The game, referred to as "Pokemon for our next generation of gamers," the game centers around collecting the ghosts, or 'Yo-Kai', within New Sakura Town by baiting them with food before beginning a battle. Should the player be able to defeat the Yo-Kai, it will approach the player and gift him or her a medal which, when placed within the Yo-Kai Watch, will summon the spirit to future battles should the player select them.
Unlike Pokemon, Yo-Kai can combine with other Yo-Kai in order to form more powerful monsters, as well as leveling up or combining with items. Each type can often only be found once within the game, so be sure to catch them or remember where you fought it.
The game begins when the player comes across a trapped Whisper, the Yo-Kai Butler who guides him/her in the unseen world of spirits around them as they attempt to help the spirits in their unfinished business. Whisper gifts the player the Yo-Kai Watch as his thanks for freeing him, giving him/her both a way to see and summon Yo-Kai.