Yo Kai Watch Blasters brings a huge change to many of the systems found in the core Yo Kai Watch games. This change is technically a returning feature, since Blasters is based off a mode featured in Yo Kai Watch 2. In my opinion, it was a boring mode that didn’t bring much to the game or story. However, taking that mode and making it a full-fledged game turned out to be a great change of pace in the series, adding a completely new way to play and experience the Yo Kai world.
There are two versions of Blasters to choose from: Red Cat Corps and Blue Dog Corps.The two versions feature either Jibanyan for Red Cat or Komasan for Blue Dog, but both titles has the main character as Jibanyan. The only big difference between the two titles are some of the bosses you face and Yo Kai you encounter are different. Besides those two differences these games are essentially the same, and both full of fun. In Blasters, you take control of a team of Yo Kai, which is very similar to the core games, but instead of playing as a human character you play as the Yo Kai themselves. To start, you play as Jibanyan, who acts as the main protagonist of the game, along with his Blasters team made up of three common Yo Kai: Sandmeh, Noway, and Hidabat. In the opening scene of the game, the team attempts to take on an extremely strong Yo Kai baddy, who is terrorizing the streets of Springdale. The team then rushes into battle and quickly realizes that they are no match and must retreat back to their Blasters HQ. Back at the HQ, you are met by the tough personal trainer/army commander Yo Kai, Sgt. Burly. Sgt. Burly then explains how he has come to whip your Yo Kai team into shape, to one day take on extremely strong Yo Kai or other Blasters teams. This is where the game starts and is already completely different from what fans of the series know.
From the beginning of the game, you will be thrown directly into playing through the story. The story is made up of chapters that all contain a set amount of missions, with the ability to unlock side missions as you progress through the chapter. Each chapter is presented in a way that is almost like a preview for a Saturday morning cartoon. A cutscene will start and a TV screen will appear, followed by series favorite Whisper, giving you a rundown of what you can expect to encounter on your next mission. I loved these cutscenes before playing each chapter. Hearing Whisper say “Next time on Yo Kai Watch Balsters…..” brought back tons of memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons and having all the anticipation for the next episode built up in a quick little preview. They also served as a way of character building, where sometimes other characters would go back and forth talking about the upcoming chapter, slipping in that trademark Yo Kai fun and silliness where ever they could. The Blasters HQ is the central hub for the game, and is where you conduct your team building and strategy for missions. The HQ is home to many NPC Yo Kai, whom all have their own purpose to help you progress in the game. The NPCs provide services such as selling items, receiving gifts, soulcery, leveling up/fusion, swapping out team members, and sending you on missions. The NPC’s are separated by floors in the HQ; which at first seemed like an annoying thing to have to run from floor to floor, but conveniently, you can jump floors by pressing the one you want to go to on the touch screen. The whole idea of having to talk to certain NPCs to get things done seemed a bit arbitrary. If I want to change a character on my team on the fly, I can’t. I have to go to a floor, speak to someone, and then I will be able to make the change I want. This became frustrating at times as I found myself going from floor to floor trying to prep my team before embarking on a mission. I wish they stuck to the mechanics from previous games from this where I could seamlessly open up my menu and switch characters at will.
