Brand New Game From Japan: Shikihime Garden

badger, apparently

The headline is a quote from the trailer for the recently translated Shikihime Garden, which isn’t a brand new game at all. However, since the English language version has just gone live, this is good a time to talk about it as any. It’s a free-to-play browser-based (or Book of Faces) game, which may well avoid certain free-to-play sins thanks to the absence of paid-for boosters. You can’t pay your way to the top and the game instead rewards skill and ‘patience’. The cynic in me is barking about the similarities between the patient man and a grindstone. As for the activities involved, they range from deck building and turn-based combat to gardening.

Wot’s that all about then?

In card mode, players will be able to build decks with a variety of Shikihime cards and monster cards to defeat fierce enemies to obtain valuable items as well as to extend the world map. In simulation mode, Shikihime Garden looks like a variant of gardening game which is popular on social networks like Facebook. Players can decorate their garden with various objects to make it a comfortable place for Shikihime to rest, relax and train for upcoming battles. Besides, RPG elements will be applied for every playable cards, i.e. players will need to pay attention to similar attributes like Strength, Defense, Agility, skills when enhancing their cards.

Shikihime are the ladies you see in the trailer. The website informs me that if I “love Shikihime they will be close to [me]…” Jolly good. I’ll need them close because it sounds like the game is all about sending them into battle against wild monsters to earn coin for garden upgrades.


  1. AngoraFish says:

    Girls and gardening? Literally my two favourite things! I’m in.

    edit: I simply can’t understand why foreign companies think they can get away with using Google Translate for their dialogue… man, this stuff is bordering on unintelligible, and not in a good way either like Space Rangers 2 (perhaps pigeon-Russian gibberish sounds cooler).

    Actually, I can guess. No doubt someone in the company spent a year as an exchange student in an English speaking country and now consider themselves fluent in the language. Seriously, Google Translate would be better than what this game is currently offering.

    edit 2: my impression comes from an hour of actually playing the game, not the video.

    • satan says:

      Might just be a purist translator who insists on the traditional/literal meaning, ignoring theme/context/other typical language conventions, even if what they end up with is unintelligible, and even after you explain that nobody speaks like this, and that the meaning of words can change depending on the context, they insist on sticking to stringing isolated meanings together, then you get into a huge argument and don’t talk to each other for a year…

      • ChrisGWaine says:

        The problems are different from the kind that result from trying to stick too close to the Japanese. It’s just insufficient experience with English.

        Unfortunately, this could easily be the result of professional translation work.

      • equatorian says:

        No purist translator will do that for Japanese, no matter how purist they are. It’s just not possible, the structure of the languages are too different. If you’re a purist translator for Japanese, the most you do is keep honorifics and references, and if you do insist on keeping ‘isolated meanings strung together without context’, you’re not a purist translator. You’re just a bad translator.

        Source : I actually translate Japanese books/papers as a side job.

    • Baines says:

      I don’t know. Google Translate is surprisingly awful at Japanese-to-English translation. It can work for phrases, and somewhat work for muddling out the basic meaning of a paragraph of text, but it makes mistakes even in basic sentences and also messes up words that can be found in online dictionaries. (Rather than improving, Google Translate’s J-to-E translation actually seemed to get worse a few years ago.)

      But when it breaks (and it does break), it tends to break in ways that human translators don’t. (An alternative reason for bad translations is an underskilled translator working with computer assistance, of course.)

      EDIT: The video text honestly doesn’t seem that bad. There are some bits that a native/natural English speaker might phrase differently, but overall it pretty decent. (“Summon Strong Hime!” sounds weird, but not if you accept “Hime” as both singular and plural. “Brand new game from Japan!” sounds slightly off, but you can find the same phrasing on English products. “Raiding BOSS!!!” seems the worst, because it should probably be “BOSS Raids!!!”. Running the script through a game-savy natural English speaker might avoid issues like the last, but could also cause other areas to be less accurate.)

    • Yglorba says:

      You’re always supposed to have your translation done by someone who is a native speaker of the language you’re translating into.

  2. WhaleboneMcCoy says:

    I love Monster Rancher, this seems nothing like that so I’m in!

  3. Dingler says:

    The artstyle reminds me a lot of Okami. That’s a good thing.

  4. johndoe86 says:

    Just heard of this game from my friend. Actually it is not too bad besides some translation errors. The concept is quite original imo.