Yo-kai Watch (game)

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Yo-kai Watch
North American box art cover of Yo-kai Watch.
Game information
Developers Level-5
Digital Works Entertainment Inc. (3D models)
Publishers Level-5 (Japan)
Nintendo (Worldwide)
Platform Nintendo 3DS
Players Single-player
Release date United States October 22, 2015
European Union March 6, 2016
Australia November 27, 2015
New Zealand November 27, 2015
Official website
Japan Official Japanese website
Official Japanese smartphone website
Worldwide Official North American website
Official Australian website
Official South Korean website
Game rating







Yo-kai Watch (妖怪ウォッチ Yōkai Wotchi) is a role playing-game developed by Level-5 for the Nintendo 3DS and is as well the very first game of the Yo-kai Watch series.

Level-5 announced the game at their Level-5 World 2011 conference in Tokyo on October 15-16, 2011, and the title was revealed to be Yo-kai Watch. The game was released on July 11, 2013 in Japan and on April 2015, Level-5 announced that Nintendo would handle the localization of the game in the west. At the E3 of 2015, Nintendo revealed that the game will release in North America on November 6, 2015.[3] The game was released in South Korea in the same month, November 26, 2015, and Australia and New Zealand on December 5, 2015[4] In February 2016, Nintendo of Europe revealed that Yo-kai Watch will release in Europe on April 29, 2016.[5]

Akihiro Hino, the president of Level-5 announced during LEVEL-5 Vision 2016 that Yo-kai Watch would be released for both Android and iOS devices in the fall of 2016 as Yo-kai Watch for Smartphone (妖怪ウォッチforスマートフォン Yōkai Wotchi for Sumātofon).[1] However, on October 26, 2016, Akihiro Hino announced that the game is delayed until 2017 to feature high-end graphics, and that it’ll be easily playable on smartphone with new controls and network compatibility.[2]


The story of the game starts with four friends in Triangel Park. Eddie shows its bug catching collection to the group, with the player asking Eddie if they have caught them themselves. Eddie explains to the player that there are a ton of bugs in the area where he caught them and Bear revealing to the group that he was the one that caught them and that Eddie for squeamish a couple of times. Bear focuses on the player asking the player if they have captured bugs for their summer projects. The player tells Bear that they are having troubles to get motivated, but Bear does not believe the player of what they are saying which caused a discussion where both Bear and Eddie insulting the player. After the discussion, the player goes back home to get their bug net and goes back to Triangle Park. Once there, the player captures three bugs with one glowing and starts to ask the janitor from their school where they could find rare bugs. Once there, the janitor suggests to the player that they can find them on Mt. Wildwood.


The game has an official demo in the Nintendo eShop that can be download as of July 3, 2013 in Japan. The same demo was also released for North America on October 22, 2015 in North America.[6] Australia and New Zealand could play the demo on on November 27, 2015.[7] In Europe, the demo was released after the Nintendo Direct presentation on March 4, 2016.

The story of the game follows Nathan and Whisper, when Whisper telling Nathan to go outside and find Yo-kai. One the two are outside, a teenage girl approaches Nathan and asks them for their help. After negotiating with Whisper, Nathan agrees to help the teenage girl and she tells Nathan that three Yo-kai are causing trouble and revealed were the two are. However, she tells Nathan that he must discover on its own were the last one is located. After Nathan found all three Yo-kai, the teenage girl revealed herself to be the Yo-kai Dismarelda which shocked both Nathan and Whisper. Nathan challenges Dismarelda, but loses, revealing that Nathan must befriend many Yo-kai, which the demo comes to its conclusion.


