I’m polishing up my heavily-tarnished French lately as I plan to move to Paris, and I’m really enjoying rediscovering how the language works. All the little rules and exceptions are fiddly and frustrating, but I enjoy fitting these sounds and ideas together like tiny watch parts to create sentences that are sorta kinda functional oh gosh what if no one can understand me?
Missing Translation plans to teach its own language that’s far simpler, a visual language based on drawing lines across a nine-node grid. That’s not the main focus of the game – it’s a puzzler at heart – but if we want to, hey, we’ll get to converse with the locals in our strange new home.
Alpixel Games are dumping us into an odd new city, where our only hope of getting out involves solving puzzles. Missing Translation has three different types of puzzle, which seem to mostly involve shifting and rotating different types of blocks in different ways, but it’s the language I’m really keen on.
They’ve come up with something more than the usual character-replacement ‘languages’ or codes we tend to see in video games. We draw patterns into a grid a bit like a phone lockscreen, combining different lines and angles and inflections to create basic sentences. It sounds delightful. Read about how it all works here.