The Yo-kai phenomenon (in video games, that is) has been around for a while, and the first title - developed by Level-5, like this game and its spin-off for the DS - was created to rival Pokémon, Game Freak's long-running monster catching epic that continues to get heaps of praise and set new sales records even to this day.
It was created for the Japanese market, but it didn't take too long for it to make it further afield. Well, it did take some time actually, because in the west we're approximately two years late for each title, which means that Yo-kai Watch 3 has arrived late in the lifetime of the 3DS, a console which still has some strength even if it's showing signs of exhaustion.
Yo-kai Watch 3 may not be a revolution, but it does implement enough new features so as to justify its existence, mostly from those who are looking for an easy, fast, and familiar game, or even an introduction to the RPG genre, no matter what their age. Still, its excessive linearity and very low difficulty may take its toll on more experienced players.
It was born - like the rest of the games in the franchise - as a double title (like Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! And Let's Go, Eevee!). For its arrival in the west, these third games have been merged into one, and we can only say thank you for that. Even though the game has a good community, the developer has taken the decision of mixing Tempura and Sushi's stories (the names of these two editions in Japan) and the result was better than expected, with a story that swaps between characters and locations smoothly.
For the first time in a core title, we leave Springdale (Nathan's hometown) and travel to the USA due to work issues regarding his father. Nathan, his family, Jibanyan, and Whisper move to the city of Peanutsburg where, naturally, there are also some troubling Yo-kai. Just in case you don't know about Yo-kai (or Yōkai) they are monsters that come from Japanese folklore and sometimes interact with humans and interfere with their lives, although there are some who help to create harmony and do good deeds. Level-5 has delivered more than 600 creatures of all shapes and sizes, and here we have to make friends with them, not catch them. This new continent is home to Yo-kai Merican, which are very similar to their eastern namesakes and they simply change their appearance a little bit. This, however, is not the only change in Nathan's life, as now he has to go to a new school with new classmates in a brand new area.
Additionally, we have the biggest change in the main series until now in the form of a new combat system. Forget about the roulette, as now we have a board divided into a three by three grid, through which our Yo-kai will move as they pick up life or energy orbs and even spectators' items. As in the previous titles, attacking is automatic, but you can intervene to launch a powerful special attack, although before that you will have to complete a short mini-game. These are still limited in number, so they will repeat themselves constantly, but at least some of them are a little tricky. Something similar happens when you disenchant a spirited Yo-kai (they will laze around and fall asleep), giving us new ways to heal our friends.
On the other hand (or better said, on the other side of the globe) we have Hailey Anne Thomas, the new main character who lives in Springdale and receives a new and universal Yo-kai Watch. This lets her see these ghosts, no matter the continent they're from, and as you may have guessed this will lead to both stories converging.
Hailey replaces - in some ways, at least - Katie, the main character who was with Nathan in previous games. We say "in some ways", because we can't choose the gender of our avatar anymore, but we play with one and the other character. Furthermore, each one will have their own Yo-kai team, which will be a pain in the neck as we have to always keep track of both.
Nathan's story is the more traditional one, with more Yo-kai and tasks that require you to be an errand boy. However, Hailey's story is way more original. It's not only that she is more cheerful and absent-minded than any existing Level-5 character until now (her personality is a big plus for the experience), but now we will have to deal with aliens and all other interesting things. Of the two, Hailey's story is probably better.