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Lingo Legend Review

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Fast Facts

Lingo Legend

Developer: Hyperthought Games
Publisher: Hyperthought Games
Genre(s): Language learning, turn-based, strategy
Platform: iOS
Age Rating: 9+
Release Date: 15/03/2022
Price: starts at free, premium subscriptions available

A code was provided for review purposes

My Cup of Tea

I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to be one of the Beta testers for a new app called Lingo Legend that teaches languages through a video game. Since video games and learning languages are two of my favourite pursuits, I couldn’t wait to give this game a try. In addition, I had a professional interest in this game as I’m a qualified language teacher. So, was it really an effective language learning tool? Was the gameplay engaging? Read my Rapid Review to find out.

  • Aila and Hamish with a fox
  • The camp
  • The camp
  • The camp
  • Ironbeak lab
  • Hamish and Aila talking

How Does It Work?

Lingo Legend is a hybrid turn-based, deck-building video game and language learning app. On the video game side, you begin your adventure with farmers, Hamish and Aila in Yorthwood. When monsters attack, their animals run away, and you begin searching for them in the Wandering Woods. As you meet monsters along your travels, you must use the cards in your deck to fight them. The twist is that in order to play the card you have chosen you must complete a language learning exercise from a flashcard.

In addition to the different types of levels, there are leader-board competitions (with badges to collect) and customisation options. As you advance through the game you discover recipes to create better weapons. Sometimes, items are found or gifted to you by other characters. You track your progress through Yorthwood on a map where you can choose which quest to complete next and replay missions.

There are two versions of Lingo Legend, free and premium. When I started the Beta I was playing the free version. In this version, you have a limited amount of energy to use each day. Energy allows you to complete battles (lessons), events and resource collection levels. In the premium version, you have an unlimited amount of energy and can therefore complete as many battles etc. as you wish per day. If you have the money to spare, I think the lifetime membership to the premium version is good value. It’s not cheap at £79.99, but the developers do keep adding content – more about this later.

  • Language selection screen
  • Language difficulty settings
  • General game settings
  • Premium membership price options
  • Main menu screen

Multiple Languages Offered

You can choose to learn one language at a time or switch between languages if you’d like to learn more than one at once. Currently, the languages offered are French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (European) and Spanish. Once you’ve selected the language, you can choose your focus (topic/grammar/area of language) and difficulty level.

In between lessons you can view vocabulary lists and adjust settings for the focus or difficulty level you chose in the beginning. You can also select other languages to learn at the same time. What I really liked about changing between the language you’re learning (I’m a serial language learner) is that the story in the game carried on. Therefore, there was no need to go back and repeat anything you’d already done with another language. This made switching between languages seamless.

  • Italian vocabulary list
  • Katakana vowels
  • Katakana vowels topic info
  • Learning information for Italian
  • Italian topics
  • Learning information for Japanese

A Gamified App, or a True Game?

We’ve seen similar things done before with apps like Duolingo and Memrise, where language learning has been gamified. However, I think the difference with Lingo Legend is that the game element could easily stand alone as a casual mobile game. That being said, the language learning component feels well integrated. The desire to win the round by playing the best cards is a great extra incentive to help you learn the vocabulary or phrases on the flashcards. I say extra incentive because I don’t think any game really has the power to make you want to learn a language if the will isn’t already there.

For those who have the will but perhaps get bored with the process of language learning, this could well be an option to help you keep going. On a personal level, I’m quite happy to learn a new language independently and research grammar information as and when. If this is you, I think this app will appeal as a learning tool. If you’re looking for something with a more guided approach, I think you’ll find this app more useful for consolidating what you’ve learned on a course or with a tutor.

I do think that Lingo Legend serves best as a complimentary language learning tool rather than as a stand-alone panacea for achieving fluency. As with any course or app, I don’t think you should expect to walk out of the (in this case virtual) classroom as a fluent speaker of the language. In my opinion, real-world practice is a must to achieve that kind of proficiency.

  • Roberto the raccoon returns with loot
  • Selecting a new weapon
  • Crafting bench
  • New booster pack
  • Screen showing completed cards at the end of a lesson
  • Screen showing completed topic

Is It Just a Gimmick?

I’ve been playing Lingo Legend for a while now. It’s a game that I come back to after time away and I can easily pick up where I left off. I took a break from playing to see how well I’d learned the new vocabulary I had been working with in the app. I’m pleased to report that when I came back to play, I could remember most of the Katakana I had learned in Japanese. To make this as fair a test as possible, I specifically chose this focus as I had not previously spent any time learning Katakana. After completing this test, I feel confident to say that I think Lingo Legend can help you learn phrases in another language in the long term.

