) | 3DS
JP: July 11, 2015
NA: September 7, 2018
EU: September 7, 2018
AU: September 7, 2018
Based on a multiplayer mini-game found in Yo-Kai Watch 2, Blasters features familiar yo-kai that gamers came to know in previous titles. The story is somewhat of a parody of Ghostbusters here, too, with a few winks and nods along the way. This time around, rather than the standard six team of yo-kai, players are thrown into the mix with four. Players also have a bit more control over their yo-kai and are able to input attacks and moves as they see fit. A free update later came to the game in December called Moon Rabbit crew, adding more content for players. The game saw critical and commercial success in Japan. After a month on the market, the game had already amassed over 1 million units sold. The game also scored relatively well in Famitsu, scoring a 34/40. The game was eventually brought the the West in 2018.

Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version | Wii U
JP: December 5, 2015
Co-developed and published by Ubisoft in Japan, this special version of Just Dance features various characters and songs from the Yo-kai Watch series. The game released on the Wii U in December 2015 and marked the first time that the series would see a release on a home console. There were actually two versions of the game released - a standard version including just the disc and another version that came packaged with an extra Wii Remote. In terms of content, what’s on offer here is pretty lackluster - only 10 songs aka about 35 minutes of actual content. To be fair, it was kind of a budget title, though. It might be for the best that this didn’t release outside of Japan. Famitsu still managed to score the game 28/40 and the sales of the game were lackluster.

Yo-kai Sangokushi | 3DS
JP: April 2, 2016
The Just Dance series wasn’t the only one to get a collaborative title with Yo-kai Watch. Koei Tecmo’s teamed up with Level 5 on this spinoff based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms which released in April 2016 in Japan. The game is quite different from any other game in the series - it’s a turn based tactical strategy game. This time, instead of taking on the role of either Nate or Katie, players take control of Jibanyan, Komasan and Usapyon. Owners of the game were even able to connect to various games in the series - Yo-kai Watch 2 (all versions), Blasters and eventually Yo-kai Watch 3. Doing this gives players special yo-kai that can be used in the game. The title went on to sell over 500,000 units and got a 35/40 review from Famitsu. This game is probably never leaving Japan.

Yo-kai Watch 3: Sushi & Tempura | 3DS
JP: July 16, 2016
After the massive success of the second game in the series, of course Level 5 was back for more. This time around, the setting for the third entry in the series revolved around the idea of culture shock. And of course yo-kai. The main character moves to America from Japan and had to deal with not only some crazy yo-kai, but also the difficulties involved with being immersed into another culture. Nate makes a return in this game, but Katie, makes way for a new character - Hailey Anne (Inaho). While some critics (in the West) feel that Nate is a little bit too bland or generic, Hailey Anne is more distinct and has more personality. The addition of new yo-kai, a completely new region, and the ability to change between Nate and Hailey Anne’s story’s made the game feel fresh and a little bit different. Famitsu thought highly of the game upon release, giving it a 37/40.

Yo-kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki | 3DS
JP: December 15, 2016
NA: February 8, 2019
EU: December 7, 2018
AU: December 8, 2018
The third version of Yo-kai Watch 3 (and the version that the Western release is based on) Sukiyaki released in Japan in December 2016. Gamers in the West would have to wait until late 2018/early 2019 to finally be able to get their hands on the game. The localization changed the premise of moving from Japan to America to moving from “upstate” to an area of America where people had southern drawls. Aside from that, everything that was mentioned about Sushi & Tempura remains the same, however, this version offered a little extra, with some tie-ins to a Yo-Kai Watch movie as well as (eventually) new quests, locations, dungeons and yo-kai.

Yo-kai Watch Busters 2: Hihō Densetsu Banbarayar - Sword / Magnum | 3DS
JP: December 16, 2017
Busters 2 builds off of the previous entry into this side series - more action than what would be found in the traditional games. This time, the setting is a bit different, taking place at a location called Karakuri Island with your crew in search of treasure. While the game ended up scoring relatively high in Famitsu (37/40), it was pushed back slightly to improve the game. Some fans feel that even after this delay, the game still has plenty of issues that still to this day have not been addressed.  At this point, it’s highly unlikely that this game will ever leave Japanese shores.

Yo-kai Watch 4 | Switch
JP: June 20, 2019
Arriving on the Switch on June 20, Yo-kai Watch 4 marks the first time that a full fledged game in the series will make an appearance on a home console. We're (well, me, Danny) are going to be playing it and having lots of videos/written features and eventually a review.


The Yo-kai Watch series has seen some pretty high highs. Since the peak of its popularity back in 2014-2015, the series has been on a bit of a downturn. Perhaps with a new anime series and a new mainline game on the Switch, the game will see a resurgence. Only time will tell.

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