Learn Japanese to Survive: Kanji Combat is the third game in the Learn Japanese to Survive series. The games take the process of learning the different Japanese writing systems and put them into a visual novel/RPG style game.
At the beginning of the game, you discover that you have been selected for an all expenses paid trip to Japan. The catch? You need to study Japanese for three months. Once you arrive, you meet three other students who have also won this contest and will be studying with you. As you are standing with your teacher Hana-sensei in front of the school, you are approached by a monk who asks you to visit a nearby shrine and offer a prayer. You do but as soon as you finish, you discover that everything around you has changed.
The city has disappeared and has been replaced with a wide open empty field. In addition, enemies are now roaming the area that bear a striking resemblance to Japanese kanji characters. Hana-sensei gives you a quick lesson on kanji and when you identify them correctly in battle, it deals damage and allows you to defeat the monster. The object of the game is to make it safely back to your world while learning Japanese in the process.
The game plays like a traditional roleplaying game with an educational twist. There are lessons to be learned about kanji but you can also buy and upgrade weapons, build up your resources by starting a new town, and purchasing items to help heal your party’s status effects during or after battles.
Working Memory: Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working.
Learning a language is a great way to practice Working Memory skills and Kanji Combat requires the player to use this skill throughout the game. The player must be able to look at the written kanji and recall not only their meaning in English but also their on-yomi and kun-yomi readings. In order to attack the monsters you encounter, you need to “speak their true name” by identifying their pronunciation. The player needs to recall these while in the middle of combat, where they are given several options and need to choose the correct one to do damage. The combat in the game is turn-based so the player can take a moment to think about the answer but working memory skills will help make it through the battles much faster.
Focus: Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.
Learning a language also takes a great amount of focus so learning Japanese while playing a game is a fun way to practice a language and focusing skills at the same time. When Hana-sensei is teaching your characters about the different kanji, the player also needs to pay attention to the stroke order of each character as well as the different readings. These will be required for battles because if the player gets the answer wrong, their team will take damage and maybe lose the battle or the game entirely. Paying attention during the lesson sections will allow the player to make it through the battles in the game much faster and will help retain knowledge about the meanings and pronunciations of the different kanji.
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