Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls / Bony Spirits (3DS Review)

Less than a year after the Yo-Kai Watch invasion from Japan first hit the west, Yo-Kai Watch 2 arrives to make its case. It’s a me-too sequel that shares much in common with the first game, and yet Yo-Kai Watch 2 has enough content to garner new fans and impress the old ones. It not only adds the requisite new Yo-Kai to collect, there are new gameplay modes, expanded multiplayer, and so much more content that it’s staggering. Now, the Yo-Kai holdouts have to ask: do new additions amidst old design foibles make for a truly improved sequel and a good jumping-on point?

Yo-Kai Watch 2 may be a sequel, but its story line is friendly enough for newcomers. Whereas the first game’s story was very slight, the sequel has more of a consistent plot. The story starts off very similar to the first game with deliberate deja vu moments echoing the first game, but within hours the real story kicks in, involving time travel, an age-old war, and a few surprises along the way.

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New friends, looking a lot like the old ones

Yo-Kai Watch 2 is much better paced than the first game, with unlocks and new places to go unlocking at a faster clip than before. Being able to leave Springdale in the sequel adds much-needed diversity and breadth beyond the original game, including the small town of Harrisville, whose quaint countryside facade provides a nice change of pace from Springdale’s suburban version of Japan.

Also padding out the playtime are Yo-Kai Watch 2’s side quests, practically the real meat of the game. In my campaign, I’ve been drug all around town in endless missions to keep the peace from pesky Yo-Kai and make peace among the needy civilians. Some quests are more fresh and creative than others, with many sticking to the first game’s template, or else they suffer from vague instructions: a surefire way to stall progress. If anything else, these side quests will keep you playing long after the end credits.

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Yo-Kai combat is still largely the same as the first game barring major changes. It’s still a system where Yo-Kai act largely upon their own accord, whether they want to damage opponents or not. I found I could speed through the average battle without having to rely on powerful Soultimate attacks, letting my team automate for the most part. Pokémon, this ain’t. At least actual strategy is needed in the boss fights, of which put your Yo-Kai on thin ice as to keep them going. Maintaining your team’s defenses will be a necessity, from healing to keeping an eye on their Soultimates.

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The new Model Zero upgrade provides new combat options, such as poking an enemy Yo-Kai for various bonuses or to unleash hyper-powered Soultimate M moves (preferably for boss battles). Even with these upgrades, I encountered a nasty and cheap difficulty spike late into the game, where later bosses become relentlessly powerful. For a game aimed at kids, I hope they spend more time grinding than I thought I did.

Prior to Yo-Kai Watch 2’s release, promises were made that the (difficult) process of befriending Yo-Kai would be made easier than before. This is a “yes and no” situation. You can still use food to bait a creature you desire (and the Model Zero will tell you what food they like), but you also have a chance to befriend with the Model Zero upgrade by way of poking. This only works in concept. Anecdotally, I’ve spend up to 30 minutes trying to get Yo-Kai required for any number of side quests. At its worst, this “catch em all” aspect becomes a waste of my time. Outside of making catches on the side, you’ll earn plenty of Yo-Kai within the story itself, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to obtain the over-300 Yo-Kai.

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One of the best-looking games on the 3DS

One thing that’s not changed from the original Yo-Kai Watch is the stellar presentation. This sequel is a quality-looking and sounding game, especially for one on the 3DS. Only in a few areas does the frame rate chug with the 3DS’s 3D effect on. Between all the questing and collecting, Yo-Kai Watch 2’s world building invites you in to explore. Good thing then that the touch screen map makes a return with some much needed updates, including labels for important locations making for far less meandering.

The soundtrack for the sequel does recycle familiar tunes from Yo-Kai Watch 1, but it also provides remixes and all-new tracks to the series’ repertoire. Voice work abounds as well, and it’s a fine quality, although the Yo-Kai are much chattier in battles than before. If you can’t stand cutesy character noises, your ears have been warned.

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The newly added Yo-Kai themselves do a good job meshing with the established roster, and the new Yo-Kai arguably boast even more personality than the established crowd. Among the colorful new menagerie are Yo-Kai inspired by monks, buffed-up insects, a samurai whose head is made of rice, and more derived straight from Japanese folklore. And yes, the usual re-colors of other Yo-Kai are here in new variations, a symptom of Yo-Kai Watch’s issue with lacking diversity.

For the lonely Yo-Kai hunter who wants to drag their friends in, at last there are more ways to do so. Yo-Kai Watch 2’s multiplayer got a sizable upgrade, with competitive Yo-Kai battles making a return with newly added online functionality. The trading of Yo-Kai Medals, something surprisingly missing in the first game, is introduced as well (with online from the start, thankfully).

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Artist’s conception of Yo-Kai Blasters, the new co-op multiplayer mode

The most interesting multiplayer mode, however, is Yo-Kai Blasters, expanding upon the Terror Time system and letting you and your friends use Yo-Kai to enact vengeance upon the destructively powerful Oni who terrorizes you in single player. Whether you can find other people to play with or not (and in the review process, I couldn’t find anyone online), these additions bring much extended value to the package.

Bony Spirits or Fleshy Souls?: Following the tried and true Pokémon model, Yo-Kai Watch 2 comes in two versions: Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls. Named after the warring Yo-Kai armies, both games provide the same core experience, with each version having its own exclusive Yo-Kai. If you play one version, you can trade for exclusives from the other. Depending on what version and where you purchase, you’ll get either an exclusive Soultimate Move for Jibanyan or a rare Yo-Kai.

*As an aside, the Japanese versions of Yo-Kai Watch 2 had unique opening animations between them. Disappointingly, this is not the case for the western release, with both games sharing an identical opening.

There’s much to enjoy about Yo-Kai Watch 2, even if it can’t shed some of its predecessor’s baggage. It’s still hard to catch the titular Yo-Kai, the battle system is overly simple, and some of the side quests can get stale. There’s clearly a spark in Yo-Kai Watch 2 that made it a phenomenal seller back home in Japan, despite these carry-over issues. It may not be Pokémon-level quality, but there’s still appeal in the concept of Yo-Kai Watch, with its colorful world and imaginative monsters, and this sequel is bigger and (mostly) better than ever before.

This review is based on the Bony Spirits edition. Review copy was provided by Nintendo

Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls / Bony Spirits (3DS Review)
While Yo-Kai Watch 2 carries over some of its predecessor's niggling issues, the sequel boasts a vast array of content and plenty of requisite new monsters. This is Yo-Kai Watch on steroids.
The Good
  • Excellent presentation
  • Tremendous amount of content
The Bad
  • Still hard to befriend Yo-Kai
  • Some tedious side missions
8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
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About The Author

Editor-in-Chief (Former)

A man with a plan. My favorite video game franchise is Pokemon, but his favorite video game is Resident Evil 4. I can also tell you trivial cartoon factoids.