Yo-Kai Watch is a mixed-media franchise. It features role-playing games and physical toys. This series was developed by the studio known as Level-5. Level-5 is known for titles beyond Yo-Kai watch, however. Their best-known series is perhaps Professor Layton, which was a major international success on handheld systems.
Level-5 released the first Yo-Kai watch title on Nintendo's 3DS handheld system back in 2013. Since then, several titles in the series have been released. They have even released toys based on characters, models, and concepts found within the Yo-Kai Watch series, from the classic Yo-Kai Watch game to Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble.
Numerous games have been released under the Yo-Kai Watch title. Since the release of the first Yo-Kai Watch game in 2013 by Level-5, they have published Yo-Kai Watch 2, Yo-Kai Watch 3, and even announced Yo-Kai Watch 4, which will debut on the switch sometime in 2018. There have also been four spin-off games and a plethora of mobile titles. Among those mobile titles, one will find Yo-Kai Watch: Puni Puni, Yo-Kai Watch: Gerapo Rhythm, and Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble. We'll take a look at the latter game and analyze its high points and low points in this article.
Yo-Kai Watch features creatures called Yo-Kai, heavily based on the Japanese lore around Yōkai, which are spirits, demons, and other supernatural creatures. The Yōkai are largely specters. This is where Level-5 pulls its idea for having the Yo-Kai be creatures which haunt areas. In the Yo-Kai series, players are expected to befriend the Yo-Kai who are haunting distinct locations. Upon befriending a Yo-Kai, the player receives a friendship medal that allows the Yo-Kai to be summoned.
So how does the mobile title Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble fit into the world of Yo-Kai? What makes it different from titles like the original Yo-Kai Watch? More interestingly, why was Yo-Kai Watch shut down in early 2018?
What Is Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble?
Yo-Kai Watch is unlike its predecessors in that it is a matching game. It functions similar to popular titles such as Candy Crush Saga. In Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble, players will match similar Yo-Kai with one another to activate their abilities. When the ability is activated, it is used to capture a rogue Yo-Kai, thus befriending it and adding it to your collection.
At the bottom of your game play screen in this game, you would see an oddly shaped container that is filled with numerous different Yo-Kai, all mashed together uncomfortably. Above the container are five different buttons that show different Yo-Kai. These buttons have meters associated with them. The meters refer to ability charging for each individual Yo-Kai type. As you match Yo-Kai in the container with one another, you'll find that the ability meters charge based on which Yo-Kai types you matched within the container.
When you use a Yo-Kai's ability by tapping on the associated button, you'll perform damage to at least one of the rogue Yo-Kai on your screen. The rogue Yo-Kai appear above the Yo-Kai buttons that are at your disposal. Each of those rogue Yo-Kai has its own health meter, colored in purple.
As a rogue Yo-Kai suffers from being targeted by your various abilities, this health meter will deplete. A targeted Yo-Kai is defeated when its health reaches zero. Once you have defeated all rogue Yo-Kai on the screen, the level is completed.
Lastly, on the screen, you can see your score at the very top. Various factors impact your score. These factors include how many Yo-Kai you collectively match in one turn, what kind of Yo-Kai you use, how quickly you defeat rogue Yo-Kai and more.
How Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble Differs From Other Yo-Kai Watch Titles
Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble is a unique matching game in which players charge the abilities of their Yo-Kai in order to befriend, capture, or defeat rogue Yo-Kai. But how different is this installment from other installments in the franchise? What can players expect from other Yo-Kai Watch games that are not featured in this version? How does this game differ from its predecessors and follow-up titles?
Ordinarily, Yo-Kai Watch titles are heavily based in role-playing features and mechanics. You will explore a town and seek out a peaceful Yo-Kai to assist and befriend. There are also hostile and evil Yo-Kai that must be captured or defeated. To defeat the evil Yo-Kai, you will need to use your allied and befriended Yo-Kai, who all have unique abilities. This game-play style is strongly reminiscent of the popular Pokemon series.
During game play, players will see a wheel at the bottom of their screen. This is similar to the container that is on the screen within Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble, but the mechanics are vastly different. Within your wheel, you will see several different types of Yo-Kai abilities that you can use to aid you in your combat against the rogue or evil Yo-Kai that you are fighting. You also have access to various items that can be utilized in your fight, making it easier to complete various combat sequences.
As you continue to play through a Yo-Kai Watch title, you will gain access to new and more powerful abilities based on the Yo-Kai that you have befriended. As you obtain new friendship medals, greater challenges will become available and surmountable. This is strongly similar to the Pokemon series, as players will collect Pokemon, upgrade their abilities, and use them to take on more difficult areas.
Why Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble Was Shut Down
In April of 2018, Level-5, the developers of the Yo-Kai Watch series, announced that Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble would be shutting down. They disabled the servers and informed players that they would be able to continue using the app until the month of May in 2018, giving them less than one month to enjoy the game after the announcement. Many players of Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble were dismayed at the news. Some players and game raters considered Wibble Wobble to be the best installment in the Yo-Kai Watch franchise, so why was it shut down?
Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble relied heavily upon online play. When a game relies upon online elements, it has two options: to host the server on a client-based application or to host it on an actual server to which players connect. Unfortunately for Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble, the server application needed to be hosted on its own device; it could not be hosted on mobile devices. This feature can be quite expensive, and if the game was not pulling in enough funding to compensate for the expenses, Level-5 was going to be required to shut down the entire project.
The popular mobile title Pokemon Go suffered greatly from a similar issue at launch. In order to avoid paying too much money for unused servers, the team responsible for Pokemon Go did not purchase very many servers to host their online content. Unfortunately, their game launch was far better than expected.
The result was numerous servers becoming overloaded while the team frantically tried to add new servers for their game. Eventually, though, the number of players dropped exponentially, and there were excess servers left over from their attempt to compensate for the significant launch population.
Server acquisition and delegation is extremely important for games that are hosted online. It is imperative that game development companies scale their games and game servers in a way that allows the games to be profitable. This can be a difficult balance to strike, and Level-5 failed to hit the sweet spot for game revenue and game expense. Despite Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble's immense popularity and positive reception, it was not optimized well enough to bring in the amount of income required to keep its servers running. So, in the spring season of 2018, Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble was permanently removed from app stores and mobile devices.
Level-5 has been developing games and toys in the Yo-Kai Watch franchise since 2013. Since its first successful launch, the Yo-Kai Watch franchise has grown extravagantly, expanding into four main series titles, several spin-offs, and many mobile titles. One of those mobile titles, Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble, was extremely well-received. Despite the love that players had for the game, it was eventually shut down and removed from app stores everywhere.
The combination of familiar and unfamiliar game-play made it an enjoyable and unique experience. It was an excellent addition to the Yo-Kai Watch franchise, My Absolute Choice Insurance and it will certainly be missed by players who had the opportunity to enjoy it while it was available.
Yo-Kai Watch is still in development. Level-5 has not abandoned the franchise due to one singular failure under its belt. In fact, it's unlikely that they fully consider Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble to be a failure in its franchise. The game was extraordinarily well-made, its flop was due solely to poor optimization and high expenses. Yo-Kai Watch 4 is due out in late 2018, and more mobile titles in the franchise are being developed. With any luck, Level-5 will bring Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble back to life with a sequel or recreation that features greater optimization so it can survive for years to come.