The Yo-kai Watch series battles are something of a hands-off affair. You have six Yo-kai set into your watch’s dial. They act of their own accord in battle, with choosing which moves they’ll use. Your own actions are rather limited, which means you spend a lot of time watching them do their thing. While Yo-kai Watch 2 doesn’t make any drastic changes, there are some significant alterations that give you more to do and make things a bit more interesting.
You begin Yo-kai Watch with a basic… well… Yo-kai Watch. It has the standard functions. You have six medals equipped and can press the left and right triggers to switch to different active Yo-kai. If their Soultimate gauge is filled, you can go through a brief spinning, tapping, or dial moving mini-game to make a character use its ultimate move. If one is negatively inspirited and can’t use Soultimates, you can perform similar interactions when it isn’t active to purify it. Items can be used on foes to make them friendly or friends to heal them. You’re also able to choose your Yo-kai’s target or tap floating wisps. While this sounds like it gives you a lot to do, it really doesn’t. Most basic battles don’t even require any activity on your part.
But, it did feel like I was a little more active earlier on in Yo-kai Watch 2. It seemed like the Yo-kai’s Soultimate gauges filled more quickly, allowing more opportunities to use these specials. The Targeting function, usually something that worked best in boss battles where you pin specific parts to exploit weaknesses, now lets you see all recruitable Yo-kai’s favorite foods and snacks. You also get healing Yo-kai earlier in this installment, which leads to more dial spinning. Brushido is automatically recruited at the outset, Tattletell can be your first Crank-a-kai Yo-kai, and Tongus joins shortly after you arrive in Harrisville. You still live a mostly sedentary lifestyle early on, but opportunities to be active present themselves.
Things really pick up once you’ve gone through the steps to get the Yo-kai Watch Model Zero. This new tool makes it possible to be more productive in battle. One way is via Moxie moves. It’s possible to make two active Yo-kai give up their soultimate meter power to supercharge the third’s special attack. This can’t happen without your input, and you have to determine the right times to use these abilities. I suggest saving them for boss battles, as they do a great job of whittling down more powerful enemies’ health. They’re also a fantastic resource in online battles, as you can use them to try and wipe out one of your opponents’ strongest allies.
But the best use of Yo-kai Watch 2’s new watch is the enemy poking mechanic. The key to making the most of this is setting Yo-kai that have debuffing inspirits. When one of your allies casts their debilitating spell on an enemy or when an enemy is loafing, it’s possible to target and tap the enemies. It’s somewhat similar to the other mini-games, in that you’ll need to focus your attention on the lower screen. The enemy will be represented there, and it’s possible to poke parts to provoke reactions. Some spots will make them friendlier and more likely to join you. Others will give you items, money, or soul. I felt like I was getting money or soul more often on initial taps, but eventually you find the sweet spots.
The battle system in Yo-kai Watch 2 isn’t drastically different. There are a few minor alterations that give you a little more to do, but it isn’t suddenly a traditional turn-based affair where you directly determine each action. I feel like what has been done is a step in the right direction, though, and by the 10 hour mark or so you should be enjoying a better watch that makes you more productive.
Yo-kai Watch 2 is now available on the Nintendo 3DS in North America.