I have discovered an app that is quite possibly the best app for German learners. It is fun to play, has a wonderful story, the animation is awesome and most importantly, it helps you learn German! Today, I am going to introduce you to “Der Die Das Rockets” by Speaxel.
What is Der Die Das Rockets?
Several months ago I participated in a panel on Expolingua with some other language YouTubers. Through this event I came to know the creator of this site called “Speaxel“. There are several awesome things this site has to offer, but the one that caught my eye was an app for Android and iOS called “Der Die Das Rockets”. The number one complaint from German learners is that they can’t remember the gender or articles for German nouns. This app aims to fix this problem for over 300 German words.
The Story Behind Der Die Das Rockets
When you first start up the app, you are greeted with the main menu. From here you can choose your vocabulary list, but first, you need to watch/complete the tutorial. The tutorial explains the general premise of the game. The characters are called Joyrmans from the planet Joyrmany. They are under attack by the evil Grammar Naso, who uses rockets made of words to attack the city. In order to prevent the rockets from reaching the city, you have to swipe in the appropriate direction to identify the gender of the noun. Swipe up for feminine, down for masculine and right for neuter. In the tutorial the words have the articles with them, but during regular gameplay, the articles are gone.
Der Die Das Rockets Gameplay
Before you join the official fight for each round you are trained on the correct genders of the nouns for that category and level. The words are released one after another and they show you the English along with the gender of the noun at the top of the page while you learn which ones are which gender. When you master them all by swiping correctly a certain number of times, you enter the real battlefield.
The Rockets of Der Die Das Rockets
The main kind of rockets are called a Clonator and duplicate when you get them wrong, so if you get the article wrong on several in a row, it can become quite difficult. The first several levels, however, are pretty slow, so you have plenty of time to get used to the game and how to play, as well as the articles of the nouns.
In each of the first several levels you are introduced to a variety of different kinds of rockets. In addition to the rockets that duplicate when you get them wrong there are 3 other kinds. Zeppelins are really slow, but you have to get three articles in a row correct. I originally thought it would be the same word three times in a row, so I just swiped a couple of times before I realized the word changes after each swipe.
The Robo Squid will cover part of the screen with ink if you swipe incorrectly. This makes it impossible to see the rockets and therefore swiping them away is impossible.
Balloons don’t do any damage. They just get in the way of the other rockets. You have to swipe correctly three times in a row in order to get rid of them. If they make it to the city, they just bounce off of the force field and go the other direction. This makes them especially annoying.
The most dangerous rockets, in my opinion, are the Shooters. If you swipe the wrong way on them, they shoot an unstoppable rocket into the force field. A few wrong swipes on these and it’s game over.
The Time Machine
In addition to the rockets there is a “Time Machine” in the bottom left corner. Here you will only see the articles. If you swipe in the correct direction enough times, you will charge this device. When you tap on it, it will slow down everything in the game. This is super helpful when there are a bunch of rockets.
At first the game was incredibly easy. The higher the level, the faster the rockets and also the more words you have to remember. Since you are introduced to 6 new words for each level, by the time you get to the last level in the category, you have to know 48 words and they are at full speed. I know all of these words and I still struggled to beat level 8 on the body parts. I had a bit of trouble coordinating the genders and directions of swipes in my brain. Finally, after much struggling, I did beat the 8th level of body parts, but it wasn’t perfect, so I didn’t get a star. Because I can’t handle failure very well, I went back and got all of the stars for the body parts vocabulary.
The Vocabulary of Der Die Das Rockets
One of my favorite things about this game is that the words build from one level to the next. The words you learn first are in the last level of the category. They are spaced out, so you see the most recent ones more often, but the older ones still appear on occasion to make sure you don’t forget one set of words when you learn new ones.
The categories of vocabulary included in the app are: body, animals, work, house, food, city, nature and mixed. The vocabulary in the “mixed” category doesn’t really fit into any of the other categories. Things like “Beispiel”, “Frage”, “Anfang” and “Angst”.
Once you have completed all of the levels of all of the categories you can move on to the final four stages. These four stages include vocabulary from all levels in all categories. It tests your memory of everything you learned in the entire app.
If you are skilled enough to complete all of the levels in all of the categories plus the final stages, you will be greeted with a screen that thank you for saving the Joyrmans. It is one of the most satisfying things to see all of the stars lit up on everything. And yes, I completed the entire game for this review.
What Herr Antrim Thinks of Der Die Das Rockets
So what do I think? I love this game. Let’s be honest, I didn’t have to complete the entire game in order to do an app review. I did that, because I was addicted to it and I had to finish it in order to feed my ego. This game is incredibly intuitive. The swiping is easy to grasp and in no time found myself saying the genders of the nouns as I swiped them.
The Downside of Der Die Das Rockets
I do have a few complaints, however. The lower levels are almost too easy. Maybe it is because I’m no longer a beginner, but I found myself being a bit bored with the first couple of levels, because the rockets were so slow. My second complaint is that there are only 300 words. There is so much opportunity to expand this and the last time I spoke with the creator, he said he had no intentions of expanding it beyond the current list of vocabulary. My third complaint is that the translations are only shown in the training sessions. I think it would be beneficial to the learner if the translations were shown when the rockets explode. This would add an extra level of learning and it wouldn’t be too distracting that you lose your progress in the level.
The Bottom Line
Beyond those three minor complaints, however, this game is perfect. For $0.99, you won’t find a better app to help you memorize a ton of vocabulary and the genders in German. If you want to download this app, you can do so by clicking these links for the iOS and Android versions.
How much is Speaxel paying you to say these things?
To answer the question that I’m sure is on your mind, no, this post is not sponsored by the app maker. There are a couple of links in this post that are labeled as “affiliate links”, but that is due to the way I create custom URLs and not because they are actually affiliate links. I am not getting a commission for sales of the app. Nor am I an affiliate of Speaxel. I have no connection to them other than my love of this app and the German language.
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