I bought this game for the whole family to se as we are all 'attempting' to learn Mandarin. It is designed for absolute beginners so might be a bit tedious for people who are trying to improve their knowledge of the language rather than learn it from scratch. This is because you have to work through each lesson and play a series of mini games which then unlocks the next lesson. However, there are a total of about a 1,000 lessons to complete so it will suit the intermediate learner if they can patiently work their way through the basic lessons first. (Hopefully Nintendo will bring out an Intermediate level My Chinese Coach that will suit others).
There is new vocabulary to learn in each lesson which is very much structured in the usual way for learning a language - ie. greetings, family members, numbers, colours, weather. etc. Then you play a series of mini games which earns you points. You have to score so many points for each word/phrase that you are correctly identifying when playing the mini games. This is useful as if there are certain words that you are not quite getting, you can go back to repeat the lesson again.
The best points about this game is:
1. It's very good for learning pronounciation. As Mandarin has four tones it is very important to learn them
well as saying a word in the wrong tone can totally alter the meaning of the word and you may end up
in an embarrassing situation! One of the mini games is completely geared towards recognising the four
tones. There is also a recording facility where you repeat after the native speaker and can then play it
back to compare your own recording with the native speaker's pronounciation.
2. There is a huge amount of vocabulary stored in this game if you have the willingness and patience to
learn. You learn new vocabulary in each lesson but it is also progressive in that old vocabulary will crop up
in new lessons to make sure you haven't forgotten what you have learned. There is also a useful phrasebook
3. It is also good for word recognition as one of the mini games requires that you recognise the chinese
The not so good points:
This game is no use if you are trying to learn to write chinese characters. When writing chinese characters there is certain stroke order that should be followed. On this game the stroke order is shown but it is incredibly fast. This is such a shame as it could have been a very useful facility. I'm not sure what nintendo was thinking of when they designed this part of the game as all it needs to be is a whole lot slower. This would have made it a valuable learning tool for learning to write chinese. (Please not that maybe there is a way to slow this process down but as of yet I haven't been able to work it out)!
I decided to try this "game" to improve my Chinese (Mandarin), and it is really helpful!!! There hasn't been many good language games before so this was a surprise!
The cover is rather bland and boring, forming two circles like binoculars... really uninspiring and looking at this I would not get this at all, but I must urge you not to judge this by its cover because it really has some good stuff inside!
The game has many lessons (way over 1000) and each one has a list of vocab which require you to learn before the next lesson can be unlocked. You can train on these vocabs through a range of mini-games such as multiple choice, hit the word and even writing them out in chinese on the touch-screen!
Whilst these games are slightly repetitive as I have a basic knowledge of Chinese already, they are good practice in recognising the characters, the pinyin and the english equivalent.
The "game" does get progressively harder and perhaps less enjoyable but if you are truly determined, completing this game will ultimately be very useful. They also have a phrase book section that is unlocked from the beginning in which you can learn how to say very useful everyday phrases.
Controls consist of using the stylus for mini-games as well as menu controls.
The game gets progressively harder, although is very basic to begin with. Certain mini-games are harder than others and may require some training!
The "game" can be purchased for under £20 on Amazon.
I have found this "game" to be very useful in learning more vocabulary in Chinese. There is a good range of mini-games but not all of them are enjoyable... so I tend to stick to a certain few when training to learn vocab lists in order to unlock the next level. This can be rather tedious but nonetheless the practice is good. The sheer amount of lessons and vocab available is impressive and I'd highly recommend this to all those interested in learning the Chinese language as it geared towards those with no basic chinese knowledge at all!