Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Supernaturally Silly Japanese Hit "Yo-Kai Watch" Looks to Make Waves North America

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Supernaturally Silly Japanese Hit "Yo-Kai Watch" Looks to Make Waves North America

Article excerpt

"Yo-Kai Watch" hits North American stores


TORONTO - "Yo-Kai Watch" might be the biggest game you've never heard of.

The Nintendo 3DS title has become big business in Japan, spawning a television show, comic books and a popular line of toys. A second animated film is scheduled to be released in Japan next month.

Two years after its Japanese release, Nintendo is bringing "Yo-Kai Watch" to North America. Like the popular "Pokemon" games, "Yo-Kai Watch" will have gamers scouring the land to find unique critters to add to their collections.

"Yo-Kai Watch" begins with a young boy named Nate Adams, who is characterized as being painfully average, heading into the woods in search of rare insects. Instead he meets a friendly (if slightly irritating) spirit named Whisper, who gives Nate a "yo-kai watch," a device that allows him to see other yokai, spirits who are often mischievous, sometimes benevolent and occasionally frighteningly evil.

There are over 200 unique yokai to be found in the game, ranging from cute anthropomorphic animals to a comically grotesque dog with the face of a Japanese businessman. The number of yokai pales in comparison to the roster of creatures in the Pokemon universe, but that franchise has had a decade-long head start.

Nate can befriend yokai in different ways. Sometimes a spirit will join the cause through negotiation, and other times Nate will make in impression through combat.

The fighting mechanics of "Yo-Kai Watch" are alternately simple and chaotic. Nate can have six yokai active at one time in a ring formation, with the top three fighting and the other three in reserve. Characters can be swapped out on the fly by rotating the ring with the stylus. Positioning yokai of the same type next to each other will give the team a boost.

While the yokai attack by themselves with no input, there is still a lot the gamer has to be aware of. Yokai can become "inspirited," which has the opposite effect of what you expect. An inspirited yokai will be given a negative status effect and will need to be swapped out and "purified" by winning a short mini-game. …

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