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Yo-Kai Watch probably isn't a Pokémon killer


In Yo-Kai Watch, jaywalking is punishable by boss battle.

I remember being naive to that fact. As with any other game where traffic is not an actual health hazard, I ran my ponytailed avatar through the streets of her town without concern for trivialities like pedestrian crossings. Occasionally, Whisper, my apparitional companion, would warn me against my felonious habits. But I shrugged it off. It’s a kid’s game, I thought. What’s the worst that could happen?

Spoiler: bad, bad things. The boss completely annihilated my team. In a strange twist, however, that proved less a problem than you’d imagine. I wasn’t sent back to a distant save point. I was quickly returned to full health and warned against repeating my earlier transgressions. Like a stern but loving parent, the game only wanted to educate me, not hurt me irreparably. Which makes sense, really, because again: kid’s game.

And also a bit of a national phenomenon in Japan. In case you missed the memo, Yo-Kai Watch is a phenomenon in the schoolyards of Tokyo. It blends the compulsive collectibility of Pokmon with local mythology, and then serves it up with the wholesome congeniality that defines Level-5. Similar to Game Freak’s monolithic franchise, Yo-Kai Watch puts you in command of a young child who quickly finds themselves accruing an armada of companions as they venture through their world.