Oh-a boy! Nintendo is at it again with another game from a classic series you can play in Japanese right now. Remember how frustrating region locks used to be? Yeah, me too. Let all other game companies look at Nintendo as a shining example of what they should be doing.
Anyway, スーパーマリオ オデッセイ, or Super Mario Odyssey in English, is out now for the Switch and can easily be played in Japanese. Even easier than Breath of the Wild, which, if you remember, required you to change your entire Switch to Japanese in the settings. This game, however, can be changed completely to Japanese from the in-game menu. And while the game itself has no spoken English or Japanese, other than the occasional "Mario" or "Oh no" sound, there's a decent amount of text. That text is useful to you, dear Japanese learner, for some pretty interesting reasons:
- As you may have already noticed, if you've been playing the game in English, there are a lot of facts stated in this game. Even the moons you collect on your journey have factual descriptors for where you found them and how, instead of silly fantasy names. That's some practical Japanese right there!
- The clues and puzzles aren't in the language, but the stages themselves. NPCs will tell you exactly what's wrong. Things like:
- The city's just been getting worse since that monster Bowser got here.
And awesome ones like this, that you'll miss if you're playing only in English.
- I'm busy planning my wedding! Go home and eat some mushrooms or something!!
They're just stating facts, not trying to get you to solve tongue-twister riddles to unlock a cave entrance. This is Japanese you can actually use!
And there's furigana above most of the kanji. Though we aren't huge furigana advocates here at Tofugu, in this case we think it's okay. Here's why: this game is great for upper-beginner and intermediate Japanese learners to start using what they know. Thanks to the basic language, simple context clues, and furigana, most people will be able to go straight into playing and understanding this game without it being more than +1 their current level. This is important for progressing.
Also, the game is cute and you get to see Mario's nipples. You're welcome.