Pokémon vs. Yo-Kai Watch: What Sets Them Apart?

Pokémon vs. Yo-Kai Watch: What Sets Them Apart?

Even after the successful launch of Yo-Kai Watch in the West last November, many people still look at the series and dismiss it as a Pokémon rip-off, or at least compare it to Pokémon more than any other series.


The comparisons are difficult to avoid. After all, both series are about kids using capturing monsters and using them to battle. Both involve collecting those monsters and evolving them into stronger forms. And as of Yo-Kai Watch 2, both have multiple versions of each game with version-exclusive monsters.

However, beyond that basic level, the two series aren’t really that similar.


The most dramatic difference is the combat system. Pokémon features random encounters, which transition into one-on-one turn-based battles. In Yo-Kai watch, you encounter yo-kai on the field for three-on-three real time battles in which your yo-kai attack automatically while you trigger special attacks, use items and cure status effects, and manage which yo-kai from your battle party are currently in combat.

Pokemon Combat


Yo-Kai Watch Combat


The World

In Pokémon games, you travel from town to town, following a linear story that takes you across the region. Yo-Kai Watch is set in an open world city, with dungeons and other areas accessible from the city.

Yo-Kai Watch World


Pokemon X World


The Creatures

At first glance, there’s not much of a difference between the Pokémon themselves and the yo-kai, except perhaps that yo-kai are a bit sillier. However, most Pokémon behave more or less like animals in their world. In contrast, yo-kai have their own individual personalities, and many function as characters within the narrative. When you catch a Pokémon, it’s like getting a pet, but Yo-Kai Watch uses the term “befriending” for a reason.





Speaking of which, the systems for capturing them are very different. In Pokémon, you wear down the Pokémon’s HP until it’s weakened and then throw Poké Balls until you catch it. In Yo-Kai Watch, you use food and other effects to make the enemy yo-kai like you, and find out at the end of the battle if it wants to be your friend or not. The Yo-Kai Watch system is unfortunately heavily luck-based, but this was improved for Yo-Kai Watch 2.

In Conclusion

At first glance, Pokémon and Yo-kai Watch are similar, but they’re almost completely different in terms of gameplay. Let us know in the comments if you still have questions about what sets the Pokémon and Yo-Kai Watch series apart.


Samantha is a published horror and fantasy writer, a professional freelance writer, and a longtime gamer. As a result, writing about games is one of her favorite activities. She likes a wide range of genres, especially RPGs, survival horror, and visual novels. More information can be found at her website: http://www.samanthalienhard.com/


  1. Great article Samantha. I hope Yo-kai Watch continues selling strongly and that Nintendo continues to market and brand the franchise. More people need to realize that the games have a lot to offer and need to get past the Pokemon clone mindset.

    • I agree. Pokémon is the go-to example for monster-catching games, but the two series have more differences than similarities…

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