Level-5 has made some great games over the years, from Dragon Quest VIII and IX, to Ni No Kuni, Dark Cloud, Professor Layton and the White Knight Chronicles games. They really have a way of making a broad spectrum of types and genres of games, with different tones. It honestly has impressed me. What has really surprised me though, is how many of their games have never left Japan. Youkai Watch came out in Japan in 2012 and kids ate that game up.† It's basically Pokemon, but with ghosts and you use a watch to find, fight and sometimes catch them.
For those who don't know anything about the games, here's a trailer:
The games, and everything else revolving around it has sold like crazy. There have been lines outside toy stores to get a raffle ticket to get a chance to buy the very sought-after watch toy. The games themselves have sold over a million copies each- all while staying in Japan only and the large majority of the audience being young children. The games, while geared towards children, actually look good and really fun to play, and now that Level-5 has finally announced that the games will be released outside of Japan sometime in 2015, I'm pretty excited about this. The more Level-5 games that get localized, the better for me.
What I did find pretty interesting is how the differences between the Pokemon and Youkai Watch fanbases in Japan. Before it was official that the west were getting these games, I stumbled upon an article about Youkai Watch and why all these kids like it so much. One kid admitted that they like it more than Pokemon because adults don't know about it. That's completely understandable. I mean, if I was a seven year old Japanese kid, I wouldn't want to have to compete with adults for games, and toys and stuff on a daily basis, and having my parents creeped out by the number of people there significantly over the age of fifteen.
I kind of wonder how well this game will fare in America, especially with children. I guess we'll have to see how it goes next year.