Since 2014, the language learning game Influent has been teaching Steam users how to speak, read, and write foreign languages through its immersive gameplay. To be exact, over 500,000 players have learned new languages thanks to this free-to-play game.
On October 20, 2021, Three Flip Studios hopes to teach a half a million more students when Influent arrives on iOS devices. However, this won’t be the same game from seven years ago ported to iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. The mobile version will feature a revamped progress tracking system, Discord integration, and Polish, Welsh, and Dutch language packs.
Influent teaches vocabulary and aural reception of more than 20 languages by simulating how native speakers learn: through exposure to the real-world context of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, but in a virtual world. Influent doesn’t replace other language learning tools but complements them – and even adds a spaceship complete with lasers!Walk in the shoes of Andrew Cross, inventor of the SanjigenJiten, a device that scans objects and provides their names in any language. After the CEO of Technoglobe, a money-hungry big tech corporation, steals his technology, Andrew raises money on crowdfunding site Firestarter by hosting a language learning marathon live-streamed on Flinch. By mastering more than 420 words in a foreign language based on items in his apartment, he’ll try and raise enough money to prove it was his invention all along!Freely explore Andrew’s apartment, tapping on objects like a pillow on a bed, fruit in a refrigerator, or a video game on a shelf to collect words strewn throughout. Play a variety of mini-games to test these learnings and earn the five points needed for mastery of each word. Included in these games is Seek and Destroy, where players pilot a remote-controlled spaceship to find and shoot the object that matches the presented word. New aural and textural Reversal Modes introduce the challenge of finding words based on either their audio pronunciation or their textual display.
To pull back the curtain a bit, language learning is one of my biggest passions in life. I grew up learning Greek and English and, as a result, I’ve been fascinated and eager to learn and teach others new languages ever since. So, having language learning incorporated into another passion of mine, video games, is music to my ears.
The fact of the matter is, most language learning games and apps are either not very good or they cost too much money. While I haven’t tried Influent, I am very intrigued by it for three reasons. First, the fact that it’s taught over 500,000 players on Steam to mostly positive reviews. Second, because it’s free, with affordable language packs ($9.99 on Steam, $3.99 on iOS). Third, and what I think is the most important factor, it’s attempting to be an immersion program. In my experience, immersion programs are the best way to learn a foreign language, because it doesn’t allow you to rely on your native language, but instead completely immerses you into the foreign language you’re trying to learn both formally and informally. So, the fact that a immersive language learning video game is going mobile very much piqued my interest.
With the free version of Influent, players will automatically have access to French, Italian, and Korean language packs. All other additional language packs will run for $3.99. Other language packs include: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Swedish, Latin, European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Dutch, Polish, and Welsh.
I’m sad Greek isn’t one of those languages, but that’s a lot of other beautiful languages to immerse yourselves into. Influent releases on iOS devices on October 20, 2021.