Since my first experience with Yo-Kai Watch I’ve always felt that it was similar to another monster catching title that I have been a huge fan of. And with Level 5 and Nintendo now releasing separate versions of this sequel, I feel as if they’ve closed the gap even more. Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls are in fact the same games with a few exceptions, one of the major exceptions being exclusive Yo-Kai to each version. Yo-Kai Watch 2 puts the player in the shoes of either Nate or Katie, depending on who you would prefer. Wielding the Yo-Kai Watch the character is tasked with helping everyone around them affected by the daily shenanigans.
In actual fact, if you’ve played the first game you’ll feel right at home in this one. From the get-go everything felt familiar to me including the locations set out in the game. The only gripe I had with it early on was the mechanic they used to introduce newcomers to the game… Amnesia. This mechanic or story plot obviously helps new players familiarise themselves better with the controls and battle mechanics but for someone who’s played the first game already and was all too familiar with everything, it truly felt slow and painful. Thankfully it didn’t last too long though and about two hours in I was on my merry way once again.
Admittedly the game tends to hold your hand a lot and points you in the right direction during most of the main quests. The side quests, however, is a little tougher and I enjoyed struggling a bit at times trying to determine where to go or what to do. This of course does give you the impression that the game was in fact designed mainly for a younger audience as the story itself doesn’t take itself too serious just as with the first Yo-Kai Watch. Springdale hasn’t changed much either since the first game including locations like the characters home, school and a few stores. This of course isn’t a bad thing at all, it helped me retain familiarity with the world that is Yo-Kai Watch and yet gave me more to be excited about. What is the “more” you ask? Well in Yo-Kai Watch 2 Level 5 has included additional areas on top of the massive Springdale. Harrisville and San Fantastico are just two of the larger areas that you’ll be able to explore and with the train now being able to take you to these places a lot faster you won’t be restricted to just Springdale.
The battle system is barely tweaked in the game and players still have to manage their six Yo-Kai simultaneously in real-time. The turn style wheel that holds your current Yo-Kai is still utilised to assist your Yo-Kai in releasing their special moves, purify them as well as use items to heal or entice enemy Yo-Kai during battle. Of course it is important to know that Yo-Kai from the same tribes (think of this as elemental types) that are placed next to each other will gain a “unity” increase and will grant them strength bonuses. Yo-Kai will also be able to unleash more powerful moves known as Moxie moves. Consider it as M-Moves, just like the Z-Moves from Pokémon Sun and Moon. Just as with the first Yo-Kai Watch enemies are easily dispatched with not much of a challenge. It is however the boss battles that I found myself needing to re-think the placement of my team as well as how and when it is the best times to unleash their special attacks. A good battle can sometimes last for over 30 minutes.
All-in-all the game really felt more like an expansion rather than a sequel and yet this is not to say that it is a bad thing. If you really enjoyed the first Yo-Kai Watch then you’ll definitely enjoy this one. With over 300 Yo-Kai to befriend, multiplayer challenges or mini-games, online trading as well as additional areas to explore how can you say no to this? Is there really a need for two separate versions of the same title, personally I think not but just like Pokémon, “Gotta catch em all” or in this case befriend them all.