A quick game review: Survive! japanese (Lite)

So, this morning I was a bit bored and figured I’d scan through the apps on my Android phone.  After doing my morning mess on X-Men: Battle of the Atom and Tyrant Unleashed (I’m sure I’ll put up review for both of those later), I figured I’d check out those games I don’t typically play for one reason or another.  Doing that, I ran across a game I downloaded actually three phones ago and just haven’t really gotten around to using: Survive! Japanese Lite.

As you may already know, I have a slightly more than passing interest in learning Japanese, both because I want to travel there, and because a number of games, anime and manga I want to play or read aren’t in English, so I can’t play or read them.  The lite version of the game is technically a demo, the full version is currently $2.50, so be warned there also.  That said, the game itself is pretty neat.  The reason why I hadn’t played it previously is a silly one too: it has integrated voice queues, which are necessary to play (and kinda necessary to learn a language anyway, which is the goal of the game).  Being that I typically do my cell phone games among the company of others, and I always forget my headphones, this is a problem.

Being home alone and bored, today, it was a different matter.  So, I got to playing the game and within an hour, I ran out of demo, I’ll be honest there too.  But at the same time, I find that the story so far is interesting, kinda reminds me of Broken Sword, if you’ve ever played that franchise, while the actions for learning the language are pretty neat, and adapt pretty well.  It amuses me that how well you do on things helps determine your success.  So, for example, if I sit in my airplane seat for take off, but I misspell the keyword “sit” once, I bump my head for comedic effect and become seated, instead of just sitting down.

Now, instead of most of my reviews, I have no yet beaten this game.  I mention this because the comments do mention a few bugs.  From what I can tell, some of them (blocked off areas) have to do with the narrative, rather than any actual bugs, as the game is fairly linear in regards to what you can do when you get to a particular stage.  Honestly, I don’t see too much of a problem with that, as it is as much a story as it is a language learning program and less like a full game.  I’d call it a visual novel, except there are no pictures, which is fine by me really, they’d just serve to distract from the core, which is learning katakana, hiragana and kanji as well as the spoken language of Japanese.

The game is also rather simple, but it is my opinion that this only helps the game not lose you to clutter and keeps you focused on the task at hand, while the narrative keeps you entertained even while you learn.  I’m a huge fan of game-izing learning and tasks, which makes this one a gold star in my book.

In the end, if you’re looking to brush up your Japanese, or maybe pick it up on your own, at least take a look at the lite version.  You might find it pretty handy, and the lite version is free.

Ja ne!

The Ranting Loon


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