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Language learning game Lingotopia is out, some thoughts

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Language learning game Lingotopia [Official Site] from Lingo Ludo released with Linux support earlier this month, here's my thoughts.

In Lingotopia you play a little girl shipwrecked on the shores of a strange island. In order to get back home you'll need to explore the island and talk to its inhabitants. Sadly, no one speaks your language! You'll have to learn words one at a time to decipher what these strange creatures are saying.

While I love the idea of the game, the execution of it overall is pretty lacklustre. The movement and camera controls feel like a hassle to work with. The movement is especially bad! Even though you're a person, it feels like you're trying to move a truck it's pretty awful honestly.

The amount of Spanish I've learned while walking around isn't as much as I was hoping either. The actual learning ends up being nothing more than a guessing game. You click on objects as you walk around and it tells you what it is, sometimes the explanation is covered up by the model of the object too. When you speak to people directly, it gives you a sentence or a paragraph and tells you to guess a specific word with three options or gives you pictures for you to type in the word you think they're hinting at.

There's another downside too, which is the audio quality for the above parts. The audio for speech sounds all muffled so it's a little hard to make out the pronounciation correctly. That and the content is spread quite thin through the map, requiring quite a lot of endless walking feeling like you're just getting nowhere.

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Honestly, I'm not going to recommend it. I rarely say it, but I just don't think it's good enough for what it aims to do. It needs better movement, better camera controls and much better audio quality to start with. It just doesn't get you to do enough, to actually help you learn. If a game that's supposed to help you learn a language, has you just walking around for 90% of the time I think you're doing it a poor job. It also doesn't help that your vocabulary list often stops working and just doesn't show up when you click it.

Find it on Steam and itch.io.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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The comments on this article are closed.
Nezchan 28 August 2018 at 12:53 pm UTC
Ah, that was pretty much my experience with the earlier versions on Itch. It's a grand idea, but marred by the fact that you're maybe learing about a dozen or so words without much context, and no idea how to assemble them into sentences. I was really hoping by full release they would have at least tried to address that.

I think if you were to learn a language from a game like this, it would require far more depth, and far more actual interactive instruction. A pity you won't find it here.
stratus 28 August 2018 at 12:58 pm UTC
As someone who is actively learning languages, my impression is that most of these games fall way short of being helpful. Influent for example has a significant amount of vocabulary related to an apartment, which is great. But with most of these games, there isn't any real incentive to learn them. They often act more as glorified flash cards than anything particularly useful. (The reason I think they are not useful is because there is too much time doing mundane activities like walking and not enough time with a language).

For a game to be useful, I think it should be story driven where interactions fade gradually from your native language into the target language. Eventually nothing should be in the native language. It is a LOT of work but I think that is the only real way to build a somewhat engaging language learning game.
Salvatos 28 August 2018 at 2:47 pm UTC
Funny - I was hoping the video in the article would show Liam's issues with the game from his personal playthrough, but even the trailer's audio is so muffled that I didn't pick anything up from it while reading the comments. QED.
GustyGhost 28 August 2018 at 3:00 pm UTC
Also can be found on itch.io
Tchey 28 August 2018 at 6:27 pm UTC
I tried it while in Alpha, i wanted to like it, but it's really not "fun" at all. Worst, it's even less affective than reading a dictionary with pictures, these books for kids. You just walk and click on things, with poor design, terrible camera and control, and empty passion.
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