When I was travelling in Europe a few years ago I was curious about video games that were published outside of the US, so I picked up cheap copies of two DS games that I otherwise would have little use. Both of them were no doubt riding the wave of the success of the first Brain Age game, and the first is called English Training, while its sequel is called Practise English. "More English Training" would probably have been a more appropriate title for the latter, as that game does pretty much everything the first game does, but adds more extras.

[As a side note, be aware that the original DS and DS Lite are region free and so a US version can play these games, but note that all the DSi and 3DS/2DS models are region-locked and US versions can't play this game. Also note that despite packaging being specific to different countries, all versions of the games give you the option of selecting your native language amongst the provided options, which are German, French, Italian, and Spanish, and in some versions of the game, Dutch. Oh, and the original version of the game was for Japanese speakers.]

I had the vague notion that playing these games might help me learn other languages, but the majority of the games are really focused on having you listen to dialogues and then transcribing them via the games' handwriting recognition, which is, of course, fairly useless for a native speaker. There are a lot of ways they take the material from the dialogues and repackage them to help drill them into you, for example: some listening comprehension questions of the dialogues, including a dictionary of words and phrases from the dialogues that you can refer back to, a "continuous play" option where you can listen to all the dialogues in a row without pause and on a loop (and also just the ones you've marked as having trouble with), etc. The dialogues themselves have a lot of variety and seem like pretty standard but useful phrases, and there are some surprises thrown in to mix things up a bit, such as some nursery rhyme songs (although I'm not sure how useful it is for a foreign speaker to know how to say "Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow", haha). The second game in particular has some more variety, such as a section that consists of many different people speaking English in different accents, including an Australian or a Japanese person speaking English (the game otherwise uses British English).

As with the Brain Age games you can take a test once a day to help chart your progress, and there's also a graph you can look at that shows you how many exercises you've completed over time. Both games have a handful of extras that are more game-like, but the second game has more of them. That game has a mini-game where you act as a pizza delivery person and have to follow directions to deliver pizzas, and one where you're given instructions on how to color a picture (for example, "color the woman's hair pink").

Although I'm not the games' target audience and it's not really too useful for me to learn one of the foreign languages, they are very well designed and seem like much better overall than the two other language games I've played, My French Coach and My Japanese Coach. Still, it's always fun to take a peek at games released outside of my region, and if any reader happens to be checking out this review, then I can definitely recommend these games based on my experience with them. Have fun! ;)

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