Yo-Kai Watch

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Yo-Kai Watch Game Poster Image
Fun happy-"ghost"-lucky game helps kids deal with emotions.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to develop their strategic-thinking and problem-solving skills as they befriend the different Yo-kai characters in the game. Kids will also study the statistics and characteristics of the Yo-kai, experimenting with various combinations to find the best to use on their teams. By interacting with characters in the game, kids will also learn more about socializing, friendship, and building strong bonds with others. With its core gameplay based on Japanese mythology, Yo-Kai Watch provides a unique opportunity to introduce kids to another culture.

Positive Messages

Central focus, through interactions with spirits, is to help others in need overcome their problems, obstacles.

Positive Role Models & Representations

As either Nate or Katie, players try to help others, build new friendships; they're always encouraged to do what's right, such as waiting for a light before crossing at crosswalks.

Ease of Play

Most battles automatic, with little needed input from player. Figuring out quest objectives, team management, searching for specific items can take a little extra work.


Players' Yo-kai team regularly battles other spirits, but violence is cartoonish, with no blood, gore, death resulting from fights. At worst, spirits get knocked out, removed from battle.


Part of a major merchandising push, which includes an animated series, toys, apparel, more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Yo-Kai Watch is a role-playing game for the 3DS and the first release for the popular series outside of Japan. The game lays the foundation for Nintendo's latest franchise, with supporting anime, toys, apparel, and other merchandise. But the game's story also has a strong focus on qualities such as developing friendships and helping others in need. It's about developing bonds with those you come across and how teamwork can overcome any obstacle. Online play is limited to local wireless matches, though it should be noted that players can give unique names to their Yo-kai, possibly exposing kids to potentially offensive content.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPuceAardvark January 12, 2018
whoever wrote 18+ is just being stupid
Adult Written byHolly R. May 13, 2020

Not a Pokémon rip-off

It’s a pretty good game. The only thing that is actually bad about it is that similar to the anime series the game has some potty humor and some of the Yo-Kai h... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byPickles3 January 4, 2016

I love it!

It is a really fun game, I enjoyed playing it a lot. I definitely recommend this to someone who is looking for something different.
Kid, 9 years old September 19, 2018


Really fun and addictive game. You could literally play for hours and never get tired.

What's it about?

In the world of YO-KAI WATCH, people's everyday lives are subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) influenced by invisible spirits called Yo-kai. After accidentally encountering a particularly friendly Yo-kai, you're given a device called the Yo-Kai Watch. With it, you can see and interact with the Yo-kai. After earning a Yo-kai's trust, respect, and, most importantly, friendship, you'll be gifted with its medallion, adding that spirit to your collection and allowing it to be summoned at a moment's notice. You'll help the people of Springdale deal with their spirit-induced problems and threats, while seeking out and befriending more than 200 unique Yo-kai.

Is it any good?

This role-playing game is the first title in a franchise that's heavily steeped in Japanese mythology. Yo-Kai Watch has been a massive hit in Japan, even outselling Nintendo's other collectible-creature juggernaut, Pokémon. But the question is whether or not the game can maintain that same appeal when translated for an international audience. The answer? It absolutely can. The world of Yo-Kai Watch is a treat, and the colorful, animated style feels like you're actively taking part in a cartoon. It doesn't hurt that the voices in the game are the same as the animated series. All the characters are full of personality, too. It's hard not to get attached to the different Yo-kai you come across throughout the adventure.

There are a couple of things some players will need to adjust to, though. For starters, you don't directly control your Yo-kai team's actions but, rather, take more of a coaching role. You tell the team which foes to target, heal and "purify" hurt Yo-kai, and play short mini-games to charge up powerful "Soultimate" moves. Otherwise your team pretty much fights its own battles. In a lot of ways, Yo-Kai Watch is more about strategy than action. Also, the game has a bit of a learning curve. The in-game help does a great job of explaining the basics, but a lot of the more nuanced gameplay is likely to come from trial and error. None of this takes away from the experience, though. Yo-Kai Watch is still one of the best all-ages experiences to come to the 3DS in some time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Yo-kai. Do kids believe in things such as spirits, and do games like this have a role in that belief?

  • Talk about different cultures. The Yo-kai are based on Japanese mythology; what are some other cultures' beliefs, and are they something kids might want to research?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love role-playing games

Themes & Topics

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