Yo-kai Watch is an open-world game were the player can walk through different cities in Springdale. The player can find Yo-kai in various areas when the Yo-kai Watch goes off and opening it to investigate were they are and battle them which in turn the Yo-kai will become the player's friend and join their party. The player can find Yo-kai on different ranks if te Yo-kai Watch rank is higher. An example is that if the player's Yo-kai Watch is ranked A, they can find Yo-kai with rank A or lower. The battle system of Yo-kai Watch is also different from traditional turn-based JRPG. The player can summon three Yo-kai that will fight automatically, but the player can support them by using either Soultimate, which are special moves performed by Yo-kai which will be done through a mini-game, if the mini-game is successful the Yo-kai can perform their Soultimate move. Target, which can target the Yo-kai which can be very helpful against a boss Yo-kai, it is also helpful to see the HP of the opposing Yo-kai during battle. Purify, can be used when the Yo-kai is inspirited by another Yo-kai. This will put the player through a mini game the same as Soultimate. If the player successfully purified the Yo-kai, the player's Yo-kai team can receive extra experience after the battle. And, Item, which can be used before the start of the battle or during the battle against another Yo-kai. This is helpful to boost the Yo-kai stats during battle or healing them when they are in low HP. It can also be helpful to befriend Yo-kai as the player can send food to the Yo-kai.

The player can also do request and favours that are around Springdale. Each NPC has different kind of requests or favors. Requests are much easier to do that favors, and the player will receive experience as well items after completion. Sometimes through quests the player can befriend new Yo-kai or Yo-kai that they already have. In spare-time, the player can hunt for bugs or for fish by using the bug net and fishing rod. The player will go through a mini game where they must hit the dots in the circle. Unfortunately, some dots are missing from the circle and when the player hits it, the bug or fish will go away. The player can also find items when investigating a tree, or search through trash, or under a car or vending machine. The items will have a glow on them which can be common or sometimes rare items. The player has the option to play through the story or exploring the city. However, if the player does not progress through the story enough, certain locations will be locked, and some Yo-kai will not appear. The player can get new Yo-kai through the Crank-a-kai by inserting different kind of medals the player will find throughout the game or by inserting a code at the bank in Springdale. They can also receive them as a download item when the player goes to the bank and asks the women behind the counter. The player can run through the game, but however there is a stamina bar which can be filled by certain items, however, that counts as well for biking on a quick rate.

Yo-kai can evolve when they hit a certain level into an entirely new Yo-kai. This will boost their stats as well and they are much stronger in battle. The player has the option of canceling an evolution, only for the Yo-kai to evolve on the next level. Yo-kai can also fuse with another Yo-kai or an item which can be performed at the Shoten Temple. There are certain events in the game as well such as Oni Time were the player is sent to a different realm where they can find treasures that contains rare items. However, if the oni's around that realm will spot the player, an Oni Yo-kai will chase them and attack them and is extremely powerful if the player's party is weak, however, the Oni Yo-kai can be defeated when the player's team is powerful. The player can also encounter Snartle, if the player crosses the street on a red light, but the encounter may be beneficial if the player follows the rules.

The player can also chase after Yo-criminals, which are Yo-kai who have committed a crime. If the player manages to catch them three times, they will receive one letter of a secret password. Unfortunately, the player must pay attention to see if the letter is capitalized or not. The player has also the possibility to share the notes with their friends to complete the password and once receiving it, the player can go to the second post office window in Uptown Springdale. The player must ask Detective Holdit about the deadline for catching specific criminals. The player can also make use of the Yo-kai Cam. The player uses the camera to detect Yo-kai, but the player must select Yo-kai Cam from the title menu in order to use it. The player should take a photo of their friend, family, or themselves to see which Yo-kai inspirits them. The player will receive a reward for snapping Yo-kai pictures and completing daily challenges.

Pre-release information

Yo-kai Watch was first officially announced during the Level-5 World 2011, Level-5 Vision 2011, in Tokyo. During the footage, it was strongly revealed that the game was meant to be for the Playstation 3 before their shift on the Nintendo 3DS. The Yo-kai that appeared in the footage were Dismerelda, Jibanyan, Hungramps, Tattletell, Ake, Whisper, Negatibuzz, Noko and Walkappa. All these Yo-kai's designs were re-designed for their official debut on the Nintendo 3DS. Level-5 revealed that the game would be a multimedia project same as other franchises developed by the same company.

On October 14, 2011, screenshots of the game have revealed the screenshots of the series animation as well. On October 13, 2012, Level-5 revealed that the game would be released for the Nintendo 3DS systems in an issue of CoroCoro Comics skipping their initial Playstation 3 release.

On December 28, 2012, more information about the game were revealed explaining in which location the game takes place and how it is the same as the real-life world. Further explained are the characters Nathan, Katie, Eddie and Bear and about the environment the characters are living in. Further, information about Jibanyan, Whisper, Walkappa and Tattletell were revealed by the company as well.

On January 17, 2012, Level-5 revealed the first official trailer of the game for 2013 Winter World Hobby Fair and a new trailer was shown during the Nintendo Direct presentation of February 21, 2013. On March 15, 2013 it is revealed that the game would release during the summer of 2013. Later during the year, Level-5 revealed new footage of gameplay about the game such as its battle system.

In the April 2013 issue of CoroCoro Comics, Level-5 revealed that the game would be released on July 11, 2013. Afterwards, Level-5 also announced that the first copies of the games would contain a Jibanyan mascot figure. On April 15, 2013, Level-5 showed footage about town exploration and battles the player will encounter in the game. Later, more information about the Yo-kai that makes an appearance in the game were revealed. It also confirmed that the player can choose between a boy or a girl at the start of the game and more about the main characters that make an appearance in the game. The game was also known as an "everyday life with Youkai".

Level-5 revealed a new feature named "Oni Time", were during the feature, the atmosphere of the town changes and the enraged Oni Yo-kai will chase the player and revealed that it is best that the player must run away from it and if the Oni manages to capture the player they'll have to fight it. Level-5 hints that players might be able to overcome the Oni, if they’re strong enough.[8] On June 18, 2013, Level-5 revealed new footage of gameplay. It revealed that the player can freely explore the town that they are living in and hunting Yo-kai around the town and forests as well. Level-5 revealed on July 1, 2013 that a demo of Yo-kai Watch would release on July 3, 2013.


Main article: Yo-kai Watch Original Soundtrack

The soundtrack of Yo-kai Watch was composed by Level-5 composer Kenichiro Saigo and it includes four discs. The first disc contains 40 tracks in total which the second disc contains 44 tracks. The third disc contains 48 tracks and the fourth disc is a bonus disc that includes three songs from the animation series.


Main article: Staff of Yo-kai Watch

Release information

Yo-kai Watch sold 53,654 during its first week earning them the second spot behind Pikmin 3 with 92,720 copies sold during its first week. However, during its second week, Yo-kai Watch still holding on their second spot with a total of 82,756 copies, which in their second week sold around 29,102 extra copies. However, in August 2013 the game sold a total of 143,796 copies in Japan and in September 2013 it sold a total of 179,247 copies. At the start of 2014, Yo-kai Watch sold a total of 294,751 copies in Japan, returning to the Japanese game charts since November 2013.

By the end of January 2014, Yo-kai Watch sales were boosted with a total of 345,529 copies that has been sold in total, which earned them a spot in the top 10 of January 20, 2014 - January 26, 2014. By February 2014, the game sold 500,000 copies since their debut, with an official tweet from Level-5 International America.[9] Level-5 International America then tweeted if the west would like to see Yo-kai Watch in North America and Europe.[10], they've also used the official Yo-kai Watch title for the time being before making it an official westernized name.

During the Golden Week of 2014, Yo-kai Watch takes top spot again with a total of 860,824 copies sold since their debut during the summer of 2013. During the week of May 26th – June 1st of 2014, Yo-kai Watch sold over one million copies. In total the game sold 1,020,877 copies in total and was on the third place below new released with Mobile Suit Gundam: Side Stories taking the second spot of 82,048 copies and Mario Kart 8 with 325,892 copies.

Akihiro Hino revealed after giving an interview on the Japanese news site Zak Zak that the western version of the game is already in development and that it will be released next year by saying: “In regards to foreign markets, we have been taking a look at it in regards to Yo-kai Watch. We are in development planning to release it sometime next year. We think it has a big appeal as a very Japanese-ish fantasy story. We already have support from a foreign toy maker company saying that it will be a definite success.”

Akihiro Hino revealed more information about the western release of Yo-kai Watch during an interview with Gematsu after the franchise's first movie. Akihiro Hino stated that the animation of the franchise will come along to the west as well, and that they are planning on something that is even bigger than Yo-kai Watch. Weeks afterwards, it was discovered that Jibanyan and Whisper were both trademarked in the west. At E3 2015, a trailer of the game was showcased during Ninendo's Digital Event presentation, and demos of the game were available to play on the show floor during the event. At the convention, a release window of Holiday 2015 was announced with the date being further clarified to a November 6 release in North America by the time the game was showcased at the EB Games Expo 2015. A demo of the game was released in North America on October 22, 2015 and the game was also sold as a bundle with the Nintendo 2DS in North America, selling under $100.

However, the game sold poorly in the United States, with Nintendo of America not giving any information about the sales rating of the game despite heavy marketing it. The game was released in Europe on April 29, 2016 with a demo two weeks prior. As of June 6, 2016, the game has sold 400,000 copies in North America which is very poor for its debut in the western world. However, the game became a huge success in Europe selling 680,000 copies which is also much faster than the initial sales in Japan. The game is mostly popular in France and Spain with the merchandise of the game being sold the most. As of 2017, Yo-kai Watch has a total sale of 2.55 million.


Review scores
Publication Score
Famitsu 36 of 40 (9, 9, 9, 9)[11]
IGN 7.2/10[12]
Always Nintendo 8/10
Game Informer 8.5/10
GameSpot 7/10

Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave Yo-kai Watch a score of 36 of 40. Japanese reviewer of Famitsu Reona Ebihara wrote "The game gradually expands its feature set as you go, opening up this very unique world that's easy to melt into." as well "The 3D visuals work great, serving especially well to put you right there as you're searching for spirits in the grass. The battles proceed automatically but let you change formations and offer support in real time, keeping things both simple and deeply strategic.". Another Japanese reviewer from Famitsu, Urara Honma added "The game balances collection, battle, and monster-raising in a really expert manner." and also "The battles use the touchscreen deftly to boost their strategic aspects; it feels really great to control. You won't run into much frustration playing this game, and while it does feel like one big fetch quest at times, the charms of the story more than make up for that."[11]

IGN gave the game a review score of 7.2. Kallie Plagge, a reviewer of IGN said that the game was good saying "Yo-Kai Watch's gameplay is inconsistent, but its world is compelling.". The plus points of the game were rich worldbuilding, charm and personality and boss fights while the minus points were passive battles and some tedious quests.[12] Game Informer gave the game a score of 8.5, saying that the concept of the game "Take the core tenants of Pokémon and translate them into a different world with a sillier tone and a novel take on combat", the graphics "Despite some clever creature designs, the overall visual style doesn’t distinguish itself", the sound "None of the music or voice acting is grating or obnoxious (which is a danger in games skewed towards younger players), but nothing stands out as being particularly memorable, either", the playability "Switching between stylus and button controls is annoying. You can technically pick one control style and stick with it but playing successfully means switching back and forth. Separately, field movement and touch-screen controls feel great", on entertainment "Yo-Kai Watch has a great sense of humor, unique combat, and collection hooks that sink in quickly" and on replay "Moderately high". Kyle Hilliard also said the game was a worthy Pokémon competitor.

