We Played A Game On Switch That Teaches You Japanese

With the new year comes some New Year’s resolutions. One of mine is that I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese. I’ve tried twice to teach myself before finally realising that I should probably just take a class. And I am! But then I also stumbled upon Hiragana Pixel Party on the Nintendo eShop a couple of weeks ago. Hiragana Pixel Party has also been available on Steam and iOS for a while, but it feels nice on the Switch. It’s a game that tasks you with memorising Japanese characters and then makes you repeat them via button presses to a fun chiptune beat.

The game also tests your ability to quickly read the characters by shuffling around their designated buttons before each sequence. There’s a decent amount happening to engage players serious about learning how to read and pronounce Japanese hiragana and katakana. I wanted to put it through its paces with our resident 日本語 expert Tim Rogers to see if it’s a decent learning tool for anyone with a Switch and an appetite for language-learning. What I didn’t expect is how tough this game actually would be or all of the things I’d learn from Tim.


  • I just want to correct the title. It’s doesn’t teach you Japanese, but rather it teaches you the Hiragana and Katakana Alphabets. It’ll help you read, not converse.

    • No kanji? May as well throw it away. I recommend the Memrise app for learning basic Japanese. It’s only slightly gamified but you still get the motivation of continuing your daily streak. I use it for Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. It’s great because you only need to spend around 5 minutes a day per language, but you can spend more time if you have it 🙂

  • Hiragana and Katakana combined take a few hours to learn with no gamification required. There’s a book by the same guy who wrote the “Remembering the Kanji” series called “Remembering the Kana” that gives some simple mnemonic tricks for remembering all of the symbols.

    There’s a game on steam for actually learning vocab called “Influent”.

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