October 15, 2016
Gather round children, another Yo-Kai is nearby! Yo-Kai Watch 2 Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls have finally received an English language release, and with it, a new set of fans are discovering this quirky franchise.
Loyal readers may have be expecting what usually happens when I get my hands on a late release, English-dub sequel, where I fly into an outrage rather than admit I am out of my league. But in this case, sorry to disappoint, I actually love it.
“Given a PG rating, the Nintendo equivalent of an adult title, I’ll admit I had high hopes”
Having had my interest peaked by the original Yo-Kai Watch, the natural comparison to Pokémon, along well as the delayed release ,did give me pause. Jumping into Yo-Kai Watch 2 I was thankful to find the games narrative storyline begins with a memory wipe which, while fleeting, provides quick tutorial before dropping the premise for a large chunk of the gameplay. While I have come now to learn that much of the opening content mirrors both the original Yo-Kai Watch game and anime, for those of you uninitiated, as I was, let me set some context:
Yo-Kai Watch is weird. I don’t mean in a western “I don’t get anime” weird; this is the kind of weird that could possibly fill the unnamed void of my Gen-Y angst. This is the kind of weird that manages to distract the apathetic where many a YouTube clip have tried. Given a PG rating, the Nintendo equivalent of an adult title, I’ll admit I had high hopes; but opening on a pair of self-indulgent hipster parents dragging their young child into their marital discord all in the name of overpriced doughnuts, while the kid roots around in the trash for 10-cent gum? Yeah, this is my kind of kids game.
And, like a battered child, you’re forced to side with a parent, but not before they both insist on making their case for self-indulgence with a level of graphic description, that even in innuendo, does not feel appropriate to repeat. Let’s just say it involves dairy; something that no kid should have to hear their parents describe. And like so many children, the presentation of a choice is mere illusion, the decision being made before you even came along, in this case depending on the purchase of the Bony Spirits version or Fleshy Souls version.
It was at this point I realised that the anime may well be worth my time, and found an unlikely resource in my elder sister, who I discovered was a fan. Being armed with a few episodes of the Yo-Kai Watch anime is not just helpful I discovered, but necessary, as one of the new additions in Yo-Kai Watch 2 are the mini-game Baffle Boxes, which require you to name specific Yo-Kai based off of general trivia. While this appeared at odds with the general casual nature of the title, having minimal impact on the core storyline gameplay, you’d be forgiven for doing a quick Google search.
For completionists looking for pure grind-time, Yo-Kai Watch 2 not only boasts 350 Yo-Kai to collect, but also fishing and bug collecting, which, while they pale in comparison to the Yo-Kai available, gives you no shortage of things to do.
While the main storyline content, which is admittedly fetch-quest based and no grand development on the original, is said to be 20 hours, when mixed in with the exploration and collecting of a newcomer it’s surprisingly easy to sink in 20 hours before actually getting to much of core of the storyline. This sees players travelling back in time to defeat a mysterious wicked Yo-Kai, and uncover a secret civil war among these spirit manifestations; once again accompanied by your not-so-handy Butler, Whisper, and fan-favourite Jibanyan.
While some fans were hoping for a change to the battle system, which unlike Pokémon relies on a passive system of mini-games while normal attacks and buff-moves are played out by your chosen Yo-Kai, I found this refreshing compared to the linear menu-box approach, which can literally done with your eyes closed most of time.
- Heaps of Yo-Kai to battle and befriend
- Quirky, fun storyline
- Updated online systems
- Simplified battle system
- Limited cutscene voice-acting
- Fetch-quest missions
Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits has been a wonderfully wacky romp, one that I don’t intend to put down soon, and may well delay my return to the world of Pokémon. With the 3rd in the series already released in Japan, and the release in December of the Yo-Kai Watch movie, now is the time to get in on this cult hit.