Oh, I get it. Because Jibanyan is a cat and Pikachu is a mouse.
Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits follows the original Yo-kai Watch, billed by those around us as Level-5’s attempt at making a Pokémon game. I bought the first game last year, and it sure wasn’t that. It was a little like Pokémon, but only if Pokémon had a shoddy tutorial, a confusing battle system, and awful creature designs. Five hours into a review copy of its sequel, I can already say that Yo-kai Watch 2 is a much better game.
The premise here is that you’re a kid with a watch who can communicate with ghosts (or Yo-kai), and only you and certain other people can see them. The Yo-kai cause mischief, and also battle you. If you beat them in battle, they may befriend you, and then you can enter battle against other Yo-kai with your team. The battle system, while allowing you to carry six Yo-kai into battle, is not Pokémon.
I’d compare it more to a vastly simplified Final Fantasy XIII, in which you do not control your creatures directly, but instead take more of a coaching role. You can decide what enemy your Yo-kai focuses on, whether to use items, or whether to use super powerful moves in battle. I recommend playing the demo here if you’re interested in learning more.
Also unlike Pokémon, you’re not going on a linear adventure across numerous towns and cities. In Bony Spirits, you’re exploring one very large town, completing both story and side quests. Yes, there are plenty of fetch quests, and yes, it follows Level-5 tradition of having small locations absolutely packed with stuff to do.
In the last game, this battle system was poorly explained, and it sent you into a few challenging battles far too early. The worst part was an early boss fight that you weren’t prepared for. This time, despite being a sequel, the game eases you in with numerous gentle tutorials. I didn’t fight anything resembling a boss until around four hours in, and up until that point, the game has taken its time explaining the characters, world, gameplay, and Yo-kai itself to me. I can’t tell yet if the battle system is necessarily all that much better, but the game’s flow is already vastly superior to the first Yo-kai Watch.
If you were worried about the game being inaccessible to newcomers who heard this sequel was better, fear not. The protagonist gets amnesia at the beginning and several story points happen beat-for-beat from the first game. Don’t know who Jibanyan is? You will. Don’t know who that ghost butler is? You will. Don’t know how Yo-kai work? You will.
Other than that, I’ve just had way more fun with Bony Spirits than its predecessor. The world is much bigger, the story and characters are comfy in that Level-5 sort of way, the Yo-kai designs are way better (and there are way more this time – 450 compared to 250 last time), and I’m actually feeling more engaged with the battle system. We’ll see how I feel when the review rolls around, but as of today, I like Yo-kai Watch 2. I like it a lot.