Game Title: Hiragana Pixel Party
Developed By: Spring Loaded
Published By: Spring Loaded
Released: December 16, 2017
Available On: Mobile, Nintendo Switch, PC,
Genre: Music, Education, Action, Platformer
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Number of Players: 1 Player
Thank you to Spring Loaded for this review copy!
Hiragana Pixel Party is a very unique game. There is no story, no bells and whistles, it's a straight up, music platformer, with the goal being that you learn some Japanese. I believe the main writing system in Japan consists of Hiragana and Katakana. There is Kanji, but there are like fifty thousand of those, it’s just too much to cram into a game. Years ago, I started learning Hiragana, but it never really stuck. The developer mentioned that he wanted to create this game while dating a Japanese woman. He wanted a fun way to learn some Japanese, so he made this game. The core game here is simple, but effective. You will be jumping over crates, by taping the corresponding button to the hiragana/katakana symbol. Easy right? The thing is that each time you clear some crates, the buttons change so you can’t rely on pressing the same button for the same symbol. Later, it gets more challenging, where they show the letter in English, and you must match it with the Japanese letters. The game will give a pattern of symbols with only the sound, and no symbol on the boxes. There are I think about sixteen music tracks, that are all catchy. There is a total of 192 levels for each Katakana and Hiragana sections. The gameplay is great, and you know what? It works. I played for an hour or so a day for a week, and by the end of the week I was clearing them easier. It was difficult at first, as you must unlock six points to move on to the next section. When you successfully clear a pattern, you gain a bird, and if you hit a box, you lose a bird. If you lose all the birds, it's game over. You are rated by how well you match and jump over the boxes. Each level has three total points to collect, which means ideally you can get nine points total in a section, though you only need six to move on. Some sections were hard, but after a few days it became easier and easier. The level design is basic, and the backgrounds have different designs. Honestly, in a game like this, it says much more about the game that you learn the language and is fun. It is perfect on the Switch as you can practice at home or on the go. I easily can recommend this game if you want to learn some Japanese. If you don’t care about Japanese, I don’t know if there is enough here to sway you. This is a great educational game that should not be overlooked. I can say for sure that the time I put into it, I walked away actually learning a new language.
Overall Score: 84% Great (It actually works!)