Games

Minami Lane – An adorable management game for Chinese learners

DeveloperDoot & Blibloop
PlatformsSteam
Nintendo Switch (coming soon…)
GenresManagement
DifficultyIntermediate
LanguageFrench, English, Spanish
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Japanese and more…

I discovered Minami Lane through social media shortly after the game’s initial release. Minami Lane is an adorable, cosy, and simple management game set in a Japanese-inspired street.

At the end of May, the developers released version 1.1, which contained many quality-of-life changes and a language update. The language update included Simplified Chinese, French, German and Japanese.

The lovely developers of Minami Lane kindly gifted me this game to play in Chinese, and I’m going to share my thoughts on it and why it’s a great game to play in Chinese.

About the game

In Minami Lane, you will complete a series of missions that involve managing a street of houses, shops, and parks. In addition to building on the street, you will also manage the items sold in each shop, customise the appearance of the buildings, interact with customers, find hidden objects, clean up any waste and the most important part — pet cats!

There is also a sandbox mode which can be accessed from the menu screen. In sandbox mode, you can build to your heart’s content without worrying about completing any missions.

Gameplay

The gameplay loops and mechanics in Minami Lane are very simple; in fact, it’s one of the simplest street management games I’ve ever played, which is what makes this game cosy and adorable.

Management games are often stressful and challenging, but in Minami Lane, each mission has both easy and hard tasks, and none of the tasks require complex strategic thinking. Completing the easy task is all that’s required to pass the missions. Once a mission is complete, it becomes available for replays from the main menu.

In addition to simple missions, in Minami Lane, you can only change your street and shops at the beginning of a new day. There is no timer during this phrase, which gives you as much time as you need to make these changes.

Each day there are items and waste to collect, bikers to interact with and cats to pets — these interactions all reward coins, and they really help with income at the beginning of each mission.

As a Chinese learning material

Minami Lane is a brilliant choice for Chinese learners as the first game to play in Chinese.

The shops available include a bookstore, a bubble tea shop, a ramen stand and a florist. All of these will provide you with vocabulary that will be useful in your everyday life.

Minami Lane does not have a narration or story to follow, so there is little dialogue. This game will allow you to learn common vocabulary rather than phrases.

Gameplay instructions are provided as new mechanics are introduced, and these are great for picking up vocabulary that is useful for gaming. You will need many of these terms in other games.

The main challenge for a Chinese learner would be the comments from the customers. You need to click on the customers to bring up a speech bubble with their thoughts on their experience in your shops. The speech bubble will disappear once they leave the street or return home. In the early missions, there’s no way to save the comments so you need to quickly read them before they disappear. These comments are extremely important, as they tell you how to adjust the items and recipes to increase the satisfaction levels for different types of customers.

You can get around this challenge by first playing in sandbox mode, which will enable you to familiarise yourself with the interface and learn all the items and ingredients.

Final Thoughts

Management is a genre of game that I enjoy playing once in a while because I like making money and upgrading buildings. However, most games in this genre are often challenging, overwhelmed with the number of choices, stats to keep track of, increasing challenges, and unforeseen events that cause chaos to the player.

I’m so glad that Minami Lane can scratch the management game itch without the stress. I had a great time playing this cosy management game; it was relaxing and a bit challenging at the same time.

If you’re looking for a cute short game to play or a game to get yourself started with gaming in Chinese, then Minami Lane is definitely the game you need to try.

1 Comment

  1. Moli says:

    I played this game after seeing your recommendation, and it was really fun, cosy, and pretty easy to understand. (I recently got HSK4) I think this game is okay for anyone who got HSK3, because the vocabulary is really easy, aside from ingredients name, but even then since you can pin customers comment, you just have to recognize the characters.

    I recommend it too ! But beware, the game is really short 🙂

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