Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits/Fleshy Souls was released for 3DS over the weekend and I’ve already sunk my teeth into a good few hours of it. Having only started playing the first Yo-Kai Watch earlier this year, I’m pretty familiar with it and on starting Fleshy Souls, I felt a sense of déjà vu; as did my character. It felt like time was repeating itself. A theme the title plays with throughout.
That’s the point. Yo-Kai Watch 2 welcomes back returning players in a way that feeds them nostalgia for the first title while bringing new players into the fold without alienation. Repeating the events of the first title — with some slight diversions — does a few things, chief of which is ease players into the experience.
But there’s more to it than that. Yo-Kai Watch 2’s story focuses on time-travel and ensuring that events in the past occur as they’re supposed to, in order to preserve your own timeline. It’s actually quite high-concept for a story aimed at younger gamers, which makes it even more important to make players comfortable from the get go. Not to mention establish the idea of altered timelines, time travel and paradoxes. If you’ve played the original then the first hour or so is going to seem familiar, yet different. Characters, locations and gameplay mechanics are reintroduced and refreshed. It’s much needed too. Yo-Kai Watch is quite deep and includes a huge number of features that can and will be forgotten. It is a JRPG after all.
Once, you’re refreshed on the way to play Yo-Kai Watch, you’ll start to explore and find many slight differences in Springdale, the way characters interact and behave and the way you remember the first title unfolding. I won’t give anything away here, but this is the point. Someone, or something, it trying to change the past, to stop you from ever acquiring the Yo-Kai Watch and changing the present. You’ll come across a range of situations that seem familiar, but that play out slightly differently. It’s an interesting take on the idea of a sequel and one that definitely pays off.
Level-5 has followed up the original Yo-Kai Watch with two games that manage to improve upon and expand that which came before. It welcomes both old and new players and makes playing a sequel an experience in reminiscing instead of rehashing; even when playing almost identical siutations.
Yo-Kai Watch 2 Bony Spirits/Fleshy Souls is available now for 3DS.