Leveling up is another aspect of the game that has changed for Blasters, though not necessarily in a good way. When you embark on a mission, your team is dropped into a location that is riddled with enemy Yo Kai. Normally when you play an RPG game, you are able to level up by fighting enemies, granting you some experience points. In Blasters defeating enemies grants you no experience points but gives you random drops of items or Oni Orbs. Oni Orbs are the main currency of the game and the only thing you can use to level up your team. These orbs are also scattered throughout the map, and can be picked up in the field, dropped by an enemy (as previously stated), or given to you as a reward for completing a mission. Once you have a good amount of orbs, you can talk to an NPC in the HQ who will let you add orbs to your characters to level them up or evolve them. The Orb collecting part of the game can be frustrating at times, as it brings a super grindy element to the game. However, this provides more depth and challenge to the game which is nice for older or more experienced players who are used to grinding.Missions through story mode aren’t the only way you can collect Orbs and items. There are two additional modes that unlock as you progress through the game,Patrol and Big Boss mode. Patrol mode is a great way to grind for orbs and befriend Yo Kai. The befriending mechanic is is common part of Yo Kai Watch games, where you must prove to an enemy you are strong enough to want to make them be your friend (which to me is a bit of an odd way to build a friendship). When you defeat a Yo Kai, you can randomly get a friend chance, which becomes a quick mini game where you must collect hearts on a moving circle. Once you collect enough hearts, the Yo Kai will become your friend and be available as a playable character for your team. Patrol mode isn’t the only mode where you can befriend Yo Kai, but seemed to me as the best way to have multiple chances at befriending that one Yo Kai you really want. Big Boss mode lets you re-fight bosses that you defeated, but adds a little bit more difficulty to the battle. Each boss has multiple levels of difficulty to play through, each offering their own special rewards. Big Boss mode is definitely not for the faint of heart. This mode is hard, even if your team is at the recommended level for the fight, it still provides a very difficult challenge. One thing that makes this mode even more difficult is that if your team is is above the recommended level for the boss, and you think that it will be a breeze to steamroll it, the game takes your confidence and throws is out the door. Boss mode drops your level to the recommended level so the playing field is fair and equal for the boss. This can seem like a ridiculous thing to do to the player, but makes the player have to strategize and decide which Yo Kai team would be the best to take on the boss.
You are given free range to build your Yo Kai team however you want. The Yo Kai tribes are the same, as well as the elements related to each Yo Kai. The main difference is how the Yo Kai are split into four classes similar to those found in traditional RPGs. The classes are Fighter, Tank, Ranger, and Healer all of which are pretty straightforward to how the character should be used. The classes are important due to the new battle system. In the core games,the battle system is that of a turn-based RPG. Blasters is more of an action RPG which is huge breathe of fresh air from the mini game based turn style fighting fans are used to. The new battle system is great when playing with friends locally or online. You can coordinate with your team and assign roles for each player. When playing single player, the new system can at times be frustrating do to the computer controlled players being more prone to taking unnecessary damage. This fast paced, almost, hectic battle system, plays extremely well and to me felt like a great way to show how different blasters is from the core games. A big problem I have always had with the Yo Kai Watch series is the RNG when it comes to the Crank-A-Kai and rewards. The Crank-A-Kai is a gotcha type machine where you put in coins and out pops a random prize. This has always been something that bothered me about these games because they are so hit-and-miss, it becomes outrageously frustrating. Just like in the core games, the Crank-A-Kai has a set number of pulls you can use each day. The Crank-A-Kai isn’t the only reward system that has a frustrating RNG, however. After completing missions, you are gifted with prizes, ranging from a 1st place prize to a 3rd place prize. There is no way to guarantee you get a 1st place prize, and the reward you receive is random. Many times I work hard to run through the mission as fast as I could to get the top prize, but then had my hard work torn down when I received a lower prize or the occasional no prize. The prizes come in the form of Yo Kai, Items, and music cards. I really wish the series had a better prize/reward system, but it is very rewarding when you finally get that 1st place prize you have been grinding to get for hours.
Overall, I loved Yo Kai Watch Blasters. I am a huge fan of the series and this installment was so different, but so similar to what I’m used to that it kept me engaged for hours. Everything that I love about the core games is here, from the weirdness of the series to the odd and creative characters. I originally hated the truncated mode in Yo Kai Watch 2, but by making this mode into its own full game, it allowed for a much better experience. I also was nervous at first, thinking that each mission would seem repetitive and get old after sometime. To my surprise, even if missions are extremely similar to each other, the level of difficulty, area, and enemy Yo Kai help to make every activity feel new and fresh. With the expansion of Moon Rabbit recently being released with the new update for Blasters, the game is given more story, missions, and Yo Kai for the player to experience.
Yo Kai Watch Blasters
Yo Kai Watch Blasters Red Cat/Blue Dog Corps offer a new way to experience the Yo Kai Watch series. With a new battle system that feels like a fast-paced action RPG, Blasters still delivers elements to the game that are both familiar and fresh. Having to talk to NPCs to level up and change teammates, as well as the frustrating RNG are among some of the few downsides to the game. However h, this doesn’t take away from the great experience and gameplay that Yo Kai Watch Blasters has to offer. Fans of the series and newcomers will love this title.