Earlier this year, Nintendo of America announced its overseas sensation, Yo-Kai Watch, would make its way towards the United States. Upon hearing this news, I was cautiously optimistic and reserved judgement as I portrayed the title to be a slight knock-off of Pokemon – which happens to be a franchise I hold near-and-dear to my heart. Although the title bares a slight resemblance to Pokemon, series developer Level-5 has managed to churn out a spectacular video game that happens to be more entertaining and engaging than the competition. Come November 6, North American gamers will finally get the chance to play Yo-Kai Watch for Nintendo 3DS, and here is why you should definitely check it out.

If you’re a fan of the Yo-Kai Watch anime, which airs on Disney XD, you’re going to notice that the video game loosely ties to that experience. Individuals may begin the video game as Nate or Katie, and once that decision is made, you stumble across a mysterious gumball machine that spits out Whisper, a friendly Yo-Kai butler who aids the main character throughout the experience. After grasping the idea of Yo-Kai, which are ghostly figures that lurk about and happen to be unseeable by the naked eye, you must use your handy-dandy Yo-Kai Watch to identify these figures and befriend them or rid the earth of their existence. Befriending select Yo-Kai means adding them to your arsenal of characters and utilizing them within battle.

Unlike traditional RPG’s, Yo-Kai Watch is more engaging when it comes to the video game’s battle system. Instead of selecting an action, waiting for your turn, and then inevitably repeating the process, Yo-Kai battles are more involved than the “wait your turn” experience. The player controls six Yo-Kai at once, each with their own set of abilities, and may switch between the bunch at any given time. Each Yo-Kai possess their own set of specialized attacks called “Soultimate” and requires the individual the partake in a fun, bite-sized mini-games before pulling off the move. In some instances, the player must trace an image, tap the touch-screen multiple times, or rotate the stylus in a clock-wise rotation in order to achieve soultimate. If completed successfully, the soultimate will unleashed an intensified attack upon the group of enemies. Although fun to participate in, the battle system found within Yo-Kai Watch certainly requires a bit of time and patience to get used to.  

Yo-Kai Watch is an experience that had me traversing from one portion of the map to the other. I constantly found myself scanning high and low for Yo-Kai, explored through alley-ways in search of hidden items, and ventured off the beaten-path to complete side-quests for town locals and friendly Yo-Kai. With so much to do, the experience never felt boring or monotonous, when instead, it always felt rewarding to go out of my way to help someone and resolve their problems.

There’s a reason why Yo-Kai Watch has sold more than 1.2 million units in Japan. That reason is because the title provides an amazing and engaging experience to the individual playing the video game. Although the battle system requires a little time and patience to get used to, it felt rewarding after each and every match. The experience never became dull or monotonous thanks to the vast amount of exploration and rewarding side-quests that the title offers to the player. With so much to do and so much to accomplish, Yo-Kai Watch is an experience to partake-in, and shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS.