Head up a team of demons to take them from being the worst of the best, to the best of the best, in Yo-Kai Watch Blasters. Did I say demons? Yes, I did say demons - for those of you who aren’t aware, a Yōkai is a demon. Where Yo-Kai differ is that they are basically Pokémon, but only visible using a special device. At least, that’s what they are in the main Yo-Kai Watch games - collect and battle them.
So, what does that mean for Yo-Kai Watch Blasters? It’s a spin-off, first of all, where you control the Yo-Kai themselves, and make them beat up evil Yo-Kai - that is a team of Blasters. Each member of the team is either a Fighter, a Tank, a Healer or a Ranger, and you have to choose a team of four to control. As you discover more, you can have a team of just one type if you want. You learn the ropes at the start of the game, because Sgt Burly comes along to whip your Blasters team into shape, because they are literally useless.
For this review, I played the White Dog Squad version, but there is also the Red Cat Corps available. Though, when I began playing, the Moon Rabbit Crew update hit, which is available on both versions of the game. It includes a new story, new bosses, new Yo-Kai and endgame content - basically like the third version of a Pokémon title when they used to do those, but free. You can either play through White Dog/Red Cat first and import your save into Moon Rabbit, or you can just start in Moon Rabbit - both ways you get to experience the main Blasters story.
As mentioned, the plot is a very basic underdog story, which sees you completing missions at the behest of a Yo-Kai called Sgt Burly. The missions are very repetitive, and amount to “go to this section of the map, beat up Yo-Kai, come back through a magical door”. Which is super weird, as you head to missions in a car that is a blatant rip-off of the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters…
Yo-Kai Watch Blasters has 470 Yo-Kai to find, fight and collect. Most of them you’ll befriend after beating them up during missions, or a Patrol, which is done by hitting A at the right time during a mini-game. Patrols are just open-ended missions where you pick an area of a town, which you’ve previously visited, and run around collecting Oni Orbs, beating up Yo-Kai and completing mini missions (find things or beat up tougher Yo-Kai). Oni Orbs are used for leveling up, crafting/improving equipment, and almost literally everything - you need a lot of them, received for completing missions and just lying on the ground for you to pick up. Again I’ll reiterate, the game is very repetitive.
Graphically, the game looks fairly good on the 2DS, though I encountered choppy framerate issues during some areas of missions. All of the characters are well designed, but since this is the third game in the 3DS-exclusive series they really should be.
Sound wise, the music is kind of catchy for the most part, but it definitely gives off a child-friendly vibe. Whereas the Pokémon titles are games that children can (and should) play, this is definitely aimed at them. A lot of characters even have their own catch phrases, which are repeated often in both text and audio clips. I swear, I never want to hear “Oh my swirls!” again…
If you’re looking for a soft RPG to get a tween interested in the genre, then you can do worse than Yo-Kai Watch Blasters. It will take about 20 hours to complete, plus time spent collecting Yo-Kai and filling up your collectors book. However, if you’re looking for something that will change your life, with a strong story to fill a hole - then don’t go for this. It’s fairly average, and the gaming equivalent of busy work at a job you’re kinda fond of.
YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: White Dog Squad & YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: Red Cat Corps (Reviewed on Nintendo 2DS)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
It’s not going to change the world, but it would certainly interest a tween that wants to get into RPGs.