Hey guys, JR here. Ok, now I know this game has been out in Japan for years (3 to be precise) and out in America since November, but it was only released in the UK last month and I've just finished the main storyline, so I'm going to do a quick review of the game, because I can. There may be some minor spoilers ahead.
Overview: Yo Kai Watch is a game where you go around befriending creatures based off of Japanese mythology (such as Kappas, Onis and Kyubis), known as Yo Kai, which only the player can see with the help of the Yo Kai Watch, and battling alongside them. In that respect it is similar to Pokémon, but there are some differences.
The Pros: The Yo Kai designs are all really unique and interesting. Sure there are some pallet swaps (actually quite a few), but that doesn't detract from the designs and the swaps are usually different types to the originals. The fusing mechanic is a neat idea, though it does have its downsides (which we'll go into later). But the real pro to this game is how addicting it is. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've played this game for hours on end and didn't get bored. The amount and variety of side-quests and missions away from the main storyline keep this game fresh, even if many are glorified fetch quests, because they usually integrate new Yo Kai into the missions. There are very few Yo Kai you have to encounter for the main story, so this is the best way to introduce the Yo Kai to the player. The main story its self is decent, it's not going to win any awards for story writing, but it's not that sort of game. The way you level up is odd though. You progress through "Watch Ranks", which means you upgrade the Yo Kai Watch so you can find stronger Yo Kai. You start off at E rank and quite quickly move to D, then it takes a fairly long time to get to C rank. But then next chapter you go to B rank and you can immediately upgrade to A rank. However, this gives a huge boost to the post game, because you don't get the final rank, S rank, in the main story and a lot of areas in the game are blocked off to anyone under that rank and a lot of the best looking Yo Kai are S rank and as such not available until the post game, which adds to the life of the game and makes you want to carry on playing even after the final boss.
The Cons: This game is not perfect. The way the boss fights are set up is annoying so if you don't know how to work the targeting system or don't know what you're meant to target during the fights, you're going to struggle. The entire fighting system in the game is a bit off in my opinion. You can only control your Yo Kai's Soultimate move (or their finisher), which you activate through a variety of in battle mini-games, which are slightly annoying in a high speed boos battle. Other than that, the AI does all the fighting, all you can do is use items (one per turn, which isn't great when you have three Yo Kai battling at once) and tell them what to target, but not which move to use. Then we have the fusing system. Nowhere do they tell you in game, what fuses with what, so you just have to catch Yo Kai and collect items then go back and hope something works, which is tedious. Not, however, as tedious as the games biggest problem. Befriending Yo Kai is a pain to do in the wild. First you have to lock onto them with the Yo Kai Watch, which is fairly easy to mess up with on moving targets, then you have to give them their favourite food, which is complete guess work unless you want to look it up on the internet or get the guide, because once again they never tell you in game what it is for any Yo Kai. And even then, the Yo Kai might not join you, because reasons. This is especially annoying with rare Yo Kai that only show up once or twice in an in-game day/ night cycle. Although, I will say that this does make finally getting a Yo Kai after numerous tries all the more satisfying, but really it shouldn't need to get to that point in the first place.
Summary: Overall, I really enjoyed this game. It has problems but they don't detract too heavily from what is a very good game. If you are a fan of games like Pokémon or even Monster Hunter, I'd recommend giving this game a go.
Overall Score: 7/10