Yo-Kai Watch Toy Review

Yo-Kai Watch Wallpaper, Nintendo, 2016

Back in October, Ardo and I were invited to a breakfast at New York Comic Con that was celebrating the launch of Yo-Kai Watch products for North American audiences. The anime was debuting, along with a multi-faceted push that spanned from a tie-in manga to video games to toys. We were contacted to review some of the toys we saw that day, which included:

  • A Yo-Kai Watch Yo-Kai watch (incl. two medals)
  • A Medal Moments Collectible Figure (incl. a medal)
  • A Medal Mystery Bag carrying 3 medals
  • Yo-Kai Medallium Collection Book

We decided to try them out and meet up to discuss what we thought of the experience.

Ardo Omer: When I first saw the toys, I immediately thought of the Pokemon coins from when I was a kid. The collection aspect of coin-like objects (plastic coins called “medals” in the case of Yo-Kai Watch) with the picture of the cartoon characters on them. Except there’s the element of these medals where they interact with various other toy products like the watch and mini figures. If anything, this experience has reminded me how old I am at the ripe age of 23.

Christa Seeley: My initial impression when I unpacked the Yo-Kai Watch and its related items was that it was very colourful and that the Yo-Kai were very adorable so this product could get very addictive very fast. I love to collect things, and in the past one of those things was Pokemon cards. The different characters (Yo-Kai) on the coins and their collectible nature definitely felt like a throwback to that. The actual watch was something different and I was intrigued to see how it might enhance the playing/collecting experience.

Ardo: The packaging was great. It made me feel like a small human again.

Christa: Especially since it was a little hard to open. I had to get scissors to open the Medal Mystery Bag. Which is not necessarily a drawback, but there will be some parental aid needed some younger children when they get new pieces.  

Now if you’re a seven year old who wants to mimic Nate, this watch is the best thing to ever happen to you.

Ardo: Yes. There was a lot of tape keeping it all secure so some of the younger kids would need to definitely seek out the help of their parents. The first thing I checked out was the watch of course which will easily be one of the more popular items. It’s found the on the wrist of the main character, and my god, it’s huge. I have tiny wrists–you might even say childlike–and the watch feels very present. Now if you’re a seven year old who wants to mimic Nate, this watch is the best thing to ever happen to you. You press the side button where sound effects go off and the clear covering opens up. This is when you insert the medal (there’s an arrow that helps point to the direction of insertion), and your Yo-Kai does its introduction with some flare which is similar to the show.

Christa: The watch is big and it’s hard to imagine it on a tiny child’s arm, but like Ardo I can’t see young kids caring too much about what it looks likes. They’ll be more interested in the game. One nice thing is that this watch is simply designed. It’s very user friendly and it’s easy to figure out what to do. There’s no complicated instruction manual that a kid isn’t going to read anyway. Just slip the disc in to get started and press the button to open the case again. Forget the name of the Yo-kai you’ve selected? Press the same button again. One thing that was missing and I’m sure many parents will want however, is volume control. Ardo mentioned the Yo-Kai is introduced with some flare, including a singing chorus and a declaration of their name and it can be quite loud.

Ardo: Haha. Yeah, I’d say “Good luck!” to parents while their little ones run around with that blaring noise. The experience overall enriches the child’s imagination in play which is always fun. The figures are cool especially since they have slots where you can slide in a medal as a form of showcase. It would look great on a shelf and it’s big enough to not become a choking hazard which is also a plus.

Christa: The figure is a nice bonus. I got Whisper and he was adorable. He would not only be a great collector’s item for older kids and adults interested in the series but he also gives kids something more physical to play with sometimes too. It looks like there are five distinct figures available at this time and I could see them being a lot of fun to play with on their own as well without the coins. Hopefully there are plans to introduce more Yo-Kai figures down the line as the series gains popularity in North America.

Ardo: I also got Whisper, and just wanted to caress it since it’s so smooth. I also hope they’ll add more since it looks like there are only five Yo-Kai figures so far. The last item that we got was the Yo-Kai Medallium Collection Book. It’s essentially a binder that you use to collect the Yo-Kai metals, and there are 44 in total from 8 different tribes: Brave, Mysterious, Tough, Charming, Heartful, Shady, Eerie, and Slippery. It comes with a sticker sheet (who doesn’t love stickers?) and a list of the Yo-Kai you need to complete your set. Overall, it’s a great incentive to buy more.

Christa: The Collection Book is definitely a nice touch. It’s well designed and gives kids a designated place to store their medals–which means they’re less likely to lose them later on. It also makes them more portable, as a binder slides easily into a backpack.

In addition to the watch and it’s associated products, there’s also a free app, Yo-kai Watch Land, integrated with the medals. The app is free and is available for both iOS and Android devices. Though I think young kids will find the toys entertaining enough on their own, the app does have some interesting bonus features, as well as some mini-games, that might keep older kids more engaged.

The first thing I tested was the BeFriend Zone. This feature allows you to use your device’s camera to scan your Yo-kai coins. When scanned it produces a 3D image of the Yo-kai and pulls up information like the Yo-kai’s biography, you can then keep track of which Yo-kai you’ve collected using the built in Wiki.  

Yo-Kai Watch Land, BeFriend Zone, Christa Seeley, 2016

My personal favourite part, however, is the Arcade. The Arcade has a number of mini games, all of which are easy enough for kids to get the hang of quickly, but are difficult enough that they won’t beat them all in one go (I’m still trying to master Capsule Escape). The graphics are bright and engaging, and the more you play the more stickers/trophies you get–one more thing for you to try and collect.

Ardo: So the important question! What does this all cost, Christa?

Christa: Well in Canada, the watch retails for approximately $29.99. Which is not the cheapest toy, but also not the most expensive. The additional components are where the costs start to add up. Toys R Us sells the Collectors Book for $21.99, the statues for $7.99 and Amazon has the mystery packs for $8.99. These price points put it in line with similar products, like Pokemon Cards. The Pokemon starter packs usually range from $18.99 to $29.99 and the booster packs from $2.99 to $14.99 depending how many cards they contain. Personally, if I had kids I could see myself buying the watch for a kid as a present, but then encouraging them to use their allowance to buy any mystery packs if that’s what they really wanted.

Ardo: Interesting. I forgot how much toys cost. Overall, I think it’s a fun thing for kids but it’ll be kids who will ultimately decide that. I think I’ll get it for my cousin who is at the age where he’ll enjoy it and it’ll be his version of Pokemon.

Christa: You’re right. It will ultimately be kids that decide if this catches on the way Pokemon cards did. I can definitely see the potential here, especially with television series, manga series and Nintendo game available as well. The Yo-kai Watch brand is in the perfect position right now to take over in North America, but time will tell if it actually catches on or not.

Christa Seeley

Christa Seeley

Books Editor. Maple Flavoured Darth Vader Fangirl.