With the new year comes some New Year’s resolutions. One of mine is that I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese. I’ve tried twice to teach myself before finally realizing that I should probably just take a class. And I am! But then I also stumbled on Hiragana Pixel Party on the Nintendo eShop a couple of weeks ago. Hiragana Pixel Party has also been available on Steam and iOS for a while, but it feels nice on the Switch. It’s a game that tasks you with memorizing Japanese characters and then makes you repeat them via button presses to a fun chiptune beat.

The game also tests your ability to quickly read the characters by shuffling around their designated buttons before each sequence. There’s a decent amount happening to engage players serious about learning how to read and pronounce Japanese hiragana and katakana. I wanted to put it through its paces with our resident 日本語 expert Tim Rogers to see if it’s a decent learning tool for anyone with a Switch and an appetite for language-learning. What I didn’t expect is how tough this game actually would be or all of the things I’d learn from Tim.