Successfully Learning German: Year 2 Review
Posted by James Newton
Nicht so toll
Tivola's continued attempts to teach the world basic mathematic and linguistic skills continues apace with Successfully Learning German: Year 2, marking another appearance from vampire Freddie, the world's least qualified teaching assistant.
If you've played a previous Successfully Learning game you'll know what to expect, but if not here's the quick run-down. There are ten categories to study, ranging from spelling to sounds and syllables, and once you complete an exercise you're marked out of three stars. The better your performance, the more time you build up to play a non-educational minigame.
As you'd expect from an introduction to German, the games here are all quite simplistic, ranging from organising words into alphabetical order to assessing whether phrases are correct or not. These usually last a few minutes and the game never encourages you to rush, even giving you two attempts to get the question right before solving it for you and moving you along.
The exercises address several crucial areas of the language — German words are spoken and you must identify the correct spelling, and syllable work helps you learn the difference between 'pf' and 'f' sounds, for example. Capital and lowercase letters are included too, which will sound redundant to anyone who's never studied the language but make sense to anyone who reads even a little German.
However, it's worth pointing out that this game is not a beginner's introduction to German, nor is it intended to be a language course: words' meanings are rarely explained or defined, there's no translation and there's no vocabulary building of any sort. It's a case of "identify this word," where if you don't know the word you'll likely find yourself stumped. If you're going in with no knowledge of the language, it's highly unlikely you'll get anything out of this.
If all the educational games get a bit much for you, there's a bonus minigame you can play that's essentially a large scale tangram puzzle played at high speed. Pieces of different shapes and sizes scroll along the bottom, and you pick one and place it where you like to fill an outline of a dog, a mouse and so on. It'll hold your attention for a few minutes, if that, as it's quite basic.
Successfully Learning German: Year 2 is a companion to, not a replacement for German studies – you won't actually learn anything from playing this, but it might just reinforce some things you're learning elsewhere. If you're after a German course on WiiWare, this is not it. If you want an interactive way to hammer home some basics, though, you could do worse.