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10 Useful Games To Help You Master Basic Japanese  Fighting Slime, Hangman & Collecting Heroes

Games for beginners to learn basic Japanese

The Japanese language isnt easy for newbies. From its unique grammar rules to the 3 writing systems in one language  katakana, hiragana, and kanji  these are but the tip of the iceberg for Japanese learners.

That said, the learning process doesnt have to be painful. Weve gathered 10 basic Japanese learning games for you to become a Japanese wordsmith and conversationalist while having a smashing good time.

For beginners with zero knowledge

1. kawaiiNihongo

Image adapted from: kawaiiNihongoApp and kawaiiNihongoApp

kawaiiNihongo churns out interactive flashcards and mnemonics games in kawaii anime-style. The game teaches you katakana and hiragana, grammar, native pronunciation, and stroke order so you can fully grasp the basics. If youre struggling or getting ahead of the game, you can also customise flashcards to match your learning pace.

Pros: Beginner-friendly, able to customise your learning lessons.
Cons: Graphic-intensive, may be distracting for players.

Download it on the App Store.

2. Japanese Dungeon: Learn J-Word

Image adapted from: Japanese Dungeon: Learn J-Word

Japanese Dungeon looks like it came right out of an old-school arcade game  think 2D pixelated graphics, retro 8-bit music from the 90s, and a simple interface. Players take on the role of a warrior and conquer each dungeon by learning basic hiragana.

Win coins with every completed round and collect different hero figurines as you progress to the next dungeon. The nostalgic game also keeps tabs on what youve learned by collating a word bank in a separate dungeon so you can refresh your memory and track your progress.

Pros: Has an in-built word bank function to keep tabs on the Japanese words youve learned.
Cons: Players can only learn hiragana.

Download it on Google Play.

3. Drops: Language Learning

Image adapted from: appsliced.co

If you learn best with visual cues, Drops may suit your learning style. The language app hosts more than 33 languages, including Japanese, with clear graphics and an interactive interface.

What sets it apart from other Japanese language games is its 5-minute lesson plan  players can only use the language app for just 5 minutes each day. The limited-time span is said to motivate players to focus better, which leads to better memorisation and word recognition.

Pros: Visual intensive  effective for visual learners.
Cons: Players can only use the app for 5 minutes per day. In-app purchase is required to unlock unlimited usage of the app.

Download it on the App Store.

4. My Japanese Coach

Image adapted from: My Japanese Coach

Image adapted from: neoseeker.com

My Japanese Coach will appeal to avid Japanese learners with a Nintendo DS. It is a full-fledged digital boot camp with useful features such as Japanese romanisation and native pronunciation in audio clips. Discover the correct stroke orders of each of the writing systems  katakana, hiragana, and kanji  with clear illustrations.

There are also minigames to add fun to learning. From word search puzzles to Hit-a-Word, a Whack-a-Mole-style speed round testing on how fast you can recognise a Japanese character, the video game will fast track your linguistic progress.

Pros: Learn to pronounce like a native Japanese instead of just memorising and identifying Japanese characters.
Cons: Only accessible if you have a Nintendo DS.

5. Mindsnacks

Image adapted from: Mindsnacks

Mindsnacks is useful for anyone who lacks motivation in nailing their basics. The educational app consists of illustrations and complex exercises to keep you engaged. Apart from 8 different games on spelling, word and image recognition, visual processing, and more, you can also toggle between katakana, kanji, and romaji to expedite your learning progress.

The language app was also vouched by USA Today and Apple iTunes for its quality content and effective learning pedagogy.

Pros: Consists of a variety of challenges suitable for kids and grown-ups.
Cons: Only available for IOS users.

Download it on the App Store.

6. Kids YAY  Learn Japanese

Image adapted from: Kids YAY  Learn Japanese

Image adapted from: Kids YAY  Learn Japanese

Kids YAY is the answer to every parents prayers. The kid-centric language app is designed for kiddos from age 2 to 8. You can safely hand over your phone as the app is free of ads  no accidental tapping on dubious links or incurring extra costs.

Grown-ups starting from scratch are free to capitalise on the language app too. Unlike most language apps that use a lot of mobile data, Kids YAY relies on offline learning.

Pros: Kid-centric, no internet required.
Cons: Grown-ups may find the interface childish.

Download it on the App Store and Google Play.

7. Slime Forest Adventure

Image credit: Slime Forest Adventure

If you prefer using a computer rather than playing on your mobile phone, check out Slime Forest Adventure. It is a video game tailored for a PC. Eliminate monsters and gain battle experience points by decoding characters in katakana, hiragana, and kanji.

The video game makes up for its amateur graphics by expediting your language growth through reinforced learning. It identifies the Japanese characters youve failed to recognise in the previous rounds and show up subsequently until you get it right.

Image adapted from: lutris.net

Tip: Newcomers can test waters with the Demo version for free before registering for a full version, which costs USD15.

Pros: Reinforce each Japanese character until the player can identify it easily.
Cons: Graphics are not the most appealing. Players may get bored with playing the same rounds if they cant learn fast enough.

For Windows and Mac computers. Download here.

For beginners with some Japanese knowledge

8. Learn Japanese Yami

Image adapted from: Learn Japanese Yami

Heres an effective vocabulary speed quiz that goes beyond the usual flashcards  Learn Japanese Yami. Learners who have a grasp of basic Japanese can shore up their existing vocabulary at the same time. Plus, players cramming for the JLPT exams will find learning a breeze with 5 different learning levels available from N5 to N1.

Pros: No internet required.
Cons: Only focuses on vocabulary.

Download it on the App Store or Google Play.

9. Japanese Word Search Game

Image adapted from: Japanese Word Search Game

Learn Japanese Yami is best followed up with Japanese Word Search Game, a classic puzzle available in romaji, hiragana, and katakana. The time-sensitive challenge is sorted into categories like eating out, essentials, and dates, and is an apt platform to recap your newly acquired vocabulary.

Pros: Reinforces character and phrase recognition.
Cons: Only focuses on vocabulary.

Download it on Google Play.

10. Studystack

Image adapted from: Studystack

Hungry Bug
Image adapted from: Studystack

Studystack boasts 14 games of varying intensities and challenges to speed up your learning curve. Expect games such as the iconic Hangman, crossword puzzles, and Hungry Bug  a Pac-Man-esque game where youll have to munch on the items, listed in Japanese, in the correct order. If you have a short attention span, feel free to explore other language games on the website.

Pros: Free online website with 14 different types of games and assessment.
Cons: Graphics are not the most appealing. Vocabulary tests can get repetitive after several rounds.


Learn basic Japanese while gaming

Mastering a new language is no easy feat, but that doesnt mean it has to be no pain no gain. From fending off slimes to upgrading your avatar, heres how you can level up from noob to pro without giving up on fun.

Cover image adapted from: Mindsnacks and neoseeker.com

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Follow The Smart Local Japan on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram for more stories like this.50SHARESShareTweetAudrey NgNext 10 Japanese Drinking Games You Can Play With Your Friends »Previous « 10 Nostalgic Anime Series Gen Z Kids Grew Up Watching In The 2000s That Will Send You On A Feels TripSharePublished byAudrey NgTags: japanese languagejapanese language applearn japaneseJuly 7, 2020 4:19 pm

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