*Sources of screenshots are listed in their respective file-names.
Inventor Andrew Cross spends three years developing the “SanjigenJiten” (a device that scans objects and provides their names in the language chosen), only to have it stolen by a large corporation. To prove the SanjigenJiten is his invention, he resolves to learn
300 new words.
This is where you come in.
Inspired by the gameplay of titles like Shenmue and Toy Commander, Influent* allows you to interact with tons of objects in a 3D environment. Every object is connected to a word in your chosen language.
Languages currently available:
- Mandarin Chinese
The developer also plans to add several languages in the near future.
With simple controls and the ability to learn at your own pace, you’ll soon begin interacting with objects, hearing pronunciations from native speakers and adding words to your vocabulary list.
Every ten words on your list can be mastered in time attack, where you match them with their respective objects in the least amount of time possible. Mastering words allows you to “buy” adjectives and verbs (along with fulfilling an in-game to do list).
This gives a tangible sense of progression.
Once fifty words are mastered, you unlock a new time attack mode-Fly By.
This mode lets you to hop into the cockpit of the Stingray IV (a toy airplane) and shoot lasers at household objects.
Of course, this is for educational purposes…
All of these techniques are used to help you gain vocabulary in a fun and interesting way (think highly interactive, laser-shooting flashcards).
As I am currently living abroad in South Korea, I put Influent to the test to see if it actually had any effect on my learning rate.
It turns out Influent is very effective when it comes to memorization and reinforcing knowledge. I quickly learned words that have eluded me in the past few weeks (침대! 바지!) and confirmed ones I had forgotten (고양이!).
This is mostly due to the fact that I actually enjoyed what I was doing. When you approach language learning as a game to be mastered rather than yet another stressful task, it makes a big difference.
However, please note that as with any other application, there are limitations to Influent.
First, this game will not actually teach you your chosen language. You will not learn grammar, the alphabet, or sentence construction through this title.
Instead, Influent focuses primarily on “vocabulary acquisition and pronunciation.”
Second, at present, you are limited to Andrew Cross’ apartment. Although there are many items to interact with, secrets to uncover and 420 words to master, the realization that you’ll memorize words like kettle but not tree is a bit disappointing.
Influent is so successful in its approach to learning multiple languages that I can easily see it becoming more than just a learning supplement.
Extra environments to explore and discover would transform this game into an essential part of the language-mastery experience.
Influent may not teach you grammar or the alphabet of your chosen language. However,
it definitely makes learning some of the most basic words/concepts (bed, TV, awesome, etc.) an enjoyable experience.
As languages are still being added, I’d like to see this idea expand beyond Andrew Cross’ apartment into the outside world. The addition of new environments and further basic vocabulary would make Influent truly invaluable.
None to my knowledge.
Buy Now! (PC)
*This title was received for review. See our statement of ethics here.
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