Level-5 capitalized on 2015’s holiday season by releasing Yo-kai Watch on Nintendo 3DS. They’re now priming us and doubling down for a repeat performance in the form of Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls — due out on September 30. A demo for Bony Spirits dropped last Friday and, based on our own hands-on experience, this new adventure is shaping up to be a larger and more ambitious outing than last year’s.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Yo-kai Watch puts players in control of young hero named Nate Adams, a boy who wields a device called, you guessed it, a Yo-kai Watch. Using his watch, and with a little help from his ghost friend Whisper, Nate is able to fight and befriend various Yo-kai (mythological Japanese spirits) who cause mischief and trouble around town. The demo puts the player up in the mountain town of Harrisville where Nate’s grandmother lives, along with a starter team of six Yo-kai, including the series’ mascot Jibanyan. (The demo actually gives the player ten Yo-kai, but locks four of them from being used during the main playable mode.)
A cool new feature introduced with the demo is Yo-kai Watch Blasters, a mode which accommodates up to four players via local co-op; each player controls one of their own Yo-kai in an action stage fighting Oni, the bad kind of Japanese demons and spirits. The objective of Blasters mode is to collect Oni Orbs within a time limit and to not get wiped out by the aforementioned Oni, which come in various sizes — from small and manageable to large and avoid at all costs. After a set amount of time, a door will open allowing the squad to end their run on that particular Blasters stage, though staying a bit longer will yield the team greater rewards to use while playing the main game. Blasters can also be played solo, but it is quite difficult and a little lackluster. The mode is very clearly meant to be played with friends in order to maximize a fun factor. For those playing the demo, this is where the four locked Yo-kai can be used.
In the main game, the demo doesn’t really provide any substantial changes to the way battles are conducted — a full description of which you can find detailed in our review of the first Yo-kai Watch. What has been added, however, is a new feature called Yo-kai Watch Model Zero, an upgraded version of the titular watch (you can tell it’s better because of the suffix “Zero”). Switching to the Model Zero during battle allows players to poke inspirited enemies for more money and added status effects. Or, they can use powered up “M” (Moxie) versions of their Yo-kai’s special Soultimate Moves. Though the “M” move does come at a cost as it drains some of the energy your other on-screen Yo-kai have gathered. This may prevent them from using their own Soultimate Move, though it is definitely an interesting new tactic for either a desperate power hit or a guaranteed final blow.
Outside of battle, players can catch bugs, help townsfolk, find two secret bosses (Arachnus and Toadal Dude), and just generally try to clean up the town of pesky Yo-kai. The demo doesn’t allow the player to collect any medals or befriend Yo-kai, but these features are a key aspect of this gacha-monster (Digimon, Pokemon, other -mon titles) style game, and imperative to the progress of the full game. As far as story goes, the demo doesn’t reveal much; however, the E3 2016 trailer, below, hints at time-traveling to 60 years in the past.
The game has a very Saturday-morning cartoon feel in terms of style and design, going as far as opening with a fully animated intro theme song, and is very much being geared towards children. But that hasn’t stopped some of us (read: me) in the past from diving headlong into titles like this one. If you’re unsure and haven’t tried out the first Yo-kai Watch (there’s a demo for that one, too), do yourself a favor and download the Yo-kai Watch 2 demo on the 3DS eShop. Once you get control of Nate, explore the town.
The demo hosts a surprisingly large world in the form of Harrisville that can be totally missed by following the suggested story progression, which can be completed in about 15 minutes. There is definitely a lot crammed in this demo, but there is plenty in terms of features and mechanics that are left to be explored in the full game.