Yo-kai Watch is role-playing game for the Nintendo 3DS developed and published by Level-5. In the West, it was localized and published by Nintendo in 2015 in North America and Australia and 2016 in Europe. The game released for Nintendo Switch in Japan in 2019 and supposedly has a mobile release TBD.
Yo-kai Watch is a creature-collecting RPG in which the player befriends and fights with spirit-like creatures called Yo-kai, based mostly off of Japanese mythology and legends. The game, of course, follows a central plot with a plethora of sidequests and postgame dungeons, and the goal to collect every Yo-kai.
While searching for bugs, Nate (or Katie,) a young child, unexpectedly frees a Yo-Kai named Whisper. Whisper gives them a device known as the Yo-Kai watch, which detects hidden Yo-Kai that are causing mischief in his town. With help from the watch, the player can find Yo-Kai, befriend them, and use them to fight against other Yo-Kai. Throughout the game, the player's newfound power becomes a target of various Yo-kai forces that try to get in their way.
Famitsu reviewed the game very well, giving it a 36 (9,9,9,9) out of 40. Its first week was middling for a new Level-5 IP, selling about 53,654 according to Media Create. However, as it went and the anime started airing, the game sold a lot more, repeatedly staying in the top ten of the week for several weeks. It has currently sold over 2.78 million copies worldwide with the small majority coming from outside of Japan. It was on its way to becoming the highest selling Level-5 game, before its sequel took the title.
In addition to the game, Level 5 started airing an anime animated by OLM, Inc. for the show in January 2014. It rapidly gained popularity climbing the ratings to approach similar shows such as Pokemon.
There are also two mangas ongoing for the series; a shounen one that started in CoroComic in 2012, and a Shoujo one that started serialization on December 27, 2013 in Shogakukan's Ciao magazine. Viz Media picked up manga and anime series for Western release in 2015.
Bandai Namco distributed toys, medals and other merchandise for the franchise in the west. Much of the merchandise came with scannable QR codes that unlock in-game content with the Nintendo 3DS Camera. QR codes were also shared on official social media channels as well as on occasion during the anime.
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