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While the Nintendo 3DS isn’t as popular as it once was due to the release of the Nintendo Switch, there are still a few notable titles for it in 2019. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story+Bowser Jr’s Journey, a remake of 2009s Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story for the Nintendo DS, was released in January, and a port of the 2016s Wii U title, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, will be coming on March 8, 2019, as well as Persona Q 2: New Cinema Labyrinth coming in June. If you look at any of the 2019 game release date lists on big sites, you’ll likely see these titles. One Nintendo 3DS title you might not see on this release list, however, is Yo-Kai Watch 3.
While Yo-Kai Watch 3 released last year in Europe on December 7, it didn’t reach North America until February 8, 2019, three years after the Japanese release of Yo-Kai Watch 3: Sushi, Yo-Kai Watch 3: Tempura, and the updated version Yo-Kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki. The westernized version, simply titled Yo-Kai Watch 3, combines all three previous versions of the game, and even if it ends up being the last game you play on your Nintendo 3DS before moving on to enjoy Nintendo Switch, there are plenty of reasons why it shouldn’t be ignored.
While the Yo-Kai Watch series hasn’t sold too well outside of Japan, and isn’t all that popular despite relatively favorable reviews ranging from mixed to positive, it seems that it does just well enough for localization of the series to continue. As stated previously, Yo-Kai Watch 3 is the definitive version of the game by using Sukiyaki as the base and adding all previous version exclusive content. This means players don’t have to worry about obtaining version exclusive Yo-Kai, although there are still a few exclusive Yo-Kai depending on how you obtain the game which is likely the reason why the official Yo-Kai Watch Twitter still encourages trading.
Yo-Kai Watch 3 is also more ambitious than some of its major competition, making more significant changes to the battle mechanics. Yo-Kai still operate separately from the player besides when they use a Soultimate attack or need to be healed, but Yo-Kai Watch 3 introduces a three by three grid players can use to move Yo-Kai around. When the player moves Yo-Kai around it allows them to avoid damage, heal without having to worry about being defeated or injured, and protect other Yo-kai in the party. When multiple Yo-Kai are on the same row of the grid, they link up and it creates combos and bonuses, particularly when multiple Yo-Kai belong to the same tribe. This new grid system allows for a larger variety of strategies, adding some complexity to an otherwise repetitive battle system which otherwise tends to get stale over time.
Yo-Kai Watch 3 is likely the first “mongame” where players use two player characters separately rather than just one. Instead of just spending gameplay time as Nate Adams (Keita in Japan) or Katie Forester (Fumi in Japan) as in previous games, players instead play as both Nate and newly introduced character Hailey Anne Thomas (Inaho in Japan). Each character has their own Yo-Kai collection and after a certain point early on, players can switch between the two characters at save points as often as they like. At times, players also have to switch between characters to unlock a story link which will help the opposing character unlock the next part of their story.
Because players split their time between different characters, Yo-Kai Watch 3 takes place in two different regions. The town of Springdale, USA (Sakura Nyu Town in Japan) from the previous games and the town of St. Peanutsburg in the fictional country of BBQ (USA in Japan). Although only one region is brand new, there are still brand new Yo-Kai in both. BBQ introduces ‘Merican Yo-Kai, plenty of which are a bit different than the traditional Yo-Kai we’ve seen in previous entries. Rather than having a handful of Yo-Kai based on Japanese mythological creatures such as Kappa and Tengu, ‘Merican Yo-Kai consist of a variety of much stranger creatures such as angry sentient Bacon, a stack of Pancakes who denies that it wants attention, a Barbecue master, a car, and USApyon — a new and important character who just so happens to be an astronaut bunny. A number of previously introduce Yo-Kai have ‘Merican counterparts as well. Altogether, Yo-Kai Watch 3 also features the largest number of Yo-Kai to date, with over 600 to befriend and battle. It may not be as impressive as some of the series’ main competitors that have been around longer, especially since a some are just palette swaps of other Yo-Kai, but it’s still an impressive number for just the third entry in the series.
One of the Yo-Kai introduced in Yo-Kai Watch 3 players can even fully customize themselves once they’ve unlocked the feature. This feature is called Build-a-Nyan, and it allows players to customize their own cat Yo-Kai by using a new Yo-Kai called Originyan, based on the series mascot, Jibanyan. Besides tribe, voice, and color, only a few body types and accessories are available when Build-a-Nyan is first unlocked, but more can be unlocked through completing various requests. In addition to Build-a-Nyan, there’s also Train-a Nyan and Skill-a-Nyan. Train-a-Nyan lets players teach their creation new skills and Soultimate attacks, but takes up three real-time hours, while Skill-a-Nyan lets players equip and switch out different skills and techniques. Players can have up to five Originyan, so it’s okay if the most desirable nyan isn’t available on the first try.
With all of the features listed, as well as other features from all three previous versions of Yo-Kai Watch 3, including a surplus of in-game activities to complete and sidequests to take on, as well as an abundant post-game, Yo-Kai Watch 3 is a title you should definitely check out before you decide to ditch your 3DS in favor of a Nintendo Switch. If you’re new to the franchise and a bit wary of it, I’d recommend trying out Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters — the updated version of Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls — first, since it imrpoves upon feature introduced in the first Yo-Kai Watch and can help you learn all previously introduced gameplay basics before adjusting to an altered battle system. Additionally, if you need help with any of the Yo-Kai Watch titles released in the west, YouTube personality and Nintendo Brand Ambassador, Abdallahsmash026, has walkthrough videos for all of them.
Yo-Kai Watch 3 can be purchased digitally on the Nintendo 3DS eShop or physically at your local retailer. The digital version grants access to two exclusive Yo-Kai.