Hey, it’s our first game! Character Chowdown came from the idea of designing a game that “levels players up” as they got better at it. Last December, I created a prototype of Character Chowdown on my own. It was just a few levels, but I think I captured the heart of the game. We worked with the rad coders at Twisted Oak Studios and our friends at NIS America to make the scrumptious version coming out for free on iOS devices.
Character Chowdown teaches players how to read katakana, a Japanese character set most often used for foreign words. Each character represents a different vowel or consonant/vowel combination. For example, ケ is “ke,” ー means extend the last sound, and キ is “ki.” When you put it together you get something like kē-ki. Try saying that out loud! Now say it faster! Does it sound kind of like “cake?” That’s what ケーキ means.
A hiragana language pack to teach players the character set for native Japanese words will also be available for just $0.99 and we have four kanji packs with English equivalents for 100 basic kanji characters in each pack also for $0.99 cents per pack.
Character Chowdown puts you in control of Nibblee, a friendly, but finicky writer from the New Fork Times. While you’re feasting on Japanese characters, other Nommons will walk on the screen and try to eat them before Nibblee can. Nommons like Wubblee and Captain Redrigo the Third aren’t just troublemakers, they are also teachers. Character Chowdown has a progressive learning system that keeps track of a player’s progress and Nommons replace characters they eat with a Japanese character the player may have forgotten.
We also added a silly feature called “Postcards,” which lets you decorate the Nommons with stamps and write a custom message. Postcards with pictures of flying sharks or ducks playing drums can be uploaded to a Facebook account. More stamps are included as a bonus with each Character Chowdown kanji pack.
Yummy Yummy Tummy developed Character Chowdown in collaboration with NIS America, the folks that localize the Disgaea series. A few guests from the Netherworld will show up in Character Chowdown as playable characters. Do you have a favorite Disgaea or NIS America character you want to see in the game? Tell us via e-mail! There’s a handy dandy form on the right you can fill out with suggestions, comments, and/or anecdotes.