At first, Influent seemed to have all the right aspects to become a great game. It’s an indie game, funded with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, meant to offer both an innovative and effective method of helping players improving their vocabulary and pronunciation skills as part of learning a new language. It offers an interactive 3D environment in which the player just walks, explores, and learns the words for the encountered objects. Then he or she can practice these words as they can be added to custom vocabulary lists. Sounds like both educational and entertaining? Well, I’m sorry to tell, but after trying it, I discovered it isn’t exactly so. It's neither effective at helping learn something useful, nor entertaining and captivating.
So what went wrong about Influent, though at first it seemed so promising? Well, for starters, the lack of satisfactory content, in terms of quantity. There are just a few rooms with around 400 objects, most of them household items. And that’s hardly useful, considering that at least 3000 words should be known to make a language comprehensible, according to the Pareto principle (you need about 3000 words to comprehend about 80% of the language).
So it isn’t effective considering its educational purpose, but is it at least fun? Unfortunately, Influent failed at being entertaining too. There are some to-do lists and unlockables, but those were neither motivating nor captivating enough.
Despite all the criticism, Influent is not an app I would disregard completely and avoid recommending at all. It still has some advantages, like support for many languages (even though each one comes with its own, separate price). In conclusion, it’s one of the apps where I refrain myself from stating a clear verdict. I didn’t like it, but that doesn’t mean you’ll surely it too.
- Decent-looking 3D environment
- A lot of language packs are available
- There are to-do lists that help you keep track of your progress
- It teaches only vocabulary, no grammar or other language aspects
- It lacks satisfactory comprehensiveness in terms of available words
- The tests lack being challenging or captivating, so it also disappoints on the entertaining part
- Every language pack comes with its own price