Influent – Reviewed
By Marcus Estrada
Are you someone who has always wanted to learn another language but never got around to it? Or, are you currently taking a foreign language class but looking for some extra help? Influent touts itself as being a very fun, unique way to learn language through gameplay. Although it may not live up to the expectations of some users, it is definitely a neat way to enhance your multilingual vocabulary.
In Influent you play as an inventor named Andrew has created a language learning device. Although there’s a tad more to the story, that’s basically all you need to know to get started. Thanks to this device, the player is able to click on any item in Andrew’s apartment and hear its associated noun in a different language (as well as see how it’s written). After checking out a few objects, you can then start running tests to check word retention.
Tests can be based off specific words or simply a randomized bunch from your existing vocabulary. In either case, once they begin your goal is to listen (or read) terms and correctly click on their associated item in the apartment. Sometimes this takes a while due simply to the fact that some objects are only available in a certain room, while others are scattered around multiple locations. In either case, Influent manages to make studying more fun than it otherwise would be as players seek to increase their speed and get 100% on quizzes.
Those who enjoy fully completing games and unlocking achievements will enjoy the challenge that Influent presents. Instead of tasking you to be a skilled FPS player, you simply have to be willing to learn and remember terms! By mixing gameplay with learning the experience is a lot more palpable than simply flipping through study cards. There are over 400 words to find per language and they offer alternate terminology as well as adjectives and verbs.
So what languages can you play Influent in? Right now the choices are Bulgarian, English, French, German, Latin, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Swedish; with more languages coming in the future. Each version has terms spoken by a native speaker (well, maybe all except for Latin) alongside the written form of each language. Players buy the game by selecting the language they wish to learn, and can buy additional languages as $9.99 DLC purchases.
A few issues are present although they are far from fatal. Some objects in the game world are quite small, making it hard to accurately click them. During tests this leads to the game thinking you really can’t remember the word for pencil, when the truth is that it’s too tiny to click on reliably. Secondly, it is hard to perceive what it means when an object has multiple names associated to it. Is one term depreciated while the other is modern? Are they dependent on regional usage? More description here would have been handy.
Influent is not a typical game but it proves to be one strangely compelling learning device. You just can’t go into it expecting to complete it feeling fluent. What the game seems best for is beefing up your language retention alongside some other form of learning. Influent is a tool that students should definitely keep in mind when studying a foreign language.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/marcus.jpg” ]Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. One day when he became fed up with the way sites would ignore niche titles he decided to start his own site by the name of Pixel Pacas. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come. Some of Marcus’s favorite games include Silent Hill 2, Killer7, and The Sims. [/author]