Level 5 is a company best known in the west for Ni No Kuni 2, but in Japan one of their biggest series is no doubt Yo-Kai Watch. If you don’t know about Yo-Kai Watch, it’s a Pokemon style RPG that is a great example of how to take someone else’s idea and make it your own. It was a game full of charm, humour and some would say, more personality than Pokemon. It incorporated more Japanese influences than Pokemon, which gave it that Persona vibe, and the story as well as side quest felt more like a real RPG. It quickly became a huge hit in Japan, and was called ‘“Pokemon Killer” by many.
Its dominance didn’t last long though. When Pokemon Go released, it brought the resurgence to Pokemon franchise, and killed all other competition outright, including Yo-Kai Watch. Their third game sold much worse than the first two titles, which ended the Yo-Kai Watch craze and even massively delayed the localisation. Many thought that this was the end and that Yo-Kai Watch may never raise to it former glory, but it could all change with the fourth installment which is coming exclusively to Nintendo Switch.
It seems that the good people at Level 5 were not satisfied with rehashing the same old concept over and over again, and that they wanted Yokai Watch 4 to be true next gen experience. It’s a giant crossover of the three Yo-Kai Watch universes and it’s clearly more serious, dark, and it might be everything that Pokemon fans wanted from Pokemon game on the Switch.
Level 5 heard the demands Pokemon fans had for their favourite franchise, and decided to give us what Nintendo did not. First of all it’s a third person game so no more isometric angles that might work great for 3Ds 240p screen, but it should not be acceptable on the Switch. Change of the angle means that everything has more realistic proportions which gives it the sense of scale and realism. There also seems to be Skyrim style compass at top of the screen which could hint at open world.
Another thing that we can see in this screenshot are the Yo-Kai strolling around the environment. Many Pokemon fans wanted to see this feature in Pokemon games for awhile. Pokemon Lets Go! kind of has that, but it retains the old isometric angle which ruins the effect.
Frankly we don’t know what the game will actually be like, but judging from this screenshot it shows a lot of promise. It seems to be much more ambitious and more risky than what Nintendo showcased with the Pokemon franchise. Casual approach to formula of Pokemon Let’s Go! could make many people jump board to Yo-Kai Watch.
Yo-Kai Watch 4 is coming to Japan this Winter, as is the first Nintendo Switch Pokemon game. It will be a true battle of titans, so make sure to stay tuned for that. Also do tell us in the comments, are you excited for Yo-Kai Watch? Or are you more hyped for Pokemon Let’s Go!? Which one will win this winter? Let as know what you think!