Terra Alia: The Language Discovery RPG, is just that, a language discovery RPG. I won’t teach you to speak it fluently, but it will give you a basic primer on one of the ten different languages, ranging from French and Italian to Japanese and Korean. I can’t speak to how well the game does each language, but a steam review suggested that Terra Alia does some languages better than others. I picked German, which was a good choice. I was shocked just how many words German and English share. Often times they are spelled the same, just the pronunciation is different. So I picked German and went on my way. There’s a story in Terra Alia involving 10 lands and magic, and a disappearing professor. It is honestly not important and I mostly ignored it.
Terra Alia at its heart is an rpg. You walk around fighting enemies, collecting clothes and other items via lock-boxes, and gain xp and leveling up. There a skill tree and various spells for combat to learn. Aside from combat, almost everything revolves around the language you want to learn. First, you learn words by highlighting an on-screen object and pressing Y. These go into your vocabulary. You will be tested on the words you learned via vocabulary exams at the ATM, Conversations(which also can be done at the ATM), and opening lock boxes. The ATM is where you’ll gain lingua, which is used to cast tons of spells during combat in Terra Alia. You don’t have to worry about failing, there is practice for conversations and hints you can use. Lock-boxes are fail-proof. ATM exercises are graded, but can be done unlimited times.
Terra Alia’s Downfall
The biggest problem with the languages in Terra Alia is you learn words based on where you are. So you start in the academy and one of the first words you learn in showcase, and bookcase. It isn’t until later you learn more commonly used words. It also doesn’t teach grammar and the ins and outs of any language. I won’t be able to converse in German anytime soon. The RPG side is pretty standard stuff, and really uninteresting. Combat is interesting with the spell cast timing element, but I feel its under-cooked. Once you get healing, it also gets a ton easier. There are also numerous bugs and rough edges. Like a animated cut scene showed I was a man, but I was playing a woman.
Terra Alia’s issue is that it tried to do too much, especially for a budget title. Ten languages to learn and a fairly large RPG with all the trimmings. The result is a game that’s quite boring. The language sections aren’t engaging and the RPG elements don’t stand out. I would have preferred if they released multiple versions, one per language, and really drilled down into each language to really teach you them. In fact, I’m not sure why they didn’t do that, opportunity for more money. Instead, Terra Alia is an interesting curiosity, but not much more. A wasted opportunity. I’ll give this a YMMV.
Overall: Terra Alia: The Language Discovery RPG tried to do too much, and ended up in mediocrity.