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Kana Quest is a great puzzle game that just so happens to also teach you Japanese

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It may be troublesome to search out time to complete a online game, particularly if you happen to solely have a number of hours every week to play. In our biweekly column Brief Play, we advise video video games that may be began and completed in a weekend.

Rising up, I performed loads of academic video games on the Apple IIe, like Oregon Path and The place within the World is Carmen Sandiego? The video games that truly taught me issues have been additionally those that have been enjoyable to play, studying how a specific topic aligned with the way you wanted to consider getting higher on the sport. The Carmen Sandiego video games have been significantly good at this: enhancing meant instructing your self extra concerning the areas or locations in time the place the thief might have fled to with a purpose to higher discern the clues.

In an identical vein, Kana Quest is a sliding block puzzle sport that’s designed to show you Japanese Hiragana and Katakana characters. It does this by being a very good puzzle sport that simply so occurs to make use of Japanese characters because the medium for connecting the tiles. Because of this you don’t must study the characters to unravel the puzzles; moderately, you find yourself studying them to get higher at fixing the puzzles.

The purpose of every puzzle stage is to attach every tile collectively. Tiles join when the character on them matches an adjoining tile in one in every of two methods: both they’ve the identical beginning consonant sound or the identical vowel sound. As an example, the Hiragana character さ (sa) can connect with characters like す (su) or せ (se), which all begin with an “s” sound. However it could actually additionally join with か (ka) and な (na), as they each finish with an “a” sound. That additionally means if you happen to put a さ tile between す and か tiles, all three would join.

This setup is satisfying sufficient, however as you progress, new mechanics are launched to combine up how it’s essential take into consideration every puzzle, like tiles that may’t be moved in any respect, ice tiles that slide in a course till they hit a wall, or immovable tiles. Slime tiles — the characters あ (a), い (i), う (u), え (e), and お (o) — are significantly tough. When moved over one other character tile, they alter its vowel, so when you’ve got a さ tile that you just transfer a う slime tile over, it adjustments to す.

Nonetheless, it’s the query mark tile that’s perhaps probably the most attention-grabbing, because it provides an extra puzzle on prime of the particular puzzle. These tiles can’t be moved till you guess what character it’s, which you’ll be able to determine by shifting the opposite characters subsequent to it and seeing which of them it connects with or by wanting on the tiles and figuring out what character it’s essential resolve the puzzle. A query mark tile would possibly join with せ, す, and な, from which you’ll be able to conclude that because it connects to 2 “s” starting characters and an “a” ending character, it needs to be さ.

The way in which Kana Quest incorporates all of those totally different mechanics retains the sport from feeling like you’re simply doing the identical puzzles repeatedly in numerous configurations. As a substitute, it layers on extra complicated gameplay whereas additionally by no means shedding sight of the truth that instructing Japanese is fairly particular. The slime tiles, particularly, confirmed how well-thought-out this sport actually is since they might have simply been regular tiles. However the mechanic round them helps to distinguish them and make them memorable characters in addition to change how you concentrate on every puzzle.

Kana Quest has over 300 puzzles that may then be performed over once more with Katakana characters as a substitute of Hiragana characters (or vice versa), successfully doubling that quantity, which suggests you seemingly aren’t going to truly end this sport in a weekend. Usually, that might make it opposite to the target of those Brief Play suggestions, but it surely is a perfect sport for the quarantined world we at the moment reside in. You may play for 30 minutes or so a day, knocking out a number of puzzles. You’ll have spent your time doing one thing that’s each enjoyable and constructive in instructing you one thing that’ll be helpful past simply the sport.

Kana Quest was created by Not Lifeless Design. You will get it on Steam (Home windows) for $14.99, and it’s coming to iOS and Android later this yr.

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