After my recent playthrough of Monster Crown, I got to thinking more about the wider monster catching subgenre of games. Specifically, what makes some of these games jive with me and others fall flat. Over the past few years, I’ve played a variety of different monster catching games, most pretty solid, a few not so much. While these games were often mechanically different, I was able to consider the defining elements of the games and what made them work, with others struggling , and what I generally like to see in these games.
I’m a pretty shameless Yo-kai Watch stan, even though the games’ glory days are seemingly over, and it’s unlikely future games beyond 3 will get localized. Yo-kai Watch works pretty well on its own, rather than being treated as a Pokemon-killer/rival, which seems to be how it was unfortunately marketed in the West to the series’ deterrence. In general, Yo-kai Watch seems to hit a few more notes from modern JRPG’s, which gives additional depth to the games. For example, parts of the game feel more open-world and there’s a genuine sense of urban exploration. While the battle system in the games is somewhat polarizing, it feels novel to have a monster battling system that is automatic, with the player being tasked to activate skills and use items instead of dishing out direct commands.Yo-kai Watch should also be seriously commended for its localization efforts. While many people might find it egregious for a modern game dealing with Japanese yokai to be localized into an American setting, somehow the localization makes it work. There’s plenty of really great puns (Predictabull is one of my favorites) and there’s a genuinely funny sense of humor throughout the games that works better than one would expect. I even surprisingly enjoyed the anime, which carries over the game’s humor and makes for a decent comedy show. In general, there’s many things that Yo-kai Watch does right.