Learn Japanese to Survive! Kanji Combat

    The third installment of Sleepy Duck's Learn Japanese to Survive! games, titled Kanji Combat, was released in August. Following a similar format to the previous two games, you learn Japanese kanji through an RPG (role-playing game).

    When starting the game, you choose your difficulty level:

    In Normal Mode, all kanji are taught using English readings instead of hiragana.

    The game itself combines elements of typical JRPGs and visual novels. You, as the protagonist, enter a contest to win a three-month trip to Japan, on the contingency that you study Japanese while you're there with a teacher chosen by the organizers.

    Surprise… you win!

    Once you get through some fully voice-acted exposition, meeting the other winners and your teacher, and a couple weird things happen, you get to the kanji learning part.

    A wild kanji appears.

    In order to defeat (and learn) the kanji, you need to defeat it by saying its name (reading).

    Once you've learned some kanji, you practice your new knowledge by approaching wild kanji and choosing the correct readings to defeat them via multiple choice.

    Kanji are taught in short lessons. Each one provides the stroke order, number of strokes, English meaning, a little image/picture example, and the kun'yomi and on'yomi readings. There is also pronunciation audio you can listen to for each reading.

    Unfortunately, there are some issues with the game. A few I noticed immediately were things like strange explanations—calling on'yomi readings "sound readings," for example. Many of the explanations have been severely "dumbed down," so to speak, for the purpose of easing new learners into the language.

    At the same time, it presents quite a bit of information with each kanji it teaches. Multiple possible kun'yomi and on'yomi readings are lumped together and taught all at once, which can be overwhelming.

    If you're coming into this game with a lot of prior knowledge, this may be below where you're at. On the other hand, beginners may find the deluge of information frustrating.

    Once you've learned some kanji, you practice your new knowledge by approaching wild kanji and choosing the correct readings to defeat them via multiple choice.

    The entire game (at the time of publishing this article) covers 200 kanji. And, if you'd like to get all three games—Hiragana Battle, Katakana War, and Kanji Combat—they're available in a bundle.

    Game
    Steam
    Kanji
    Reading