I did also spend some time working on areas that I had already learned via other means to see how the information was presented. Activities are based around flashcard exercises. They vary in difficulty, from true or false and multiple-choice, to typing out words or phrases. There is some opportunity for listening to the language – in vocabulary lists for example – but I did not come across any activities that tested listening. However, there is value in the type of listening included as it’s important to spend time learning how pronunciation matches up with written language, and how this may differ from your native tongue.

At the time of writing, there are no explicit speaking activities. Although, there’s nothing to stop you from spending time repeating the phrases from the vocabulary lists aloud between battles. Largely though, the focus of the app is on reading and writing skills with some development of listening.

  • German multiple choice exercise with listening option
  • Italian multiple choice exercise
  • Italian typing exercise
  • Italian true or false exercise
  • Italian word chunk exercise
  • Italian answer correction after incorrect response

Visuals, Soundtrack and Updates

Recently, there’s been a quite substantial update to the game giving the visuals an overhaul and adding new content. In the time I’ve been playing, the developers have been constantly updating and improving the experience for players. During the Beta, they were very responsive to feedback from testers and made many changes as a result. I think it’s worth mentioning that the feedback they acted on was regarding both the gameplay and language learning experience. I think this shows dedication from the developers towards creating a game that fulfils the brief of video game and language learning app.

The artwork in Lingo Legend is appealing with a bright, cartoony style that fits with the casual nature of the gameplay. Hyperthought Games have done a lot of work to make sure that the game is easy to pick up and play. As time went on, I found the user interface more and more intuitive. In addition, if a new topic is introduced during gameplay an information card appears giving you key information and highlighting possible pitfalls.

On the menu and map screens, there’s a pleasant, chilled soundtrack in the background. As you progress to different areas in the game the music changes which prevents it from becoming repetitive. In addition, during boss battles, a tune with a higher tempo plays to reflect the tenser scenario.

  • Raptor's Watch
  • Wandering Woods map section
  • Map section
  • Map section
  • Replay Deadwood quest
  • Replay the Hollow quest


The kinds of levels included in quests are battles, events and resource collection levels. Battles require you to play the cards in your deck in turn-based combat with the monsters who have attacked Yorthwood. You can choose to play with Aila or Hamish, and you can swap between them at any time in the menus. Throughout the game, you acquire gold which you can use to purchase cards to build your deck. As you progress, different card sets become available to purchase. With the premium membership, cards cost 50% of the gold needed with the free version.

Events have an element of surprise to them. They lead to various outcomes, such as an extra battle, being able to pay gold to secure safe passage past danger, or even using your gold to get someone to fight for you. Resource collection is all about timing. Your character appears onscreen in an animation where they chop a tree or smash rocks with a pickaxe. You must tap the screen at just the right moment to receive the maximum number of supplies. Neither events nor resource collection levels involve language learning content (unless the event turns into a battle).

In between quests, the story is delivered in text and image format, much like in a visual novel. This provides a break from the more intense battle sections of the game. It is also at these times that you can visit and customise your camp, craft weapons and edit your deck. In the settings, you can also adjust the enemy damage difficulty between casual and standard.

  • Battle
  • An event
  • Invasion
  • New topic message during a battle
  • Selecting a card to play
  • Selecting a card to play

Is It Worth Your Time and Money?

Before playing Lingo Legend, I wouldn’t have said that deckbuilding or turn-based genres had any appeal to me even though I do love a game where strategy and challenges are involved. I think that Hyperthought Games have harnessed these qualities into an eminently enjoyable video game that successfully teaches a range of topics and grammar in the foreign languages it offers.

I tried out Japanese, Portuguese (European), Italian and German. In each of these languages, I did already have a level of proficiency that allowed me to see (in topics I already knew) that the app teaches accurate content. The only caveat here is that occasionally I did find the wrong audio attached to flashcards. However, the developers have been responsive about correcting errors like this. As the game continues to grow, I think that this kind of issue will become a thing of the past.

The success of Lingo Legend has already begun to be recognised as it was recently announced as a finalist in the Games for Change Awards 2022 in the Best Learning Game category. If you’re in the market for a method to learn a foreign language and you enjoy video games, I can’t see that you won’t have fun with this app. Especially as it costs you nothing to try it out. I think that it’s certainly worth spending money on when you consider the quality of the final game and the efficacy of the language learning element. I feel sure that there’s more to come from Lingo Legend and Hyperthought Games.

Rapid Reviews Rating

4 out of 5


You can download Lingo Legend from the Apple app store.

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You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

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