The final outing for the Successfully Learning German WiiWare series is now among us and it's business as usual for the Tivola-developed edutainment tool. As with earlier entries, Year 5 makes no attempts to actively teach participants anything new, instead providing interactive exercises for students of a particular level to practice the language skills they've gained in the classroom.
Users face linguistic challenges that come in various forms, including short and long vowels, foreign words, "und" or "aber", making nouns from verbs, word building blocks, parts of speech, making words from letters, opposites, hard and soft consonants and figures of speech. Through a combination of choosing, connecting and typing correct answers, players progress through sets of questions and are graded accordingly out of three stars. Tivola's mascot Freddy the Little Vampire also makes a return to lend his twee but inoffensive encouragement to players who are struggling and gush praise upon the most perfect of pupils.
Cleanly designed yet bare, Successfully Learning German: Year 5 isn't a looker but neither is it unpleasant to behold. There's little glitz and glamour accompanying your selections but this keeps the pace nippy, the process of studying feeling less like a chore when you're waiting on the game to present the next question.
Navigation through the software is rudimentary but efficient, the Wii Remote lending itself well as a simple pointing device to use the on-screen keyboard, dragging and dropping words to complete sentences, checking boxes and skimming through menu options. A generous amount of spoken word comes included as part of the package, which is spotless in terms of audio quality.
By way of reward, users are bestowed time for the bonus game also included within the title. SLG:Y5 comes bundled with a maze based puzzler in which you must move a basketball towards a target. Movement is determined by a flick of the Wii Remote in the direction you wish the ball to travel, only being stopped by a wall or obstacle. Determining a route can be quite fun and the title mixes things up by removing the sides of the map and adding bombs, but it's nothing you can't get at a semi-decent flash site.
If you've downloaded or even just been interested in the previous titles and feel you can forgive their clear focus on function over form, then go grab this now, as it's a reasonably proficient aid to helping youngsters nail the basics of the German language.