I have to tell you, folks, Yo-kai Sangokushi is so close to being an import-friendly game. You have no idea. It’s at the point where someone who’s crazy, willing to splurge and can be stubborn could absolutely power through and enjoy the game, even if they aren’t fluent in Japanese. (You know, someone like me.) But, it’s also a little daunting. Fortunately, I was kooky enough to grab it from the eShop at launch and am happy to walk you through all of the game’s main menus so you too can know what to do.
Yo-kai Sangokushi begins with you choosing your leader. You can go with Jibanyan, Komasan, or USApyon. I went with USApyon, known here as USApyon Sima Yi, because he’s a rank B character, while Jibanyan Liu Bei and Komasan Sun Ce are rank D ones. I’m not sure how much of a difference there is between the three, so feel free to go with the character you like best. The game does allow you to maintain three save files; you can have one for each.
Next, let’s go through Yo-kai Sangokushi’s main menu. You press X in the field to bring this up. The game gradually doles out functions, so you’ll have to wait for it to completely fill up after about three to five hours of play. The most important icons here are the ones that let you save, sort through items, reorganize your immediate party, use coins in the Crank-a-Kai, prepare a StreetPass party, get presents wirelessly or through QR codes, take on Challenge battles and exchange items for prizes. Don’t worry about reading hiragana and katakana, as each of these functions have very distinctive icons.
You can save, outside of the save prompts after battles or between chapters, by selecting the red book. It’s the second icon in the first row. Items are in the brown backpack next to it. The icon with two medallions lets you alter your current party. When in the party screen, choose the left icon to go through the six you have with you; press A on that screen pick the first option to switch characters. The Crank-a-Kai looks like a gacha machine can be used up to three times a day, with either coins you’ve gotten wirelessly, from battles or with Play Coins. These four icons will be the ones you use most, so good thing they’re the first ones you see in the menu!
The other Yo-Kai Sangokushi important icons won’t come up as often, but it’s good to know what they are and what they do for when you need them. Present is the one that looks like a present. Go in there and use the first option once a week or so to get gifts wirelessly. To celebrate the game’s launch, you can get one of each type of coin for the Crank-a-Kai, as well as a five star coin and Whisper coin. The StreetPass icon has Jibanyan on it and is on the second page. You choose the second option to prepare a team of six characters, and it then enables StreetPass. The first option is for actually going through StreetPasses. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how it actually works, because no one around me has it.
The Challenge section and prize exchange go together. Once your party reaches certain power levels, you can head all the way to the third page of the menu to take on Challenge battles. It’s icon has a red ogre on it. Completing these fights gives you tickets and junk, which you can exchange in the gift exchange area in the main menu under the Yokai Tsuuban section. It’s the icon that has a box filled with items.
Now, on to the actual gameplay. Don’t worry about the story. There’s a lot of talking and anyone who isn’t fluent should go ahead and press start to skip through all of the scenes. Trust me. You want to focus on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms-style planning and strategic battles. People who played Pokemon Conquest will be in a good starting place, as it’s a very similar experience.
A turn begins with you making your empire’s moves. There are five options in each location. The first two, with the sword and paw icons next to them, have to do with preparing for battle. The first option is Sortie, which allows you to invade an adjacent territory belonging to an enemy. This starts a turn-based, strategic battle. We’ll get into this more later. Change, the second option, allows you to move characters from one friendly territory to another. You’ll want to do this to move a character in one region to boost defenses in another. Your party may even need to move to begin a Sortie. Sortie matches cause time to pass, but using Change to move units doesn’t.
The next three options, showing a dumbbell, scroll, and wisp, are for general preparations. Training is the third icon, and it allows you to pay 500 yen to search an area for items or build up characters. Quest is underneath it, allowing you to take on sidequests. Some involve bringing a certain number of items to a place for a character and others begin a random battle if your power level is high enough. Finally, Yokai allows you to station a standby Yokai in a place to help defend it. The Training and Quest options both cause time to pass, but placing a Yokai doesn’t.
Yo-kai Sangokushi’s shopping sections aren’t shown in these menus. To bring it up, press the Y button. You can then choose from the shops that are available. Initially, you’ll only have a convenience store, where you can get minor items and craft equipment, but eventually you’ll also get shops that do things like improve territories so units stationed there get health or other stat boosts.
Now, let’s wrap this up by going over Yo-kai Sangokushi battles. They’re turn-based, strategic affairs between two armies that each have six units in them. Before each fight, you’re reminded that Yo-kai from the Shady and Eerie tribes’ have an advantage over Brave and Tough types, Brave and Tough trump Slippery and Mysterious, Slippery and Mysterious best Heartful and Charming types and, of course, Heartful and Charming have an edge over Shady and Eerie. It’s important to keep these in mind, but don’t let them deter you from sending your favorite and most powerful units into battle.
As for actual fights, there’s actually an guide automatically enabled that helps pick a possible move for you. It isn’t always the best move, but it’s there for those who want to turn their brains off. (Please, don’t turn your brains off.)
For those who don’t want to do what Yo-kai Sangokushi tells you to do, the red button lets you use a standard attack, and the purple is an Inspirit ability that inflicts a positive effect on an ally or negative one on an enemy. Blue is the Technique skill, which could be a magic attack or ability that could damage enemies or aid allies. As an example, Charming types, like Tenko, can have a healing spell, while Walkappa has a waterfall attack. The green button lets you use an item. Pressing the yellow button has the unit wait, possibly finding a card that can offer a positive status boost or healing effect. The center button offers a Soultimate move when the gauge is full. As in standard Yo-kai Watch games, Soultimate moves are triggered by a brief minigame; each one is fairly easy to work out based on the icon and button prompts.
And that’s all you need to know to play Yo-kai Sangokushi! Get your army together, arrange them in Springdale, fight opponents and go through it all again each turn until a chapter ends. It’s pretty easy and entertaining to play, once you find your groove. I absolutely recommend it.