top of page

Kana Quest - Review - Nintendo Switch

One of the things on my bucket list is that I would love to learn to read and speak Japanese. It's one of those languages that has always fascinated me but I have yet to get around to sitting down and trying to learn it. Well, now thanks to developer Not Dead Design and publisher Whitethorn Games I can now make a start, whilst also playing a video game!

Kana Quest is a Kawaii Kana Match-Em Up video that mixes cute pixel graphics, matching puzzle gameplay and Japanese letters. The game aims to teach players Hiragana and Katakana, the Japanese language phonetic alphabet. This is basically the beginner stage of the language you will need to learn if you ever want to progress with Japanese.

Gameplay is pretty simple, you need to match Kana that have similar sounds to each other to complete each puzzle. As you progress the game will introduce new Kana but you start with only a small selection to ensure you don't get too overwhelmed. For example you could match the Kana mi” (み) and “he” (へ) because they both sound similar. To complete a level you need to chain all the Kana tiles by these connections. The less move you make on each puzzle the better, with different medals awarded depending how good you do. You will mainly learn by repetition and picking up the sounds of the Kana, similarly to when I had used prompt cards as a child trying to learn things. It's probably not the most straightforward way to learn these letters, but it's definitely the more enjoyable.

There are over 300 puzzles to work through, with increasingly challenging difficulty as you work your way through them. I found playing with the touchscreen in handheld mode to be much easier, but that's just my personal preference for the controls but it definitely feels like this was designed to be played in handheld over docked on a big screen, almost mobile game like.

The game features bright, colourful pixel art that really pops from the screen. The Kana tiles all have cute faces on them and there are a variety of different backgrounds across the puzzle levels to stop it feeling samey. The background music also adds to the chill vibe the game gives off.

Kana Quest is a unique game with a good take on language learning. Whilst the things you will learn from playing are only the dipping of a toe into the big pool of the Japanese language it definitely helps get the basics down in a fun and well presented manner. Whilst it won't help you start up a conversation in Japanese, the core understanding of Hiragana and Katakana will be reinforced in your brain.

It's difficult to give Kana Quest a score because everyone learns and processes things in a different way. Where some thrive from this style of learning/playing others will prefer an old school style. So I base this score purely on my enjoyment and overall take away from my time with the game.


Kana Quest was released onto the Nintendo eShop on the 28th March 2023. It's priced at £11.39 and can be purchased HERE. The game is also available on PC. A copy of the game was provided for this review. A big thanks for that.

27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page