Events and bundles

Video game retailer GameStop gave away a free Jibanyan medal if players in North America pre-ordered the game at the store which the medal work may vary. Nintendo of America revealed that there would be a Nintendo 2DS bundle which contains the game with the cost of $99,99. In Australia and New Zealand, the game was bundled with Nintendo 2DS on its release on December 5th with a cost of $169.95. The bundles were also released in Europe on October 7, 2016 which included a blue Nintendo 2DS and the game pre-installed. The bundle was revealed alongside with the Yo-kai Watch 2 announcement for Europe in Spring 2017. The bundle would cost around €100.

On launch day, Nintendo of America released a launch party at the Nintendo World Store in the Rockefeller Center from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm. President of Level-5]] and creator of Yo-kai Watch attended the launch party and ones who attended the launch party could receive an autograph from Akihiro Hino from 1:00pm to 2:00pm.


In 2014, Yo-kai Watch alongside Monster Hunter 4 gained the Game of the Year 2014 award saying that the game is "fun that distinctive and adorable specters will be combined and evolve. The prize has been given to the work, which made kids excited and possessed, being received the voice of "It's fun, exciting" from many people with the indication of deathblow or replacement of circle, battle to fight by popping and rubbing their specters, and numerous gimmicks such as monster medals and demon time".

Technical details


Media Nintendo 3DS Game Card
Digital download
Download size 6,345 (794MB) blocks
Supported features Nintendo Network (download items)
Local Play (2 players)
Input / compatible controllers Nintendo 3DS

North America

Media Nintendo 3DS Game Card
Digital download
Download size 6,641 blocks
Supported features Nintendo Network (download items)
Local Play (2 players)
Input / compatible controllers Nintendo 3DS

Version history


Version Release date Official changelog More information

North America

Version Release date Official changelog More information
1.1 November 6, 2015 Gameplay adjustments. Gameplay adjustments.
1.2 February 25, 2016 Adding French and Spanish language. French and Spanish were added to Yo-kai Watch as language options.


Version Release date Official changelog More information
1.1 April 29, 2016 Gameplay adjustments. Gameplay adjustments.



Cover artwork


  • The Japanese version and the localized version differ from each other:
    • The localized version includes an opening video as well as a drawing of Jibanyan in the end credits.
  • The cover arts of the game are different per region, however the background remained the same except in Europe.
    • South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand uses the same cover as the North America version.
  • Localization of the game took at least two years and four months for its release in North America and South Korea and took two years for its release in Australia. Unfortunately, it took three years for its release in Europe after the initial release of the game in Japan.


In other languages

In other languages
Language Name Etymology
Japanese 妖怪ウォッチ Name translated to the title: "Yo-kai Watch".
South Korean 요괴워치 Name translated to the title: "Yo-kai Watch" or Yogoe Wochi.
Cantonese Chinese 妖怪手表 It roughly translated to "Monster Watch".
Mandarin Chinese 妖怪手表 It roughly translated to "Monster Watch".

Core series Yo-kai Watch games
Yo-kai Watch
(Nintendo 3DS, iOS, Android*)
Yo-kai Watch 2
(Nintendo 3DS)
Yo-kai Watch 3
(Nintendo 3DS)
Yo-kai Watch 4
(Nintendo Switch)
Yo-kai Watch side games
Yo-kai Watch Busters
(Nintendo 3DS)
Yo-kai Sangokushi
(Nintendo 3DS)
Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version
(Wii U)
Yo-kai Watch Busters 2
(Nintendo 3DS)
Yo-kai Watch mobile games
Yo-kai Taiso Dai-ichi Puzzle da nyan
(iOS, Android)
Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble
(iOS, Android)
Yo-kai Watch: Gerapo Rhythm
(iOS, Android)
Yo-kai Daijiten
(iOS, Android)
Yo-kai Sangokushi: Kunitori Wars
(iOS, Android)