Word Fireworks: Learn Japanese!
By mode of expression, LLC
Open the Mac App Store to buy and download apps.
Learn to read and write Japanese...with fireworks!
• From the maker of Lunacraft, The Grading Game, and Ratatap Drums, with over 10,000 five-star reviews! •
Join the S.P.A.R.K. team to explode fireworks, learn a new language, and make contact with the visiting aliens!
Over the course of more than 100 levels, your S.P.A.R.K. training will initiate you into
• reading and writing hiragana and katakana
• reading and writing kanji
• understanding spoken Japanese (male and female voice recordings!)
• and everyday vocabulary!
Each level is procedurally generated to give you the most useful balance of reinforcement, review, and new material. The more you play, the better Word Fireworks tailors its levels to you!
Make it through sprint levels, audio listening stages, and confusion-clearing challenges to launch your own fireworks show!
Unlock more than 100 types of fireworks, from the Chrysanthemum to the Donut-Kebab. Or use your creativity and make your own custom firework design!
Word Fireworks features male and female voice recordings so you can get the language in your ear. You'll learn the correct pronunciation and the correct way to read and write Japanese -- all while setting off gorgeous fireworks!
Kickstart your Japanese studies by lighting up the night sky with your learning -- with Word Fireworks Japanese! Ganbatte!
What's New in Version 2.21
You can now toggle fireworks on and off in the Fireworks Gallery! Turn on your favorites and turn off the ones you're tired of!
Fixed a crashing bug with crosette-type fireworks.
Improved sorting in the Fireworks gallery. Tweaked some graphical elements.
Various small bug fixes and corrections. Let us know if you have suggestions, corrections, or any problems - we're listening!
A good learning tool, but ...
Overall, this is a good learning tool, but be prepared to be painfully frustrated a lot. I started already knowing Hiragana, and was ready to delete it after the first two runs. First off, I would recommend this program to someone who wants to study Japanese, but only as an accessory tool, and only if your patience is long. Frustrating doesn’t begin to describe the first dozen uses of the app, but the speed does make more sense when you go back to review, at least in letter recognition and a limited writing ability.
The biggest complaint I have is that the cursor is almost impossible to see. It blends in with the fireworks in the background and really slows down response times. This alone almost made me dump the game as unusable. Using a mouse to draw the letters is hard and you are given as little leeway as you would learning on paper. That would be great if you weren’t being timed on hitting the exact pixel the app wants before it lets you move on. Even using a graphics tablet and pen, it is very hard to successfully write letters in a reasonable time.
The way the challenges are presented varies enough to avoid boredom, though being able to opt out of certain types would be a wonderful feature for those of us who don’t have rock-steady hands. There seems to be no difference in speed between your first challenge for a letter group and your hundredth, which is frustrating the first three or four reviews in each group. The way questions are presented, a letter with sound options around it or vice versa, is decent, but be prepared for a lot of accidental wrong answers when there are more than a couple of letters on the board as they bump together making a misclick very easy.
This is not an app for those who want to speed through the levels and get to the finish. Going back and reviewing is critical for successful learning. You can select levels to review, but you need to keep track of which ones need the most help manually. When you start going back is when you start appreciating the speed aspect, generally (it’s still way too fast for the first time run-through). You will have learned more than you thought, and each review will add to it. Letter writing is still frustrating even when you can write them on paper perfectly, so be prepared for that.
The one area that speed is just stupid in is when you get to words. The program starts giving you simple words of two letters, adding length as you progress. Recognizing multiple letter sounds is a wonderful second step, but the meanings underneath are pointless, since you are being timed and won’t be able to actually read them unless you are prepared to fail the level multiple times.
Lettering is hard to read, even with maximizing font size, and the menu could be more descriptive. The only way to completely exit is from the Apple task bar as there is no option in the game itself. The fireworks are cool at first but get a little irritating after a while, and sometimes make it impossible to see your cursor—which is hard enough to see in the first place. The music will drive you nuts, but you can turn it off in the options.
Overall, the concept is solid, and you will learn if you are willing to review a lot and handle a good bit of frustration along the way. There’s lots of room for improvement, but for the price it has a definite place in the toolkit of a Japanese language learner.